Game On Sports aims to redefine how children approach and learn sports, whether they want to take up just one or dabble in as many as possible
Photos courtesy of Game On Sports PH
Despite becoming an athlete relatively later on in life, as a kid I had actually tried to find a sport that was for me. By my count, I learned taekwondo, basketball (at the famous Milo Best camps, no less), tennis, and soccer, just to see what would stick because my brothers found their own sporting niches. Throughout this short journey, my parents were highly supportive of my being active.
I realize now that not everyone has that same freedom. There were likely kids that got pigeonholed into one sport, maybe of their own will or through that of their parents. There didn’t seem to be something that supported the mere attempt to try as many different sports as a kid wants
That is, until Game On Sports came along.
“Imagine how painful it is to sign up for one sport, book each session, and we’re not even sure if the kid likes the class. That’s where our multisport program comes in,” says co-founder Krizanne Ty
Game On Sports is a venture founded by four female athletes solely dedicated to supporting the development of sports in kids. Though they don’t have a single center where kids from 3 to 12 can learn all the available sports, they’ve teamed up with various locations and providers to offer a wide variety of sports classes, such as popular ones like basketball, volleyball, and soccer to more uncommon pursuits like gymnastics, muay thai, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
The beauty of it all is that parents can sign their kids up for either a single-sport approach, where they focus on learning just one sport they’re interested in, or Game On Sports’ touted multisport approach, where they can sign up to try classes of the different sports being offered.
“Yeah, we never had something like this before,” says Lia Calingacion, one of Game On Sports’ four co-founders, when I ask her if they would’ve loved to have multisport classes in their younger years. “I don’t think there was a multisport approach then.
“I got into sports because I was tall for my age, and the coach said to go to the athletics office and join,” adds Calingacion. “But it opened my eyes to sports—these are things we need, the enablers, people who will actively push you to sports or to do something that you won’t know you’ll like.”
“I tried different sports, I tried different programs and partners,” says Krizanne Ty. “Imagine how painful it is to sign up for one sport, book each session, and we’re not even sure if the kid likes the class. That’s where our multisport program comes in—at the beginning, at a very young age, from three to six. It’s an exploratory stage, and we want kids to be able to try different things. It would have been way better if I had that [as a kid].”
Part of Game On Sports’ core values is fostering an atmosphere of positivity and growth while still keeping the spirit of competition
Kids who come to Game On Sports have a lot to choose from, as mentioned earlier, but during the pandemic when they were forced to pivot to a Zoom-only method of conducting classes, they had so much more that they had to pare it down. Even then, however, they’re still looking to add more, especially uncommon sports that can be exciting to children.
“At the height of the pandemic, we had more than 20 sports, but now that we’re back on site, we really want to explore the grassroots and developmental sports,” says Danica Caynap. “I think the key to this is the partnership with different groups. We’d be very happy to explore more [sports].”
And though it wasn’t fully their intention, four women athletes heading the outfit has resulted in a positive culture surrounding sports. Part of their core values is fostering an atmosphere of positivity and growth while still keeping the spirit of competition. This is essential, especially as coaches and athletes reevaluate what is good and acceptable behavior in practice and on the playing field.
“It’s not intentional—it just happened,” says Ella Ravalo. “I guess the advantage of it really is that we understand both the parents and the kids. When we see the kids, the moms are usually very hands-on. Being majority women, the mother instinct is still there. In terms of the approach, it’s not necessarily softer because we’re really skills-based, but as a bonus, we can understand the thinking behind the parent and the kid as well.”
“I guess the advantage of [having four women athletes heading Game On Sports] really is that we understand both the parents and the kids,” says Ella Ravalo
So if you’re a parent, you’re probably already thinking about what your kids could be doing in the looming summer break. The method of having them take up a sport is a time-honored tradition for many, but Game On proves there’s a better, possibly more fulfilling way to do it. It’s always better when the kids can choose—you’ll likely be very glad you let them.