Mike Limpag

Fair play

FOR a football fan, it’s been quite a long time since I’ve seen a match.

I don’t think I’ve seen a full 11-a-side match since they strapped me in this desk.

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When I got this job, my first question was, “Would I still be allowed to cover a football game?”

The answer was a big yes.

But, as I’ve learned in my two years of taking charge of the sports section, you can’t be in charge of the football beat, and be the editor.

Which probably explains why I only saw my previous bosses on the field when they’re playing.

The football beat, these days, is no longer considered a major one.

There are no breaking news, no major scoops, no updates.

When I started at the Freeman back in 1997, the treatment was the same.

But I was a football nut.

I went to the venue at 8 a.m. for the first game, and left at 5 p.m., sometimes, even later.

No stats? No problem!

I made my own.

Corner kicks, fouls, shots on target, shots off target, saves, yellow cards, red cards. I tallied ‘em all.

I had my little corner up the Cebu City Sports Center and I’d just get off my perch to check with the table officials the names of the players.

Heck, I remember even tallying which team had the sexiest fans (I was 18 and you can count a team’s cheerers, especially the hot ones.)

When I transferred to Sun.Star Cebu in 2000 and when I returned in 2004, I treated football the same way.

So the other papers tried chasing me and the high-point in the sport and its coverage was achieved.

In one hotly-contested national tournament, a game was delayed numerous times because of the absence of ball boys. So I spent the first half, chasing balls.

I spoiled football so much that officials started expecting the sport should be treated like a god, every time, and that the beat reporters should be as nutty as I am.

But nuts are rare.

They’re finding that out now.

And my days of covering the sport are gone.

Heck, it seems, the days of the sport getting covered are also gone.

Nobody’s nutty about football these days and the deteriorating relationship between reporters and organizers doesn’t help.

Running has taken its place.

That’s why I’m glad the Thirsty Cup is just around the corner.

It may not be the full version, but with more than 200 teams, you’ll get your football OD.

This will be my first time to watch the Thirsty Cup since 2006 and it will be at the CCSC.

Aahhh. Home sweet home.

NEW COLUMNIST. Speaking of running, our family of sports columnists will have a new member next week.

Running has grown exponentially that it’s time the sport gets a columnist whose main focus will be this sport.

Who is it?

Well, check it out next week.

Just a warning though, you might think that you’re seeing double but you’re not.

Well, just wait and see.

MARIA, JELENA, ANA. That’s the order of how my three bets for the Australian Open went out.

Maria Sharapova screamed her way to a first-round exit, Jelena Dokic missed her chances in round one, while Ana Ivanovic doubled-faulted her pretty ass off the court.