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AMAZING ATHLETES

From my Manila Standard Column 8/20/2010


For the 100th finals series in the PBA, it was fitting to have the two most successful franchises in the league competing for the highest honour. And after 6 games of intense and drama-filled action, the Aces showed that their system and teamwork was a cut above.

The Araneta Coliseum went wild as the Alaska Aces won their 13th championship last Wednesday in front of agitated fans. The drums, the flaglets, the red shirts came in full force to support the team that seemed destined to win their title this time around after having failed a few times before.

Mr. Wilfred Steven Uytengsu was adamant about giving thanks to the elated crowd and also the players who honoured the memory of his late father with his initials patched on their jerseys. But winning this title in the fashion that they did was the ultimate tribute to the man whose vision and passion for the game led to the formation of a proud PBA ball club.

The night was also a fitting farewell to retiring veteran Jeff Cariaso, who started his career with a title with Alaska, and ended after 15 with another one, topping the 8 he’s won. The team captain expressed his appreciation to the family he’ll always hold close to his heart.

In other news, there’s a video clip of Kris Aquino during her noontime show Pilipinas Win Na Win talking to a contestant in one of their game segments. The contestant was a varsity volleyball player who talked about her woes and gamely answered questions about their family’s financial concerns.

First, let me say I think Ms. Aquino is very intelligent, and despite all the bad publicity, I have a lot of respect for her because of all her achievements, the sacrifices her family has made for the country, and the measures that she has taken to protect her children. Though I may not have made the same decisions if I were put in her situation, as a mother myself, my judgment would probably be clouded too by what I think is best for my children, no matter how unpopular the decision is.

I personally caught wind of the 8 second cut version on a friend’s face book page and another friend also had the full version of the interview. What drew my attention was the negative reactions of the people particularly individuals in the sporting community. Most were outraged, a lot were shocked.

Miss Kris Aqiuno asked the contestant: “Pag atleta minsan di ganon katalino... tatanongin kita... ikaw, sa tingin mo ba matalino ka?”

Full version of the video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j03aIEPvpJ0&feature=player_embedded#!

8 second version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp2bPg-bfHE&feature=related


Let’s look at the different perspectives though before we pass judgement.

There are athletes that can't express their thoughts with words. But when they set their mind to winning or competing at an optimum level, it's astonishing. There's a lot of brain activity going on to be able to coordinate an athlete's motor skills, balance and to will one's strength and determination. Add the decision making of an athlete particularly during games, fights, tournaments. Not everyone is blessed with their kind of intellect. More than just the natural abilities, or the talent, they use emotional intelligence as well to earn the right to be called an ATHLETE.

But then again she said “minsan” meaning sometimes, and she even said “hindi ganon katalino”. Miss Kris is not saying they're dumb. She's just saying they're not AS smart. And I highly doubt she was referring to ALL athletes.

Does this comment merit all this outrage and flak? Perhaps we should cut her some slack. I say it's not that easy to host a show, to come up with all these questions, comments, lines, on the fly, most of the time without a script. And sometimes, when there’s a script, you’re bound to it, no matter how stomach churning it is.

Then again, my husband is an athlete and he's one of the smartest people I know! I know many athletes who would not take this kind of comment from a person with her stature on national television lightly, even if the question was just fed to her. But then again, she did say she was nervous about asking that question and that she didn't want people to think that she was talking about a certain athlete in particular. No one can fault her for this.

But see this is not about Kris. This is just to bring to people’s attention that it takes a lot to be an athlete. At the end of the day, we have to educate people on how special these people really are.

Kay Bungan who’s taking her masteral studies for Human Development Psychology says “Though her comment may have been taken out of context, it might be good to clarify how athletes are intelligent, well-disciplined, with high EQs. At the very least, they have highly developed spatial and bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence. They have to memorize and execute plays and think quickly on their feet!”

So to all the athletes out there, never ever doubt your abilities and intellect. You are blessed with immense talent and your efforts to compete and push yourselves to the limit will always be admirable.