Tuesday, September 27, 2005

NOT the Ateneo way

For someone who cringes whenever she sees people with their kids in tow entering a movie theater, I actually find it cute when overzealous Ateneans bring their kids to UAAP games (especially the ones who dress up their clueless toddlers in miniature Ateneo jerseys). There's something endearing about their wanting to involve their children in something they are so ardent about. At the last Ateneo-La Salle game, I was sitting beside a mom with her daughter (who looked to be about 6), both of whom had obviously been dragged to Araneta by the Atenean husband/father seated in front of us (they had arrived late and couldn't find seats together). In between Halikinus, I had to smile as I heard the mom cueing her little girl to clap and cheer and wave her "One Big Fight" sign, and patiently explaining afterward what Daddy's team had just done (never mind that Daddy's team blew a halftime lead and eventually got severely whupped by the evil Archers :p).

Maybe it was because it was the first time I'd sat next to a kid during a game, but I realized that day that UAAP games aren't the ideal venue to bring children to. 2 seats away from me (3 from the 6-year-old girl), a man was heartily bellowing f--- yous and P.I.s throughout the entire game. Now I'm pretty tolerant of intermittent swearing and indulge in it myself occasionally, but that time I was sorely tempted to lean over and tell the guy to put a sock in it. Not just because there were kids around, but also because even I did not want to listen to profanities being shouted in my ear every ten seconds. I couldn't help thinking, is this the product of quality Jesuit education? Crass, foul-mouthed men who eloquently express themselves by giving the La Salle gallery the finger?

I suppose one can always use the defense of getting caught up in the heat of the moment and being swept away in a tide of surging Atenean fervor. But come on, it's only basketball, not life or death! Surely much more important matters deserve such intense passion. How's about a little perspective? Take the gungho alumnus a few rows in front of us who was yelling at the Ateneo bench below, directing his ire towards everyone's favorite player, Badjie del Rosario. A few seats away from the heckler, a woman was screaming at him to shut up and quit picking on Badjie. She was so livid she was near tears (which led me to suspect she must have been Badjie's mom), and her companions had to restrain her from lunging at the verbally abusive guy, who was ignoring her and continuing to bawl at Badjie. Now, I'm no del Rosario fan (I plead guilty to groaning every time the coach puts him in the game), but in that instance I sympathized with the woman and felt sorry for Badjie. After all, he's just a kid-- emphasis on kid, as Sir Tirol said-- who plays ball for the honor of his school, not some pro athlete who does it for a bloated salary. He does the best he can (though his best is still unimpressive), so we should cut him some slack. If it were my little brother on that court playing his heart out yet committing turnover after turnover, I wouldn't want anyone to be hurling curses or insults at him. And if I were a parent, I wouldn't want my kid to be within earshot of anyone hurling curses or insults at other people's kids.

Sadly, when some Ateneans go down from the hill, they sink low.


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