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Friday, August 26, 2011

Philippine Sports Politics 101.

Philippine Sports Politics 101.
Author: slick master
07: 22 pm

Before anything else, I am supposed to finish this piece by last week. Well, thanks to that video of Word Of The Lourd which had an episode that tackled the “politics” in the sports aspect of the Philippines. Now to finish everything, let’s nail the coffin then.

A lot of sporting events were the main highlights of the news recently. You have Smart Gilas Pilipinas a surprising team in the continent once again (well, in terms of performance.) Kobe Bryant dropped by at Manila twice, with once bringing up the superstars of the National Basketball Association (which by the way was still suffering on a lockout as of press time); and a whole lot more in basketball. But, I’m not putting the spotlight on the nation’s favorite sport this time. How about comparison and discrimination in between? What the hell do I mean? Check this.

The Philippine Azkals had caught almost everyone’s attention when they scored an upset in last time’s Suzuki Cup. Since then, the spotlight was on them. Maybe because most of the players were heartthrob-looking, good talent, etc. I can’t really point a reason. And even when they failed to score a slot on FIFA World Cup 2012, they still remained part of the sports headlines. Their games were then covered by an exclusive national TV network, a big jump from the international ones considerably that most people don’t have a cable and free TV was very accessible to the audience.

While on the other hand, The Philippine Dragon Boat Team had been dominating despite not being recognized by a lot of people. Maybe because the sport itself doesn’t even sounds familiar to the public. But, hey! They didn’t only score medals by winning games, but because of the world records they had set. In fact in the recent World Championship games in Tampa Bay, Florida USA, they scored medals – 5 of them were the highest prize called “gold.” What more can you lose aside from it? Sad to say but the answer is lack of support from the government.

Weeks ago, a post from the social networking site Facebook had been spreading out like a wildfire on pages and user profiles. It goes like this:

PH Azkals: 0 golds, 0 trophies, 5 TV Ads, 20% Pinoy
PH Dragon boat team (2011): 5 golds, 0 commercials, 90% Pinoy
PH Azkals: with sponsors
PH Dragon boat team: inutang at KKB (kanya-kanyang baon) pamasahe
PH Azkals: complete outfit
PH Dragon boat team: nanghihiram pa ng sagwan sa kalaban,

--Sasagwan ka ba sa KARANGALAN o sisipa sa KAPOGIAN?

Ok, last statement for dragon boat team seems to be a big bluff already. But whether there’s a big joke in there, there are facts that backed the hell up and it’s all displayed in that post. And even the “Palakasan” episode of WOTL can tell you that Azkals had infinite commercials indeed, thanks to the Younghusband brothers. Well, speaking of Younghusband, Phil had even a great catch – Angel Locsin. But these brothers as far as I remember were half-Pinoys and had been playing with soccer with Filipinos for a long while. And since looks are mostly recognized by everyone in the society, (don’t be hypocrite) these two were part of those magazine pages intended for modeling poses at some time.

But let’s face it, Azkals had suffered the fate of the present dragon boat team. It’s just the fact that the Philippine Sports Commission only recognizes sports that are: first, competing in the Olympics; and second, are widely played by at least numerous countries in the world. Well, dragon boat is there, (in fact it is played by at least 70 countries worldwide) but the hardest part is that politics discriminates it all. Unfair treatment as it seems, huh?

The Dragon Boat squad had been dominating despite being “under the radar” and those unworthy remarks by the officials of PSC. And as far I recalled while reading the veteran sports analyst Ronnie Nathanielsz’ tweets in Twitter by last week, he found PSC Chariman Richie Garcia’s word “pathetic.” Garcia stated that “they rather go back to their roots and eat tahong if they will not join the national Canoe-Kayak team.”

Okay, my take. Somehow, I will agree on Nathanielsz’ remark. First and foremost, how could you say such? Maybe this guy didn’t know that tahong was the food where these guys from the PDBT had gained strength. I can hardly recall a PSC official statement, saying that they cannot sponsor the squad and instead leave it to the private parties. Something which Lucio Tan’s Asian Brewery came to the rescue. By the way, try to spot that Cobra Energy Drink’s brand on their apparel.

Media-hype wise, no doubt that the Azkals had got the attention that they wanted (and in fact they even got more.) But from the old days to the present ones (and good thing that fromer basketball player Benjie Paras came to show business when he did retired) I can only put up this saying. SPORTS AND SHOWBIZ SHOULD NEVER BE MIXED IN PRIORITES. I mean, it’s not bad to be an athlete and a celebrity at the same time. It is already a given status since you’re been mostly seen and heard. But once gossips and blind items come in to your circulations, it will be hard for you to sustain the fame that you had gotten, unless you’re like Manny Pacquiao.

If you’re a hell sports fan, don’t bash your colleague. This is the hardest part. I think in basketball, this thing do exists. The one they called “crab mentality.” When a fan of their opponent cheered on his favorite team, he will bash him out until the objective judgments turned subjective. And I noticed that for a lot of times not just in forums, but also in social media sites.

But colonial mentality was also the main factor why Azkals had been favoring the most over the dragon boat crew. Try reading that wildfire post once again and you’ll see the difference.

And for every aspect of life, politics do exists. That dirty game was part of your colorful, roller coaster ride. But just don’t let it roll into you or else you’ll be in grave danger.

© 2011 september twenty-eight productions

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