Saturday, December 18, 2010


this is just a short something for this band of gallant, talented Filipinos.  they are our national football team. honestly, this is the first time i became aware of them. for the past weeks, they were able to get themselves covered by a lot of news organizations. they performed well in their scheduled games for the suzuki cup and actually had managed to earn a spot in the semifinals.  i think this is the highest place ever achieved by a Philippine football team up to this time. well, this is a basketball-crazy country and football is at the bottom of an average Filipino's list of his favorite sports. i'll bet if you ask someone you meet on the street what his favorite sport is, you will hear basketball, then boxing, billiards, chess, bowling. but, never football.

the team name is so appropriate -- azkals. short for asong kalye in the vernacular or street dogs in english.  like these runaway dogs of the streets, i know they feel abandoned, unrecognized, uncared for. unlike most of the rest of the world, filipinos are generally never too excited over football. even the most recent world cup never raised much of a frenzy among filipinos. so a lot of us really were surprised to hear news of this unknown band of men scoring wins against teams that have more solid national support. now, they have been noticed. they are now being recognized. soon, they will be cared for and supported. soon they will no longer be asong kalye or street dogs.

well, it is always like this. great odds always elicit great efforts at heroism and gallantry and achievement. the drive for excellence compels one to extend one's self over and beyond one's capabilities. as that popular song goes -- " to reach the unreachable star." the problem is not that the star is unreachable, the question is how one will be endeavoring to stretch one's self to try to reach it.

the problem is not that the True Self is not unknowable, the question is how man will be willing to know It. how one will devote effort and time to do it. the odds are tremendous. the outer world has lots to offer to sidetrack man in this heroic,  gallant, and brave quest. the old Sages say the world is a grand carnival and we are captives of its impermanent delights. it is difficult to escape.

knowing our true selves will not give us glittering suzuki cups or world cups or adulation of millions of  fans. knowing our true selves will give us freedom.

to date, the indonesian team has stopped the azkals unbeaten run in the tournament, 1-0. but i am confident the azkals are tough.  street dogs are like that. they never give up easily. they will use their street wisdom to survive. and it is not the need  for recognition or adoration that drives them.  it is the desire to prove they are far more than what they are thought to be -- just a so-so Philippine team for an unpopular sport.

this in itself is also freedom.


Anonymous said...

I liked your text, I also liked the cultural differences here football is a sport No. 1 ! Sometimes I like watching the big nationals matches ... :))


sito saguid said...

friend mahon, actually what our national team did for me personally is to get me reintroduced to football. now i'm beginning to see why most people consider this as the world's number 1 sport. thanks for visiting this blog.