What slow day?

This was I get in return. I need to redo my article to accomodate a late-breaking event in my beat.

Argh you, Richard Gomez!

Day is slow in the Inquirer Sports Desk

This is what I get when my event finishes early while the ones assigned to the desk are out in the field covering.

Ang boring palang tumambay sa Inquirer. Consolation is I get to surf for free.


I feel good!

I give you three guesses. Besides the fact that the Philippine fencing team has won two more gold medals.


When things feel like the elections...

Philsoc has their own medal count, ABC 5 has theirs, and we at Inquirer have their own.

This is crazy, I say!


Two golds and counting...

And we're not even starting formally yet.

Congratulations to the synchronized diving pair and to Marestela Torres for giving the country's first gold medals to jumpstart our campaign.


Top ten worst sports

10 squash – really now. If I’m going to play tennis, or a variation of it, why would I play with a wall as volley partner? You’re such a loser to be playing against an inanimate object. It’s like playing handball.

9 handball – I believe there are two kinds of handball. One is what the Americans play, hitting a ball against a wall with a device attached to the palm to hit the ball with. Then there’s this one I saw in an Australian cable channel that somehow resembles basketball. The goal doesn’t have a backboard and the players can’t dribble. How sucky is that?

8 croquet – ever heard of an old man’s sport? These are for people who are senile enough not having the energy to walk for 18 holes and poor enough not to afford a golf cart.

7 fin swimming – anything for a gold medal them Vietnamese hosts of the 2003 Southeast Asian Games. Tiffany and I researched that so-called sport trying to look for local regional sports to feature in HF. What’s so competitive in fin swimming, you tell me.

6 curling – it’s one of those winter sports that I have no idea what it looks like or how it goes. Sounds more like what they do in beauty parlors.

5 lacrosse – for the simple reason that this is Canada’s national sport.

4 flag football – rugby is brutal and barbaric, which basically fluctuates from extreme cool to extreme yucky in my appreciation meter. Then you’ve got a sissy variation of it called American football, so as not to confuse with the REAL football, which 200-pound men play with pads and helmets. What worse than Monday Night Football? A sissy variation of a sissy sport. Enter flag football, a non-contact contact sport.

3 polo – really now, who gets to play this sport? It’s elitist, it’s anti-animals, and you don’t give that much physical exertion since it’s the horses that do the running anyway. Why don’t you play its water version instead? Field hockey would have made this list if only a South Park episode didn’t remind me that a sport such as this exists.

2 cricket – there are a million reasons to hate cricket. It’s long, it’s dragging, it’s boring. One match takes days to finish. Baseball doesn’t hold a candle as a timeless game compared to sports’ Arabian epic A Thousand and One Nights.

1 golf – first of all, this destroys the ecology. Imagine if they converted these golf courses to ricefields instead. Compute how many football fields they could make out of a par 3 hole. The game is so complicated with a spatter of clubs for this and that with various swings depending on the club you’re using. Then you have a caddy that carries your golf bag for you and a golf cart to retrieve your ball, you lazybones. No way you’d caught me dead playing this game.


Usapang SEA Games

Top ten sports I would like to cover in the SEA Games

1. men’s basketball – this is a student correspondents’ dream beat. Hands down. Unfortunately, some stupid Chinese tried to mess things up.

2. women’s basketball – the best alternative. Same reason stated on top why this discipline was scrapped in this year’s calendar.

3. men’s football – nothing beats covering the region’s most watched event. However, Bacolod events are already covered.

4. women’s football – why I didn’t have the guts to raise my hand and volunteered to cover the event somehow still bothers me up to now. Goodbye chances of getting to know Mariel Benitez and finding out if she is in any way related to Mark Benitez. They’re both from De La Salle, you know.

5. taekwondo – three people: Tonette Rivero, Donald Geisler, and Japoy Lizardo. It would have been nice to bump elbows with coach Stephen Fernandez once again.

6. baseball – if memory serves me right, I either lost this one to a female Thomasian or a female Atenean. Either way, it sucks.

