Mendoza: We’ll get there

THE list of virus victims in the sporting world of 2020 is as long as the Philippine coastline.

Here are but a few:

The Wimbledon, the Vatican of tennis, was scrapped.

The British Open, the Mecca of golf, got ditched.

The Tokyo Olympics, the grandest summer sports spectacle held every four years, was canceled for only the fourth time since the modern Games began on April 6, 1896.

The NBA, the world’s premiere basketball tournament, barely survived the pandemic, retreating into a bubble in Orlando, Florida, where the Los Angeles Lakers won 4-2 over the Miami Heat to end a 10-year title drought.

Interestingly, Kobe Bryant was with Los Angeles when the Lakers last prevailed in 2010, emerging as the Finals’ Most Valuable Player awardee.

Bryant, known as the Black Mamba in his heyday, died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, last Jan. 26, together with his daughter Gianna and seven others.

Was that a trigger of portents to come in 2020—Covid-19 spearheading it?

In their NBA victory celebration on Oct. 12, Lakers star LeBron James and his teammates offered their trophy in memory of Bryant, who ranked alongside Magic Johnson, Jerry West and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, among others, as the greatest from the Los Angeles lair.

Before the win, Finals MVP James led his fellow players in the fight against racial issues, spearheading a “Vote” movement aimed obliquely against Donald Trump’s perceived white supremacist stance and reelection bid. And, as things turned out, Trump lost to Joe Biden — both in the popular polls by more than seven million votes and in the Electoral College voting, 306-232.

Last Nov. 25, Diego Maradona, who is almost co-equal with Pele in world soccer stature, died at age 60 after a heart attack, sparking a global outpouring of grief.

And then Briton Lewis Hamilton, the only Black in the elite sport of Formula One racing, made history by tying the seven F1 victories of German Michael Schumacher.

Closer to home, the PBA hurdled its bubble gambit at Clark, Pampanga, with Ginebra scoring a 4-1 Finals triumph over TNT — raising hopes of staging a bigger, bubble-less season this year a la NBA.

Yes, the virus isn’t totally licked yet. But we’ll get there, if not sooner, a little later. Patience, my dear. The human spirit lives.


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