This attitude of Pinoy athletes and sports officials of being contented to represent their town in a district meet, their region in a national competition, or the Philippines in international competitions has got to stop if they want to excel and reach pinnacles of the sporting podiums.
Numerous quotes from various athletes in various athletic fields stating how they consider participation in sporting events, where the best of the best compete, is already an achievement in itself.
At first, it sounds nice considering the circumstances. But it is an act that is becoming too tiresome to watch as it is growing old without showing thirst for excellence.
If one thinks that wearing a team uniform, or reaching the Palaro Games, or reaching the Olympics is an achievement in itself, chances are that person will not bring home any championships or medals, which is the real achievement.
No wonder the Philippines have only eight Olympic medals, no golds, despite participating in 22 editions of the games. No wonder a Philippine SEAG diver, who obtains a result of zero out of a possible ten points, finishing last out of an 8-man field, tells everyone in social media that he has been proud of representing his country because he got the privilege to represent his country over other aspirants.
See related story: Happy just to be there
Two recent incidents again showed this undesirable attitude towards winning, Barangay Ginebra’s Jammer Jamito PBA slam dunk stint and the Officials of Benguet’s inability to emulate Baguio’s act of giving cash allowance for their representative athletes.
Jamito became famous internationally as he was featured by NBA’s The Starters for an intentionally flubbed dunk. A Shaqtin’ a Fool appearance is probably next in line.
In his second attempt, Jamito called teammate Japeth Aguilar to stand in the no charge zone, as if to jump over him, but instead side-stepped him for to complete an ordinary throw down.
Some of Benguet’s Delegation to the 2017 Pambansang Palaro were wondering why their Baguio counterparts got some cash allowance from the city and they didn’t.
I might be wrong, but I am probably, right when I say these are acts showing disinterest of winning the top prize of a competition.
Among the reasons why David Ortiz, the recently retired Boston Red Sox Legend, became such was his leadership.
Classic example: he and his teammates reached the 2013 World Series and were at Saint Louis, Missouri to play the Cardinals in Game 4. They were trailing, 1-2, in the series and tied in the game, 1-all, a game they need to win, when he saw some of his teammates acting tight.
So he pulled them to the dugout and give them a wonderful speech, telling them “not to be contented just to reach the World Series”. According to him, he told his teammates that “[one] do not get to go to the World Series everyday, [and if you got there] you wanna give everything you have. It’s a special moment, a one time in life type of thing”.
Lo and behold, his teammates responded and they went on to win that game and, in the process, the world series.
He described his teammates during that season as inferior to the other two world series team he was involved in (2004 and 2007) but ready to give it all they got if they were given an opportunity to play. He said when somebody rolls like that, one expect something thing to happen (like winning).
Going for the top prize should be always in the mind of athletes, most especially those who are paid to play. These are the attitude one should possess to win games and bouts.
Jamito and Alaska’s Marlon Magat both had miserable scores during the dunk contest. But that was their only similarity that night.
Magat came prepared for this one, at least his second attempt shows. He got a low score in the second round by trying to finish an NBA caliber attempt. He tried to jump over a teammate, grabbing the ball from him, and finishing the sequence with a rim behind the back slam. He just couldn’t complete it.
Jamito, himself, admitted that he intentionally used the probably innocent Aguilar [Watch Aguilar’s reaction: He was looking to the floor and was surprised he did not get touched, probably thinking all along that Jamito completed the dunk perfectly given the crowd’s reaction.] as a decoy to “entertain” the crowd. He also said he could not jump as high as the others so he has no chance of winning.
Wow, he virtually gave up the white flag even before his first attempt!
I understand the intention of Jamito to “entertain” the crowd. And, this goes with the definition of the all-star festivities, which is now becoming a side show instead of a main event.
But PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa is both at fault and right in his comments.
If the PBA wants to see the dunk contest competitive, it should have screened the participants and put the best dunkers on the floor. Aguilar or Chris Ellis would have been a better option to represent Ginebra. What happened is exactly what one should expect by selecting Jamito.
Again, back to the point of having a winning attitude, where the PBA failed.
On the other hand, Narvasa is also in the right direction in giving the seldom-used Jamito a chance to be in the limelight.
Jamito did not capitalize on the opportunity.
That makes Narvasa totally right in his comments that Jamito wasted an opportunity to show that he belongs amongst the big boys by showing disinterest in winning the event.
Jamito knew he was in a dunk contest, where the criteria of wowing the crowd, is getting the highest score with the most creative way of slamming the ball through the net.
He instead performed clown acts, which indeed cheered the crowd, but in the wrong way.
In the Benguet case, money should not be the main motivator for an amateur athlete to perform but an easement of their needs due to the travel to other places is a good gesture of encouraging one to perform better.
Giving allowances to athletes in the national games is one way of putting pressure to them to come up with winning results.
We have witnessed losers in championship games shed tears. Most of the reason for many of them is probably they felt they were failures. Aftermath, they perform better in future games.
An athlete should not be contented in reaching a goal that is not the highest one available. One may not be successful all the time to top the field but at least that person is not checking out of the competition even before the actual game starts.
By: ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS