The St. Paul Filipino Community Sports League recently wrapped up a successful second season. The league encourages people of all cultures to get involved in the fun.

ST. PAUL- Cross-cultural communication is an important aspect for Filipinos living in St. Paul to interact with the local community. The St. Paul Filipino Community Sports League has brought a prominent community sports league format to Canada in the Philippines, and the organizers encourage and invite local communities to engage in their passion for sports.

Alex Mari and Freddy Amigo, who are among the organizers of the St. Paul Filipino Community Sports League, said cross-cultural exchange and interaction is important for Filipinos living in Canada.

“It’s very important because for us, as immigrants to Canada, we have to see ourselves as part of the community,” Mari said. “And at the same time, we also have a responsibility to interact with (non-Filipinos).”

“We have to be able to communicate and show our culture and also adapt the cultures that we have here in Canada,” added Mari, explaining how Filipinos in the community want to show their love for sports and how they do it. . “We also have to adapt the way other cultures play their sports, don’t we?”

In the Philippines, most barangays have their own community sports leagues. Barangays are the smallest administrative division in the country, and there are several barangays in a city or town.

Similarly, in addition to other local government units, there are multiple cities within a province. Similarly, the Philippines is divided into several regions made up of provinces.

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the Philippines and most cities have their own community basketball leagues. Each barangay within a city has its own teams that compete in local tournaments like the Mayor’s Cup, according to Mari.

Despite the barangay with leagues being separate from professional leagues, Mari said every game is almost always filled with fans and spectators.

Formation of St. Paul’s Philippine Community Sports League

In August 2021, the St. Paul Filipino Community Sports League was founded by Jheng Mari, who is the wife of Alex Mari. The league follows a format similar to barangay leagues.

However, according to Alex, rather than barangays, Filipinos living in St. Paul formed their own teams based on where they worked.

The first season of the league then had teams made up of Filipinos who worked in workplaces such as Burger Baron, A&W or KFC. There was also a team that was formed based on where they lived in the Philippines, such as the Northern Group team.

According to Alex, the league’s first season, which lasted a few months, was designed simply for fun and for Filipinos living in St. Paul to socialize with each other. He stated that although the first season encountered many challenges, it ended successfully.

Some of these challenges included budgets and finding venues to practice sports, especially due to the unpredictable weather conditions in Canada. They are also currently working on registering the organization as a non-profit organization.

Due to the success of the first season and the interest it generated, the second season of the community sports league has expanded into 2022. The league has expanded to teams comprised of non-Filipino players, including included a basketball team with two players from Saddle Lake. Cree Nation, for example.

The second season ran from May 22 to July 3 and included basketball, volleyball, and badminton.

According to organizers, the first and second seasons received support from the local community, which included Racette Junior High School and a number of local businesses.

Amigo said a local trucking company, CRJ Trucking, sponsored its own basketball team for the second season. This team also included Filipino and non-Filipino players. “In fact, their supervisors and the boss also joined,” Amigo added with a gleeful laugh.

The second season recently concluded successfully. The league had around 300 participants made up of spectators and players of all ages. The St. Paul Filipino Community Sports League said it looks forward to a third season and encourages more members of the local community to join.

Organizers are also eager to find the best players to represent St. Paul in a provincial Philippine basketball tournament hosted by Jekasa International, a sportswear manufacturer. The league said Filipino community sports leagues from across the province would attend.