7. softball – it would have been great covering this along with my cousin who is training with the National Team. Refer to #6 why I’m not covering this one. By this time, the other student correspondents were already laughing at me for my disappointment in assigning myself to a sport I am more at home with.

8. chess – for anything else, this is an easy sport to cover. You don’t need to be in the venue to make a play-by-play. Just get the moves list at the end of the day, write who won, mention the opening done, and take note how many moves the match lasted.

9. triathlon – if cross-country cycling is hard enough (both chess and road cycling would be covered by Reuben Ezra Terrado, Jonas’ elder sibling, since both events would take place in Tagaytay), what more a three-in-one event? Would you swim along with them? Then ride a bike side by side with the leading pack? Jog alongside the triathletes to the finish line? Covering this sport is a challenge in itself.

10. lawn tennis – blame it on Eric Salta. I don’t even have a rat’s ass of an idea who the hell our own players are save for Cecil Mamiit, who was the infamous Fil-Am that backed out in a previous SEA Games staging because the Philippine Tennis Association couldn’t cough up enough funds for this ‘talent fee’. Then I heard that my id0l, Thai Paradorn Srichiphan, backed out this year because of another commitment somewhere. Who could blame him, he is the first Asian to penetrate the world top 10 for a long time, if there was anyone before him who accomplished that feat? What is a smalltime Southeast Asian event whose top prize is just a gold medal around your neck and a pat at the back courtesy of your countrymates when you are battling for a world ranking position and lots more money somewhere else?

Guess what, was fencing ever mentioned in the list?


I’m going to cover *blech* fencing for the SEA Games

Now that the cat’s out of the bag, it can now be told. I would be part of Philippine Daily Inquirer’s contingent of student correspondents that would be covering the SEA Games.

In this, using the Inquirer’s own words in the excuse letter I’m showing my profs, monumental event I am assigned to write the goings-on in… tadaan! FENCING!
Fencing. Hmmm… let me see what I know of fencing. It’s a gay sport (espadahan, anyone?). It reminds me of The Three Musketeers, and I’m not talking of the chocolate bar. This is the sport that Madonna was supposed to be training the Miranda Frost character in Die Another Day. And yes, Richard Gomez’s gold medal event. He should have remained in canoeing.

This is a sport I know no any friggin’ idea of. It works like taekwondo but with the dexterity and lightning quick action of badminton. It’s like Greco Roman wrestling or judo without the direct contact. A shootout using swords with scoring similar to table tennis or any other racket sport for that matter.

All I know is that there are three kinds of swords and the scoring areas depend on the type of sword you are using. Masks are there to prevent getting swiped to the face. The thick white padded suit is there for added protection besides the fact that it’s a virtual computer with all the electronic stuff found in it to help in the scoring.

Traditionally, scoring is done by judges, which was later replaced with electronic gadgets to eliminate bias, subjectivity, and inconsistency. Nevertheless, the judges are still there to determine if the hits are indeed clean.

Now, tell me, do I know stuff about fencing? I don’t know squat. And you might be surprised this is coming from an other-proclaimed ‘sports expert’. Let me reiterate to you that we sports writers are not infallible and omniscient like gods with regards to sports matters. Like I don’t know who the world champion in fencing is. I have no friggin’ idea who won the gold medal in the last Olympics. I don’t even know what this sport’s history is and how it originated.

Nonetheless, I see this as a challenge and an opportunity to further expand my horizons and keep an open mind that fencing is more than just parries, shouts of ‘en guard’ and ‘touche’, and Richard Gomez.

Besides, this is just four days of calvary. After this ordeal, I like the challenge of being in the main press center in PICC and be where the action really is… in the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

Covering multiple events simultaneously is something I got used to do with HF whenever PRISAA comes along. The last time this occurred to me was just this April during the Nationals in Zamboanga. While JC, Paul, and Jay were all covering one event each or was either assigned in a certain location, I was doing rounds and dividing myself among athletics, basketball, and swimming.

It’s utopia and hell at the same time. It hurts in the upper head but it satisfies the inner sports masochist in me.

