Sports and I, We’re a Team

A short note on how sports has decided to play with me again

People almost always would be taken aback whenever they’d ask me what my interests were and my immediate answer would always be “sports.” I blame stereotyping and discrimination on this–I supposedly don’t look like someone who’s into sports, I’m a girl, I’m not athletic enough, and yeah, something about sports in the Philippines being weak.

 

Jaworski 1996
Robert Jaworski, Sr. shooting FTs in a Ginebra vs San Miguel Beer 1996 PBA All-Filipino Cup Semis series match. Was rooting for SMB back then!

 

Following sports has been the norm since I was five. Like any typical Filipino child in the ‘90s, it began with falling in love with basketball on television, either loving or hating Ginebra with the entire household. I would later consume every physical and mental joust that was on our static screen—billiards, boxing, tennis, heck, even American football. Sports had lit a fire in me in my formative years. You know it would only get more serious after that.

At school I secretly loved P.E.; the majority of my class seemed to hate it since passing fifth grade. From elementary, high school, to even beyond that, whether it was basketball, the eight battery tests, volleyball, or dodgeball, I worked hard in excelling in the subject, and I would get so bummed if it rained.

In my second year of college, I tried out for the all-girls Faculty Arts and Letters basketball team. Me: a 5-foot skinny klutz was determined to surprise everyone that I could hoop it up with the bigger, stronger, more fleet-footed young women, even if it’s just for inter-university pride. Indeed, to everyone’s disbelief, I passed the first round. Hey, I was a lefty that could penetrate the paint and was a good passer, and my strategy was embracing backup point-guard duties like life depended on it—of course, I was going to make the first cut!

And I was ready to shock even more people in the final round of tryouts but my chances came to a halt when I pulled my hamstring during warm ups.

Despite the failure, almost making varsity has become a memory that I fondly look back at as simple proof of the triumph of the human spirit that dismisses stereotypes and defies physical boundaries.

A year went by and those who actually made it into the team and became people I regularly say “hi” to suggested that I try again to which I politely begged off. I knew that if I couldn’t play the game then, there would be other ways I’d get to celebrate this passion and only time would tell when that would be.

Which brings us to today—I’ve been practicing lifestyle journalism for almost ten years and now I’m being called on to cover sports and fitness my own way. I had covered sports starting out, but this time I get to tackle stories that I believe matter more.

Like a bouncing basketball, it has come full circle for me and my love for sports. It’s on my court once again. This time no injury will slow me down.

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