In London, it’s God bless America-A A +A
Saturday, August 4, 2012
SIX down, five to go. That sums up our “performance” in the London Olympics as of yesterday, a week after the Games’ formal opening. Of the eleven athletes that we sent to the quadrennial meet that gathers the worlds’ elite sportsmen, six have already been eliminated. That means only five remain standing before our contingent’s decimation is complete.
I should have kept the promise I made to myself before the Games began that I wouldn’t bother finding out how we did in London to spare me from certain heartbreak. But after almost a week of monitoring the tight contest between the United States and China for the top spot in the medal standings, I decided to scroll down and see who were getting the crumbs.
I found the names of three of our Southeast Asian neighbors in the list. Indonesia had a silver and a bronze to rank 31st overall, while Thailand and tiny Singapore had a silver and bronze, respectively. The Philippines was not there but in fairness, neither was Vietnam or Malaysia.
My curiosity piqued and since Reuters, the Associated Press and the BBC do not give importance to the also-rans, I decided to open the sports section of the Inquirer and lo and behold, its headline said: “Down to 5 as archer Javier falls.”
Javier, who is from nearby Dumaguete City, lost to American world number one Elison Brady in four sets and was eliminated. It was little consolation that the politically correct Brady congratulated him after the match for making it “really outstanding.”
I am no longer surprised by the debacle because that has been our lot in international athletic competitions for many years now. You can also say that I have learned to manage my expectations.
Plus, there is the United States team to cheer for. I rooted for the Chinese in the Beijing Games four years ago because I regarded them as underdogs compared to the American bullies. But China’s shameful behavior in the West Philippine Sea conflict has made me want their team to be beaten so badly. And since the Americans are in the best position to do that, I am now praying God bless America when I am not chanting, “Go Kobe! Go Lebron!” in front of the television set.
What price, brotherhood? A law student of San Beda College died while undergoing initiation rites by his fraternity “masters.” There is a law against hazing and the penalties that it imposes for violations are harsh but it hasn’t deterred fraternities from using violence in vetting candidates for brotherhood.
Curbing hazing is no longer a function of legislation but of law enforcement, according to Sen. Francis Pangilinan. The problem is that fraternity initiation rites are rarely held in public places or at least in areas where they can be monitored.
For the same reason, school authorities are just as powerless to stop or even police student activities that are held outside their campus. I doubt if fraternities even inform their school that they are holding initiation rites. Most of these activities are done on the sly.
The late Sandiganbayan Justice German Lee once told me that when he was in law school, he attempted to join a fraternity upon the invitation of a friend but backed out on the first night of the initiation because he didn’t enjoy being physically assaulted. “Someone boxed me and I said, ‘stop that.’ Then I quit.”
That, I think, is the key. You should remain in control of your destiny even when you’re seeking the brotherhood of your masters.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 05, 2012.