Then again, I might be assigned to look after badminton, which is also in Pasig just nearby where fencing would be held.

As for those who would be asking for Goma’s autograph, tell me as soon as possible. I couldn’t accommodate everybody. First come, first served basis.

I heard he is a snob.


Some tips I got from the ‘experts’

These are some stuff that my ethics prof would actually cringe when he finds out professional sports journalists do these. Disclaimer: some were added by me for emphasis and clarity.

- To get the best quotes from the coaches, here’s what you do. Invite him to a night out with fellow writers (preferably from the same publication). Offer your guest of honour drinks… lots of drinks. Prop up your tape recorder and watch the fireworks explode as your tape cassette rolls overtime. Spare the athletes, though. They have practice the following day.

- Don’t show your notes to other writers, but it doesn’t hurt to look at theirs. And if you do, make sure you verify what you gather. There’s nothing worse for a budding sportswriter than to get electrocuted (in vernacular, ma-kuryente) because you submitted an article with erroneous data. The higher editors would be after your ass the morning after.

- Sidelights, trivial info like your crush accompanying you to watch the games, are highly discouraged in hard sports news. But in big events like these, light human interest angles make an editor’s, and the readers as well, day.

- Just because you are just elbow’s height of your interviewee, don’t be intimidated, awed, or get starstruck. Remember that people like Yao Ming are also human. It’s just that when God decided to shower height and basketball skills in the world, his parents brought a large parasol good for three people and turned it upside down.

- Speaking of interviews, if you and the athlete couldn’t get beyond the communication gap, find an interpreter. Or better yet, look for the coach. He is more than able in answering you queries. Worst case scenario is when no one could speak a common language. That sucks but it’s a part of the job when you live in a region where there are at least a hundred languages and thousands of dialects in an area that is smaller than Western Europe.

- Go and ask. The athletes and coaches wouldn’t approach you to interview them.
- Be punctual. An hour late is an hour worth of action missed.

- Don’t go hungry. Pray that PDI would have a budget for food.

- Don’t solely rely on results but ask for a copy nonetheless. The officials tend to be snobbish and obnoxious during these harrowing times. So, ask nicely and make sure to let them know where you are from. Tell them in your most convincing voice, “Taga-Inquirer PO ako.”

- It’s ok to mingle and ask for cell numbers and Friendster email addresses, but don’t ever forget the main reason why you are there, you perverted idiot.

- The coverage will rise and fall with us, the student correspondents. And with our sheer quantity (Inq’s 16 vs Star’s 15), there is no reason for us to miss anything. Besides, we have the best writers on our side. Up front are PBAPC Sportswriting Contest winners Paolo “Kwa” Lacdao and JP Abcede (hey, that’s me!). Then there are TLS Sports Staffer of the Year awardees Reuben Ezra Terrado and Don Sta. Rosa. Plus you have Inquirer Hoops writer and The Bedan Sports Editor Rufino “Chip” Lopez III. Completing the cast are three writers from Ateneo, four from UST, two from FEU, a Trinitian, and an Adamsonian (fortunately, he’s not Joseph Ramos. *evil laughter*).

- Basically, the war is between us and them (other broadsheets). Battle lines have been drawn and the battle cry for the next two weeks or so is, “Ilampaso Star!!!” Nothing but a good rallying point to stir the blood of the competitor within us.


I'm getting heat from my NU Rock Awards post...

...both good and bad. What is this trying to imply? That I write more stuff about music since it's the topic that gets more feedback? Eh?

By the way, Australia entered the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 32 years while Trinidad and Tobago and the Czech Republic would be having their World Cup debuts in Germany next year.


I love you, pare!

Pinahiram mo ako ng iyong pinakamamahal na kopya ng "From Loren to Marimar." Naman, akala ko naman kung ano ang kopya mo xerox lang pala na-kinompile. Kumbaga sa CD, pirated. Fwe. Hehehe...


Good news!

With or without O'Neal, the Pacers still won.


For Chicago White Sox...

CWS means Champions, World Series.

At least the Sox have already hurdled the ghosts of World Series past.

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