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Baseball and Softball Coach Philipe: Legacy from Sport


“I want to instil a belief in my students: believe in yourself,” says the spirited, silver-haired Philipe, who is a baseball coach, professional cultural and sports instructor, and an esports player. Even though he is already 48 years old, he remains elegant and active.We are speaking to him at his usual practice spot. “I’m like a tutor, helping students reach new heights. Whether it’s getting the right stance, pitching, batting, defense, or even basic physical training, I cover it all. The students are usually between 5 and 10 years old.”

A baseball enthusiast, Philipe served as a prior director of Hong Kong Baseball Association and has been involved in Hong Kong’s sports industry for over 20 years. When it comes to baseball, his unwavering passion is unmistakable. “The five baseball powerhouses of the world include Japan, South Korea, Mexico, the United States, and Taiwan. Hong Kong is ranked 38th. Baseball and softball will be part of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. I hope that in the next four years, we can expand this sport and cultivate athletes, giving Hong Kong the chance to reach the top 20.” Despite reaching middle age, Philipe remains proactive and hopeful, aspiring to pass on his baseball knowledge. Even as he grows older, he envisions having successors to carry on the legacy.

Philipe wishes that more children would pick up baseball and softball as a way to improve physical health and fitness, develop their own talents, and open themselves up for more learning opportunities. Many universities overseas have baseball and softball teams and offer scholarships. Philipe himself benefited from these opportunities. He grew up in Alaska, USA, and was part of many sports teams while he was at school. He represented his school in inter-school competitions and had secured a leading position. At the time, Philipe was one of the few Asians in his class, but he was able to compete alongside his American classmates, and scored himself a university scholarship. “I’m grateful for the guidance of my coaches. I’ve learned that you won’t know until you try. You’ll never know if you’d succeed if you don’t take the initiative. I want to pass this spirit onto the next generation.” Philipe says that while his parents had limited education, they gave him the opportunity to grow up abroad and the freedom to explore and discover his own talents. Now in middle age, Philipe looks to sports as a vehicle to carry forward the trust of his parents to the next generation.

“Baseball is the only sport that doesn’t discriminate based on age, gender, height or weight. It’s a highly comprehensive sport that can be learned from scratch.” Philip describes baseball as a “layman’s sport”. With the will to practice, anyone can get the right stance to pitch. To reach the highest level, however, one needs to become a five-tool player. The five key indicators used to evaluate a fielder are hit for average, hit for power, baserunning skills, throwing and fielding. If a player possesses these five skills, Phillipe says that scholarships are waiting to be awarded to them. 

The mention of scholarships may excite many Hongkongers. “The Hong Kong society places a lot of emphasis on calculations and money, but the heart is not about money; it’s the essence and soul of every individual. If we use our heart to bring out this essence—our best and brightest—we can surely inspire others and our society.” But how does one live life with heartfelt authenticity? How do we treat children? “Kids are pure. They can sense whether an adult is genuine or they have ulterior motives. They can tell if you are righteous or have malicious intent.” Philipe believes that if we can all create positive energy in our lives, society will be better. With the willingness to sacrifice and try, more people can benefit.  

For Philipe, age has never been a limitation. His mindset remains youthful and full of vitality.“Whether our hearts feel old also determines how our bodies feel. The key factors are our emotions, spirit and beliefs, which balance our body and mind. My students give me vitality, and their positive energy keeps me young. I need to connect with them, and they help recharge me. The older generation doesn’t communicate much with the younger ones. Young people are very busy; the elderly have plenty of free time, and middle-aged folks are the connection point. As a sports instructor, I see myself as the bridge between the two generations. It is my responsibility to connect them, leading the old and the young in physical activities. I believe this makes life more beautiful and colorful.”

One of the activities that Philipe does to bridge the generation gap is gaming. “I’m all for children playing video games. Parents may worry that kids would neglect their studies if they game too much and there’ll be no future ahead of them. But gaming can be a career path, because esports is a type of sport.” This 4.7-billion-dollar industry will reach 8 billion by 2030. Globally, there are more people watching esports competitions than the World Cup or baseball matches. 170 universities in the US have esports teams, presenting opportunities for admission and scholarships. Philipe believes that parents of the next generation should come to understand that kids are going to game, no matter what. It’s about how to do it well, effectively allocate time, play with dedication, and understand the reasons and goals behind gaming, just like any other sport. Just like baseball, one can fail or succeed, but it’s all part of the process. “If children get upset and immediately shut off their devices when they play poorly or if their computer freezes, I would teach them not to quit or abandon their teammates. I would educate my students on the importance of finishing what they’ve started, and persevere until the end.”

Some of the strongest esports players in APAC are from South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan, where there are professional esports teams. While the Hong Kong government is actively developing the esports industry, many parents are concerned that children would focus solely on gaming and abandon their studies. “I think students can balance both. I wish to teach students in Hong Kong that through gaming, they can enhance their skills and abilities, rather than simply playing games for the sake of it.”

Philipe has two daughters in high school and a three-year-old son. He believes that leading by example is the first step in parenting. As an educator, he wants to change the next generation for the better and instill confidence in them. “If we don’t put our hearts into it, children will question whether we are educating them for the sake of our reputation or money. Teachers must have the patience so that we can lead the next generation. Winning or losing is not important. What is crucial is for students to push past their limits. As teachers, I hope we can model this belief and pass on this self-confidence to the next generation.”

Philipe wants to pass on the legacy of the Hong Kong spirit. “I’m willing to dedicate myself to this place and its students. This spirit is both free and priceless. If we’re always scheming and calculating, we’ll never be able to achieve our best. We need to relax so we can take the first step. We must have the courage to make an attempt. You don’t know until you try. So let’s all give it a go!”



Interview by:Ivy Cheung and Alice Lee

Photography:Charles Wan

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