A Seed Has Been Planted

Basketball has been dominating the Philippine landscape for decades. Thanks to the visiting Americans during WW2 and the special attention it got since the PBA, our very own professional league was conceptualized. Every teenager wanted to be a Mon Fernandez, or Guidaben, or Patrimonio, or Jolas, and of course, a Jaworski. The streets would be lined up of makeshift basketball rings/courts and playing 3-on-3 with the neighbors was delightful.

As a skinny teenager I would often be left out of the intramural basketball team. Height and heft was needed coupled with a must in basketball skills. Sadly, I was never one of those hand-picked by our Captain Ball to join the team. I played basketball but basketball didn't seem to like me.

That was when football came to my rescue. It turned out that I was very good at it, eventually making it to the school varsity team in 3rd year high school. I resumed playing in 1st and 2nd year college and even after I graduated. It was enjoyable to play the world's most popular game.

But then, it was all just that. After high school or college there were no offers from big league football clubs nor continuing programs that were available for landing a pro or even a semi-pro contract. The fact was that football is not our sport. Basketball is. There were rumors of corruption along the PFF ranks then, with every PFF President taking turns in pocketing the country's budget for football despite how measly it was. No one can really confirm those rumors but it may have been true since there was nothing stellar that came out of the PFF except for the 1995 SEA games when the whole Rizal Stadium celebrated when we drew against Malaysia.

Yes, we celebrated, i.e. danced on the football field when the final whistle sounded ---over a draw.

That time, to many of us school footballers, the competitive play ends in school. The Philippine team was mostly reserved for the great players from Visayas or Mindanao which I consider as the bedlam of Philippine football. Office leagues are mainly for basketball and volleyball only. Football was never in the spotlight, except of course, when the World Cup was in season and many of those half-baked Filipino fans just want to get a share of the action. Once the World Cup ends, the excitement of these fans dies with it.

Fast forward to 2010, a resurgence in the form of the AZKALS, the Philippine football team sent to the AFF Suzuki Cup, has awakened the minds of the basketball/boxing-crazed Filipino. The draws against powerhouse Singapore and Myanmar, and that unforgettable 2-0 beating unleashed to Vietnam in the group stages, had made me believe that somehow, Azkals football has bitten the minds of its people that football IS really the way to go.

They put up a valiant effort in the away and away semifinal legs (not home and away since there was no home football field available that met the AFF's standard; FIFA might've said the same way) versus football-crazy Indonesia. The score on both legs was 0-1 which is highly-respectable. Obviously, the Azkals defense was relentless inspite of the stadium filled to to the brim of Indonesians jeering and booing at every Azkals play.

They end the AFF Suzuki Cup campaign not in defeat for I believe that they've accomplished something far better and that is to wake up the basketball-drugged Filipino and say that "HEY! We CAN be football greats if we want it to be!"

I sincerely hope that the PSC or the PFF takes notice of this great achievement. Let it not remain a brief spark. I ask that the PSC/PFF keeps the light of football alive in our country since the Azkals have made the other SEA countries respect Filipino football. Scores of 0-13, 0-10 against us could be a thing of the past if the right support is given over these lads and future players that can represent us in upcoming inter-country meets.

And, who knows, we might finally get our place in the World Cup Finals. Maybe not in my lifetime, but I hope and dream that we'll get to that place someday.

Impossible you say? Try saying that to the Azkals.


Of Christmas Party Performances

I was cringing earlier as I was downloading, of all things, BackStreet Boys' mp3s. Unless I was getting paid for every BSB mp3 I download, this was the last thing I wanted to download from the ever-free internet. Quit Playing Games, Show me the meaning of being Lonely, and I Want It That Way. These songs are very familiar for they've passed me years ago via the radio when I was riding a bus or jeep, or caught a glimpse while my sisters were watching Channel V or MTV.

For good measure, I also downloaded Super Junior's "Sorry Sorry" to cap up my planned dance remix. Yes, it's a Korean dance hit. Here it is in case you don't know:

The reason for downloading these songs is that I've been assigned, get this, to make sure that the seniors of our department participate in the forthcoming Department Christmas party on Monday. I believe I'm the youngest of the lot, with the others ranging from 40-45 years old.

I doubt if they could recall BSB's songs, but I think they'd definitely had an opportunity to watch the Kanto Boys on ASAP XV in one Sunday or another.

Yup, that's what we'll be doing (assuming there'll be no rheumatism or gout attacks during practice). The performance is not really to kick-ass and dance like the Jabawockeez or those contestants from those group dance shows in the US or UK. We'll just try to practice to dance jokingly serious to put a smile or laugh to our peers' faces. Imagine that time when you were laughing with tears in your eyes as you watched your senior managers, AVPs or up performing during your Christmas party?

I guess I'm part of that group now.

I just pray to the heavens above that our would-be performance does not end up in YouTube or worse, the evening news.

And yes, you too will grow old.


And so, I write again

As suggested by the missus, I browsed a few of my past blogposts, particularly written in 2005. Posts like this and this. They were mostly written when I was still working in Malaysia with the missus in tow and no kids yet. Life was easy back then. The biggest "crisis" we'd ever had was where/what to eat for lunch or dinner (except, of course, Sunday lunch wherein it's predominantly occupied by Klang Bah Ku Teh followed by that delicious cold dessert in which its name escapes me now). The missus' only untoward incident was that of the scary animal that entered our house which turned out to be the tilapia that was looking AT HER while she was trying to remove its innards prior to frying it for dinner.

I find it amazing, for my standard, how well-written the blogposts from my years in Malaysia came to be. It was witty, funny, and oh, did I say witty? Probably the stresses of this workplace that I've moved into since July 2006 had eroded my writing skills to mere objective phrases that are mostly required in office emails. I may have simply lost the art of writing. My English professor from 2nd year college, who'd ask DAILY for essays, could be disgusted if she sees how dormant this blog and how low my level of creative(?) writing has been.

My writing has been preoccupied with my other blog which is on running. I love running. As that New Balance ad said, running saves me from all the stresses in life. And it helps, really, to put things into perspective. It helps me relax (yes, even on those hard running workouts) and be prepared for the stresses at work (a side note: people here in the office really drive me nuts!). But there is not much to tell. It's mostly about I ran here, I ran there, I ran this long, and oh, I'll be running here or there. Too bad my weight (165lbs) had not descended from some time now (although I lost 11lbs since Malaysia based on my old blogposts).

But again, I love to run. But that's probably all there's to it.

In terms of blogging my thoughts away from the hustle and bustle of this so-called life, it has never really happened for quite some time now (this is only my 30th blog for 2010 ---an all-time low in this blog's 5year existence). It is difficult to put myself into "the zone" and just let my fingers type according to my babbling mind (yes, my ears are plugged into Jim Chappell's piano music to keep me in that zone as I write this).

I will try to write here more often from now on. Precious memories that I've collected, especially of this loving group that is my family, needs to be written down. Yes my dear readers, you really need to meet my two boys. I'll write about them for sure but I don't know how their future girlfriends will take it (sorry boys! hehehe).

So, creative juices, flow....