You must be asking yourself: Why?

Why does IDC keep on competing when they never really bag all the awards or get the highest possible achievement? Why does IDC keep on training, from class dismissal until the sun is finally out of sight, just to join a yearly competition and get their hearts broken in the end?

You must think of them as crazy and impractical. They aren’t entirely subsidized by the school. There aren’t tarpaulins created for them, even after several, excruciating rounds of debate. They are close to fainting, close to tears, close to hysteria every time they are about to fight. They hold their pens tighter with each sweat that accumulates in their hands, grasp their ideas even closer with each anxious heartbeat, swallow the huge lumps on their throats with each impending battle. Yet, after all these torturous moments of anxiety, they go home with nothing but an unclaimed award and sweaty hands. Yes, they may go home to a couple of congratulatory remarks and a brief recognition in the morning announcements, but are those fleeting credits worth their laborious training and sacrifices?

Ask whoever in IDC, and she will say only one word: Yes.

Yes, it’s always worth it for them. Why? Because when you love doing something, winning isn’t what matters the most. It’s only an extra, an additional candy to the overflowing chocolates they already gained in the process. When they train, they not only develop their skills, but themselves as well. They learn to drop every ounce of doubt and, for once, trust themselves. They gain courage and confidence that outsiders label as arrogance and overbearing attitude. They become stronger with each passing unsubstantiated argument, with each passing loss and failure.

Most importantly, they know how to fight together. They do not stop being “one”, being the solid champions they have always known themselves to be.

Although they usually whine about how no one recognizes their efforts, recognitions don’t matter to them. When they stand on the stage, face the adjudicator, and say their first word, nothing but their pulsing bravery matters. They do not notice the impending loss or the impending award or the impending flattering words. They do not notice the disappointment emanating from those who expect too much or the sympathizing faces of those who think they failed.

Others may mock them because, in our society, the only excellent ones are the ones who win. But, even before they have set foot on the competition, they know they have already won. Just by going into the competition together, with fear in their hearts but with faith and willingness to dive into the unknown, it’s already much of an award.

When they go home today, they don’t have freebies or a trophy bigger than their heads. What they have are their persistence, nurtured bravery, peaceful smiles that seem to say “We won!”, and the kind of laughter that only a family shares. And believe me when I say those things, without any trace of bitterness or grudge, are much greater than any championship title.

I love you, girls. Stay golden.

(MMK Moment hahahahaha pagbigyan niyo na ako, please)