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Swagger and Filipino athletes

Nick Giongco

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Top Filipino athletes should learn a thing or two on how to conduct themselves while training and competing.

Through the years, typical Filipino athletes, even those who are touted as world-class, tend to be soft-spoken and shy.

Ask them even about the simplest of things, you would likely end up wondering how on earth you will come up with a story.

Here’s a typical convo between a scribe and a Filipino athlete:

Scribe: So how do you see yourself performing this week?

Athlete 1: I will do my best, sir.

Scribe: Uhm… you’ve been a long-time national team member. Do you feel that you will win again since you have been training overseas and have been getting lots of support?

Athlete 1: God-willing, sir. (His right index finger pointing upwards)

Scribe (turning to another athlete): How about you?

Athlete 2: Training was great. But, it’s going to be hard because we feel a lot of pressure performing before hometown fans.

Scribe: First place again?

Athlete 2: I can’t say that. But anything can happen. Depends on the draw.

Scribe: You won the last time and you are the favorite to win your event. Another gold?

Athlete 2: It’s hard to say. I don’t want to predict, but in sports, it is not always about winning but how you play the game. Taking part is already an achievement in itself.

Scribe (looks at the two and stares blankly on his pad and recorder): Okay. Thanks.

So, what seems to be wrong here? The attitude, I guess.

This is precisely one reason why the Philippines has yet to win an Olympic gold all these years.

Winning starts from within.

So, why is Manny Pacquiao great? Again. Attitude.

While Pacquiao doesn’t talk trash, he has provided me countless unforgettable quotes.

One time in San Antonio, Texas, in his first fight with Marco Antonio Barrera in 2003, Pacquiao walked inside the hotel room and looked at his manager Rod Nazario.

Pacquiao asked Nazario, slumped on a chair, why he looked nervous.

Nazario snapped back at him: “You are fighting Barrera, that’s why.”

Pacquiao returned fire: “If Barrera wants, we can fight without gloves.”

Instantly, Nazaro’s face glowed, his fears vanishing into thin air.

Here’s another story, this time in Los Angeles for the Erik Morales rematch in Las Vegas. Pacquiao said: “Morales doesn’t give me the creeps.”

Which brings me to Casimero, who just beat up Ghanaian foe Duke Micah few days ago in the United States.

Asked about Micah’s willingness to slug early, Casimero’s eyes lit up.

“He wanted action so I gave him what he wanted and I felt it would be a waste of time if I allow the fight to last long,” he said.

Addressing Japanese icon Naoya Inoue, Casimero then said: “You scared, you Japanese turtle!”

As you see, Filipino athletes need not to mimic Casimero all the way.

But the sad thing is, Filipino athletes have opted to keep silent and be glad with merely participating.

How many times have we heard them say, “At least I was able to go to the Asian Games or to the Olympics.”

Perhaps, it’s all because we were not brought up to be vocal and boastful.

Mind you, taking something from the mindset of Pacquiao and Casimero will go a long way. It builds up confidence, something that fires you up into reaching a goal.

Many of those who barely say a word are often the vanquished, the guy who gets knocked out and the poor chap whose only time to sweat is during the round robin.

It’s rather heartbreaking to keep on hearing them sound as if they are competing in a beauty pageant.

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