Why not football?
A former student, Gay Ace Domingo, asked through a personal message on Facebook, “Sir, when are you going to write about football?”
The other day, fellow sports journalist TJ Jurado asked, “Sir, when are you going to comment about the NCAA basketball games?”
These requests are heartwarming, making us know that our notes in this space are being followed. There is interest in what I could contribute to the discourse on a sport, which should in turn stimulate conversation in social media or real-people social circles (There is a difference, as you know).
All right Gay, I’ll start today with football. And TJ, I’ll do the NCAA games as soon as I drop by the Filoil Flying V Arena to see if anyone this early on can stop the runs of Perpetual Help and Letran.
I cannot claim I know football very well. I hardly played the game compared to the countless hours I devoted to basketball, volleyball, tennis, golf, badminton, bowling and even chess. Those are games I played early in my life and still manage to connect to today with my overweight senior-citizen frame.
The most football I got involved in was playing fullback for our intramurals in grade school at Philippine Normal College and then for our school squad that was beaten soundly by a well-oiled San Beda team.
I was also a football stage father along with one-time golfing partner Jaime Fabregas. We swapped golf and show-biz stories while our sons did drills and played against other football schools.
But here’s the exciting thing: In spite of the continued dominance of basketball and the emergence of volleyball, there is reason today for us to understand the “beautiful game” from a Philippine perspective.
What the Philippine Azkals have achieved has gotten most sports followers interested in the game.
It’s safe to assume that those who cheer for the Azkals have a working knowledge of football and love the opportunity to go crazy when the Philippines scores a goal. Many probably played the game in school but had no real chance to extend their playing days because there were no viable club teams back then.
We have the opportunity this coming Sep. 8 to join them and cheer for the Azkals against Uzbekistan in a World Cup Qualifying duel. The opponent is ranked No. 75 in the world and our team will need our collective voices at the Philippine Sports Stadium to win and gain more headway in the international rankings.
What do you say we all come together on Sept. 8 and cheer for the Azkals? Let’s all go and learn how this game is played at a high international level. Then, we can get used to these experiences and join the rest of the world in relishing the sport even more.
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