Freeman Cebu Sports


WRECKORDER - FGS Gujilde - The Freeman

World Athletics is the first international sports federation to award cash in the Olympics. It rewards $50,000 to gold medalists in Paris. Four years later, it awards all medalists in Los Angeles. Regardless of color. Without reference to Olympian skin, although in most fronts black is dominating.

Other sports federations are still mum. But traditionalists are not liking it. The Olympic movement is about amateurism. Athletes play for glory, not for money. Correct, money is secondary. But only to those with plenty. Incidental even. But for poor athletes from poor countries, glory does not feed the hungry. Neither does resilience, the survival instinct of the powerless that business and politics take advantage of.

Most Filipino athletes are poor. Unless they are equestrians. Or equestriennes. Mikee Cojuangco did not need the money when she won Asiad gold singlehandedly. Amateurism does not appeal to Filipinos. Especially in individual sports, more so in a country that eats basketball for breakfast, although many have no staple on the table. Except hope and prayers. The desperate look up to the sky for answers while standing on the ground where food is produced but stolen by greed.

Aside from women s volleyball played by tall, pretty and well-spoken collegiate ladies, there is no glamor in sports for a country obsessed with pageantry. This despite brown beauty Lydia de Vega who dashed like poetry in motion. Or speed. Despite beautiful mermaids Akiko Thomson and Christine Jacob, Filipinas are averse to swimming. Even if they live in a body of water studded with islands. Otherwise known as the archipelago. Despite Manny Pacquiao raking in millions of dollars, except that it glamorized his better half. But not his accent. No problem, for as long as the truth is spoken.

Just like Manny, many Filipino boxers slugged their way out of poverty, amateur or professional, courtesy of cash incentives or prize money. Or both. But some of them ended poorer than ever. Instant wealth mishandled. Or just plain squander. For, these boxers did not wake up one day to fortune, they woke up early every single day to train for more than half of their miserable life.

After hurdling poverty barrier by way of sports supremacy, they ended up broke and broken. Back to zero. Below zero even. Without reference to a bottle of frozen beer unfreezing pent up emotions of men forced by society to bottle up their battles. Boys don t cry, their tears mutate into anger, abuse, and sometimes suicide.

Except of course Pacquiao whose wealth is bottomless, lifestyle of his wife regardless. No one complains against her spending habits, except the envious. At least it s not people s money. But her husband was once, or probably still is, the people s Manny. Even if it were, no one still complains. No one feels aggrieved, like the money stolen is not theirs. A country without taxpayer mentality. And some wonder why corruption thrives. Their silence enables, emboldens, condones and worse, celebrates thievery. Otherwise known as complicit, without reference to elections just yet.

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