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One wreck older

WRECKORDER - FGS Gujilde (The Freeman) - March 4, 2021 - 12:00am

The wink of an eye, the flap of a wing. Just like that, this column turns one year old tomorrow. Its inaugural issue recognized outstanding male and female athletes of the year before. Since then, it told at least 50 stories about different sports disciplines and personalities, amateur and professional. It devoted most topics to tennis, the game of a thousand thrills and the only sport this writer plays, with little success and with even smaller agility.

It continues to crave for the first ever Olympic gold that has eluded the country for a century, glorifies amateurism and advocates better treatment of national athletes. Despite the way things are, Tokyo this year could be the place and time for Filipino athletic supremacy, maybe in gymnastics if Carlos Yulo reprises his exquisite performance at the worlds. Or in weightlifting if Hidilyn Diaz lifts heavier than she did five years ago. Or a boxer slugs to gold. If not this year, maybe not in this lifetime.

It wrote about basketball with the caveat that to Filipinos it doesn’t match within the context of global excellence. Although it is the sport we all are crazy about, it just does not belong to a vertically challenged people. Sure we have seven footers but they are a rare find in the genetically predisposed short Malayan race. Ten seven footers out of at least a hundred million Filipinos? Do the math. Speaking of stumbling on a rare fortune, we found a chess wizard but lost him to another country due to his own country’s insensitivity.

   It also paid tribute to three departed men, with two gone to physical disease and the other to social disease of impunity. It dreads to write another one, but death is a certainty. It is said there are only two things certain in life, death and taxes. But while it is illegal to evade taxes, it is legal to avoid them. It is not sure after all. What appears inevitable though is once collected, a big part is pocketed.

But almost always, it contextualized sports with the arena of life, especially in social justice inseparable from governance. It frowns upon arrogance among athletes, it is the equivalent of social discrimination. It detests unsportsmanlike conduct, it equals rudeness and impropriety not only in governance but in all of human relations. And it condemns cheating, the norm of some government men and women.

When it did, it invited some adverse reaction that this column chose to be mum about. If in the name of freedom of expression and press freedom, no one dictates this column which story to write about else it amounts to prior restraint, it should also never dictate how the reader reacts else it resembles subsequent punishment. That is the beauty and mystery of writing, the period at the bottom ends it all, and everything is left to the readers’ imagination. If they continue the discourse, its mission found its rightful conclusion. For in general, punishment should be sparingly imposed, especially against mindlessness and stupidity. Neither deserves punishment but compassion, with the hope that those who represent either or both will not reproduce.

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