Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Spare me the hoopla

Reporters have been having a field day with the 2 hottest sports stories of the moment: Manny Pacquiao knocking out Erik Morales in the 10th round of their rematch, and Kobe Bryant scoring a whopping 81 points in the Lakers-Raptors game.

Forgive me if I don't stand up and cheer.

At the risk of sounding unpatriotic, I was actually hoping Pacquiao would lose. Yeah, yeah, it warms my heart to see the entire nation rooting for one of their home-grown own, and I know it's supposed to be inspiring that a Flipino is excelling in the international arena. But it's hard for me to feel warm and inspired when the guy's head just keeps ballooning (and I'm not referring to the swollen head injuries he proudly displayed for the news cameras). You can practically see his ego inflating exponentially with each victory claimed and each new accolade heaped upon him by the adoring masses (and opportunistic politicians). A day or 2 before his fight with Morales, I saw him being interviewed on TV Patrol, and he had iPod earphones in his ears. Mr. Bigshot Boxer couldn't even be bothered to take out his precious earphones for a few minutes (busy listening to Audioslave... or Sarah Geronimo?). Oo na, may iPod ka na, we're so-ooo impressed.

Plus, I just learned that Senator Bong Revilla (the same moron who claimed that the special effects of his movie Exodus were better than those of The Lord of the Rings trilogy…but I digress) has proposed making this Friday a holiday to honor Pacquiao on the day of his homecoming. If we really do celebrate “Pacquiao Day” this Friday and every year thereafter, I’m going to take it as the signal that our rapid decline as a society and as a culture is now on a steep downhill slide. I mean, I’m sorry, did I miss something? Did this guy cure cancer, feed Africa or save the rainforests?? Why should we call off work and classes just because some shmuck beat the shit out of some other poor shmuck?

As I was telling Maddy the other day, it's sad that we Filipinos can't seem to find any heroes to worship aside from athletes. There's nothing bad about idolizing athletes-- indeed I myself admire many a fine sportsman. But there's so much more to life than gold medals and glory and product endorsements, but we seem to think they can solve our country's perennial problems of poverty, crime and corruption. Who cares if we go hungry, as long as Pacquiao won this one bout? He's the man! He's the hope of the nation! He's our messiah! Our
pride and honor as a people rest in the gloves of Pacquiao. It's no wonder he's so full of himself: we have put him on a pedestal and elevated him from triumphant gladiator to pampered celebrity. And in that twisted way, we cheapen his athletic achievement by glamorizing, sensationalizing, and overhyping it.

Speaking of spoiled sports celebs, let's now move on to Kobe, whom I consider one of the most spoiled, self-absorbed jocks today. Sure, he scored 81 points in a single game, a feat second only to ball legend Wilt Chamberlain's astonishing 100-point performance in 1962. But it's hard not to raise a cynical eyebrow and dismiss it as a natural result of Kobe's infamous ball-hogging (he made only 2 assists that night, no big surprise). Besides, it's impossible to be happy for someone who is already overdoing it by himself (one look at his smug mug in the sports section today made me lose my appetite for breakfast). All this accomplishment will serve is to fuel his arrogance and encourage his grandstanding. I will give him credit for the skill it took to reach 81, but given the choice, I'd rather witness a single basket by Michael Jordan than any number of Kobe's. Even on his worst day, MJ could sink a basket with grace and class... and class is something Kobe just does not have. Class is wearing your crown lightly. Class is staying humble despite praise. Class is recognizing your limitations even when you're in the limelight. Class is passing the ball to your teammates more than twice.

And class is removing your iPod earphones during an interview.

1 Comments:

At Saturday, January 28, 2006, Anonymous jac said...

Oh man...ego ego ego!!! THat is pretty depressing.

Reminds me of a Filipino saying..salawikain (?) Dang it..forgot the exact Filipino term... that goes something like... "Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay..." ahh..i forgot how it goes too! Someone, HELP!

Since they've been so proud and self-obsessed, they'd eventually fall back down to the ground and suffer in the end. Just wait and see.

 

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