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Skater from the tropics

/ 03:32 AM February 15, 2014

So fine we have no winter, snow or ice on our lakes but we do have a Filipino competing in the Sochi Winter Olympics.

We salute Filipino figure skater Michael Christian Martinez who worked on realizing his dream from the time he hit the rink at the mall as a boy up to the time he barged onto the international stage.  Regardless of what happens in the Olympics, he has achieved his goal of representing our country in the biggest sports stage and for that alone he deserves our kudos.  Only the best in the world get that special invite to be in the Olympics.

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But on this Valentine’s Day, let’s take a romantic look at the Winter Olympics and be both practical and poignant. On a regular basis, hundreds of mall goers try out the skating rinks for fun.  Call it part of the Filipino dream to see snow and feel the chill of a country that has it as a regular season.

Of course, those who live in those countries will tell you that it’s really no thrill to step out of your house wrapped in tons of clothing or shoveling away piles of white to clear your walkways.  But no harm in wishful dreaming: If you’ve been in the sun and even in tropical typhoons for too long, there’s nothing wrong about wondering what it’s like to be wrapped for a stroll in the snow.

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Skating in the malls is the closest one can get to that dream without actually migrating abroad.  Many put on the blades for the sheer fun of it, to have a few laughs with friends as they stumble and fumble.  There’s no need to try spins and intricate moves because just gliding on the ice can be quite satisfying.

And yet there are those who actually cut the ice well.  There are young boys and girls who are so graceful in practice and in competitions. There are coaches of course but not all of them have the experience necessary to hone international champions.  They can, to use a pun, break the ice for the young ones who seem to be pliable and graceful enough to move on in the sport.

So, just because there are other sports priorities, it shouldn’t mean that we should merely sidestep the possibility of more Filipinos mastering figure skating. More interestingly, just because we don’t have a winter season, it shouldn’t mean that we should ignore the possibility that maybe with the right training, more Filipinos can vie in Winter Olympic sports.

We have the rinks anyway.  They’re there for fun and the folk who want to enjoy the sport even fleetingly. But on the days when there aren’t too many curious skaters, those who want to pursue the sport seriously should be given proper coaching and support on these facilities.

We should also stop sneering that we’re a tropical country with nothing more than snowy dreams.

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TAGS: Figure skating, Michael Martinez, Philippines, Sochi, Sports, Winter Olympics
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