Hasta la vista Ito

SPORTS EYE - Raffy Uytiepo (The Freeman) - May 11, 2021 - 12:00am

We were constant coffee drinking partners after Fernando “Ito” Rama, eldest of the Rama siblings that include Vice Mayor Mike, Sammy,Hector and Jingjing, returned to Cebu for good after living in Texas for quite some time. We always gather at a fastfood chain in Mambaling for breakfast. Some of our buddies were Ted Cavan, Dodong Quijano, Pocholo Cordeta and John Rama.  Sammy occasionally joins us. Ito would sometimes request me to sing his favorite Elvis songs like “Poor Boy” and “Lonesome Cowboy”. One event I’ll never forget was when Ito figured in a fistfight with another seventy-year old former  U.S. Marine.  It all started when Ito called the attention of the American about his bags that he placed into the chairs intended for clients. The fastfood was full at that time and some people couldn’t find a seat. The American, who also frequents the place, told Ito to mind his business. That was the start of the grudge. On another occasion, this American, who was lining for his order at the counter, noticed that the security guard delivered Ito’s coffee, prompting the foreigner to comment that this is a self service outlet and why was Ito given special treatment. This irked Ito who said it should be the American who should mind his business. This led to a heated argument until Ito unleashed a right cross which dropped the American to the canvas este…floor. He got up in no time and countered with his own upper-cut that grazed Ito’s ears. Employees of the store came to the rescue and separated the protagonists. The American threatened to sue Ito but I didn’t know if it ever materialized. I kidded Ito, “Abi nako di na klaro imong mata (due to diabetes) pero naigo paman ang kontra”. I also  told him I’m writing Bob Arum to ask the WBC to add another division, the Seniors (70-above), so they can have an official rematch. Ito was amused with my column where I detailed the brawl, that he requested several copies of the Freeman to be send to the States.  Ito died last May 1 at the age of 81.  Rest in peace and Hasta  La Vista, Ito.  Our deepest condolences to Vincent and Jennifer and the whole Rama clan.

Tour de France (1903)

It’s almost June once again and what comes to a cyclists mind? The Tour De France, of course. Here’s some trivia on the race.   The world’s most famous bike race was an idea developed by French newspaper editor Henri Desrange and one of his journalists, Ged Lefevre in 1903. The race was conceived to boost the circulation of his ailing paper L’ Auto (which later became the sports bible L’Equipe). The race was envisioned as a five-week race around the country but after lack of competitors, it was reduced to the 3 weeks of July until what it is today. The 1903 race had only six stages but were longer than those of the modern era. The average length of a stage back then was in excess of 250 miles with several days in between. The first winner was French rider Maurice Garin, who was identified by the wearing of a green armband. The race leader’s iconic yellow jersey, wasn’t introduced until 1919.  The first race was an overwhelming success for the newspaper.  L’ Auto’s regular circulation increased from 25,000 to 65,000.

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