The Olympic gold will forever remain elusive not only until go-vernment decides to finally put a stop to the perennial meagre support for Filipino athletes but also until we as a people begin to realize that victory truly is what is described in sports as the triumph of the human spirit and, collectively, the triumph of the entire nation. Our inability for so many years to produce a medal in the Olympics is a reflection not only of government’s lack of concern for sports but also of the alarming and growing pervasiveness in the Filipino culture of an almost blatant disregard for excellence, a seeming contentment in mediocrity, an indication of the deeply rooted cultural defect for wishy-washy effort, of “pwede na yan” or “bahala na” attitude.
At times like this when everyone is saddened by the defeat of a countryman, I cannot help but remember an almost similar occurrence of personal dejection. It was the day when my fraternity brod Edrin Dapudong was to leave for California to defend his WBO World title against a Mexican opponent. Edrin had one very simple request, so simple that I am always moved to tears whenever I recall what it was. All he wanted was a jacket which he could bring with him for the trip with the word “Philippines” inscribed on it.
We cannot forever bask in the glory of Pambansang Kamao Man-ny Pacquiao who is soon retiring his gloves. Yes, poverty may be a reason why even the best undiscovered individual players could not compete in sports, but it is the responsibility of government to discover and support them. Government cannot all the time rely on the private sector to provide for the needs of its national players. It should take the lead in discovering and nurturing them.