SING for the laughter, sing for the tears...
Ahh..long, tall, skinny and an amazingly teary John Paul Erram of Cagayan de Oro basketball who's now a success story in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
It's barely over past two weeks now but still I could not get over yet seeing the 6-foot-8 tall Blackwater Elite center in sobbing moment, sharing his MMK-worth story with the athletes' parents at a Xavier University auditorium along with reigning Miss Cagayan de Oro Katrina Zayas Acaylar.
"Real men do cry," one mother says from the audience.
"Walay bayad ang paghilak Poy (You owe nothing for crying)," suggests Erram's former coach in Cagayan de Oro Arvin Martinez, calling his most successful ward thus far by his nickname.
Like coach A, who mentored the little-known JP back then at Pilgrim Christian College before the humble tandem's progress to the local Ateneo-Xavier University ballclub in the company of future XU Senior Crusaders coach Rocky Calingin, this corner also believes in moments arising.
You'll miss the boat, man, if you're not ready for Star time.
And JP was up to the ever daunting challenge at that moment an "angel" appeared unto him in the form of coach A. Yes, our very own Arvin Martinez who nurtured his prize catch from the outskirt of Villanueva, Misamis Oriental like no other.
"With coach Arvin around, we're training like crazy," recalls the now 29-year-old Erram, who comes from a brood family of eleven siblings with different mothers and a soldier father that, to his own words, "we also experienced those one-day-one-eat difficulty in life."
Rigorous training means subjecting one's body to daily grind of punishing digs and drills for a long period of time en route to developing hoop skills and talent.
Giving up is quite easy and an always tempting option. But with a big poor family to look up to, Erram could only train his sight and focus to the future. Feeding hungry mouths back home, battling poverty is but enough a motivation.
The sacred fire!
He can't simply go back and resign his fate to nothing. For life in this sooo blessed but still impoverished country is always a matter of survival, especially when you belong to the great majority of so-called less-fortunate beings.
Burning the pages of one life's bitter-sweet chapters in sages, Erram is now a family man too, still struggling to be a good father and husband, an active PBA player and a well-meaning follower of the Christian life.
For any good man, the struggle will always be a never-ending quest for something relevant -- worth dying for.
Major chords, minor chords, celebrity status now he awkwardly attains and enjoys the melodic perks that goes along with it.
Oddly enough, the once beaten child could cry no more as everyone in the parents' forum venue could readily agree.
But in just how hard the natural-born sentimental John Paul Erram had tried to reach the very apex of his goal in life?
His angel coach Arvin Martinez could best sum up the most logical answer to this in a casual talk later with this writer.
"Imagine Lendrix, two ACL injuries on both knees. He's about to play for Ateneo de Manila when injury befell. He's about to show wares for Blackwater Elite when the other knee gave in." Beat that!
Oh my God, two ACL trials as ticket to ride towards PBA stardom? Can you figure it boy how great it was the story for us to share?
For the obvious reason, lesser mortals won't survive the arrows of pain and sorrow. And millennial readers could easily google what ACL meant to be a plague to snap-- every athlete's dream.
But Arvin's crying baby was made of sterner stuff, after all. His courage and determination was beyond compare.
The kind that could scale stratospheric heights in search for cosmic glory.
That, easily makes JP Erram a colorful success story and a great inspiration to many.
Wish you more lucks and blessings from heaven above!