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Of Loyalty and Respect

Pio Garcia - The Philippine Star

Lately, the collegiate basketball season has brought out the Blue and White supporter in me. I’m proud of it. And there’s nothing you can do about it. You can throw all the flak at me for saying I’m being too partisan for the Ateneo De Manila Blue Eagles, but I don’t really care. Never did, never will. It’s the UAAP and there’s nothing you can do about it.

What is team loyalty? To the pedestrian collegian, that’s cheering for the school you are in. Say, those who chose to study in FEU, UE, SSC-R, NU, some from CSJL, DLSU sometimes too, they cheer rabidly for their school. But only when they are winning. When they are losing? You can see them heading to the exits. Heads down, not even recognizing their own team. Worst case scenario, no one bothers to watch. Putting them to shame against the UP diehards who still roar their throats hoarse even if they are mired in a ditch with UP futilely competing for almost seven years.

School spirit? That doesn’t mean that the institution you are currently in must dictate who you support. I know of guys who studied in La Salle Greenhills or even Zobel who transferred to Ateneo for their college education but still cheer for the Green and White. They used to jeer with their college friends whenever La Salle one ups Ateneo in the UAAP. I’m using the two schools as a model since hey, it’s the one I grew up observing. Or UP for that matter. I have friends who attended Ateneo High School with me then went to UP. They remained bleeding blue whenever the basketball season rolled around. That’s what you call loyalty. That’s what you call true school spirit.

Look at Nico Elorde. He used to play for the Green Archers. Then he transferred to my Blue Eagles. Saw him raising his fist singing the DLSU Hymn? That’s loyalty for you. He owed the La Salle system his career. It still runs in his veins though right now, he is bleeding blue. He remains loyal to both the Jesuits and the La Sallian brothers. He never let the institution he is playing for, studying in, to dictate where his loyalties lie. He respects both.

As every fan should respect whoever the other supports.

You don’t see me dissing SSC-R supporters except for the hooligans who pose as such. You don’t see me laughing at the hapless UP Maroons fans except pulling off jibes. You could make a case for FEU since hey, I’m not the only who’s irritated at Anton Montinola and his scheming. DLSU? I’m civil with their supporters (my godmother is a DLSU Accounting professor and PhD holder, who once brainwashed me to going green, thank God I declined) but when we’re in the MOA Arena or Big Dome, galit galit muna. And of course, there is Tony “LeBron” Atayde who disgusts me as much as he disgusts everyone with his mumble jumble of Ateneo hate.

And lastly, you don’t see me laughing at you for being a Letran supporter. I understand the die-hard standpoint, for I myself am a die-hard as well, of Ateneo. In fact, I only have praises for their current run and how beautiful their basketball is without someone needing to shoot 30 times to get numbers.

I know where my loyalties lie. It would not be dictated upon by any institution I am in. I bleed Blue and White. There’s nothing you can do about it. Laugh at me, make a leper, I don’t care. Never did, never will. Like I said, I know where my loyalties lie.

How about you?

Follow me @PioVGarcia for more college hoops fun.

ANTON MONTINOLA ATENEO ATENEO DE MANILA BLUE EAGLES ATENEO HIGH SCHOOL BIG DOME BLUE AND WHITE BLUE EAGLES GOD I GREEN AND WHITE LA SALLE
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