Never forget our past sports heroes
One of our shortcomings is our inability to preserve many of the artifacts of our colorful history. Artworks, literary and journalistic pieces as well as photographs often lay rotting in badly maintained storages. Our nasty humidity and the passing of the years are wreaking havoc on these mementos. Consequently, the stories they bear are also slowly being forgotten.
The same is true in Philippine sports. There have been a few attempts to put priceless medals, photos, old uniforms and other memorabilia into museums and coffee-table books. All these tell breathtaking stories of the sports trials and victories of a proud nation that participated and frequently figured prominently on the international sports stage.
Broadcaster Chino Trinidad has decided it is time to assemble the mementos together before they sadly decay any further and to preserve the achievements of Filipino athletes. Trinidad is spearheading “Pagpupugay” that can be roughly translated as a continuing salute and tribute to Filipino athletes.
On his own initiative, Trinidad is opening on June 1 at Resorts World Hotel and Casino an exhibit of many of the sports artifacts he has uncovered talking to aging sports legends and the families of those who have already passed away. And on June 12, a day when heroism is usually remembered in this country, a simple but meaningful ceremony will launch the full program of honoring the sports heroes, a coffee-table book and a digital library.
Trinidad has also secured the participation of a sponsor who donated a building in Taguig where the permanent exhibit will reside.
Trinidad knows the sports terrain, having covered many events since starting as one of the first courtside reporters in 1990 in the Philippine Basketball League TV coverage. He anchored the PBA, the NBA, Manny Pacquiao fights and even the summer bikathon that nearly took his then young life because of a vehicular accident. He even served as PBL commissioner. Today, he continues to cover sports for the GMA Network.
Over breakfast in Greenhills, I am enthralled by Trinidad’s accounts of his recent journeys. He has met 1964 Olympic boxing silver medalist Anthony Villanueva, the family of 1928 and 1932 Olympic bronze medalist swimmer Teofilo Yldefonso and countless others who are willing to share stories and mementos for the project.
“Did you know that the Philippines might have given volleyball the spike?” Trinidad excitedly recalls. “When the Americans brought the game here, it was at best boring as the ball was tossed gently from side to side.
Then one Filipino decided to stab the ball to the other side with a powerful stroke that soon became known as “The Filipino Bomb.” Those were most likely the first spikes in volleyball. This is just one of many of Trinidad’s stories that will soon find a home and other tangible memory storages.
“There is so much to be proud of as far as Filipino participation in sports is concerned,” Trinidad emphasizes. “And the athletes and their achievements should never be forgotten.”
We should follow Trinidad’s lead in preserving all that is good in Philippine sports. Pagpupugay should remind us that the Filipino athlete has succeeded many times over and can do so much more.