Sunday, March 08, 2009

Once upon a time in Polomolok

MY brief sojourn at home reminded me of how time warps in Polomolok, South Cotabato.

In the city, it seems you only have to blink and it’s already 6 p.m.

But back home? An hour seemed like two. You don’t say, “Alas singko na?” Rather you ask, “Alas singko pa?”

It gets so quiet at home at 7 or 8 p.m. that you can hear the dogs bark a kilometer away from the next sitio. Heck, that tone that a truck makes when it’s backing? Well, you can hear it from the other side of the subdivision.

The other day, I checked for news on possible topics for today’s column but after the latest mishap of Philippine sports, I’d rather continue blabbering on my hometown.

The Philippine Olympic Committee going to war against the Phiippine Sports Commission? Forget about it.

Once, when we were playing in the Provincial Meet against our fierce rivals from Koronadal–a rivalry that cost not a few broken limbs, lips and egos–the visiting team brought a whole squad of marines.

It's true. The governor's son was on the other team, and I guess they took our threat, “Bantay lang mo kung makadto mo Polomolok, pamali-an ta gid mo,” seriously that their bodyguards came with camouflage and long firearms.

I have lots of good memories of home. Just the other day, I learned that those who use the tennis court these days are the senior citizens, the people who taught us the sport. That was almost 20 years ago.

We served as their “pulot boys.” We didn't call ourselves ball boys. Anyway, we got to hit our first tennis balls only when they got too tired, and they'd let us borrow their racquets for a few whacks.

It was the same story in football. There was a hierarchy. The older guys were on the field, while kids like us stood behind the goal, ready to chase the next errant shot.

If you're lucky to catch one, you'd get to dribble the ball and kick it back on the field. That was how we learned the sport, but despite that lack of proper training, we managed to do well during competitions, winning the Coke-Go-For-Goal Cotabato title numerous times, while one high school squad once made it to the Adidas Under-19 national finals.

I guess one thing that makes athletes back in our town stand out is that most of us play more than one sport and are also into other things as well. Some of the guys we'd be competing against in sports were the same guys we'd match up with in theprovincial contests for math, physics, chemistry, general sciences and writing.

One school even overdid it. They had almost the same lineup for basketball, baseball, football, tennis and academic contests.

During summer, the plaza would get quite busy and those who couldn't get into a football match would trade their spikes for tennis shoes, or basketball shoes. Or sometimes go barefoot.

All of us also finished our high school studies on time. We don't repeat another year just so we could still play in the Department of Education meet, unlike well..

HOT TOPIC. The POC move may be a hot topic in sports today, but one hot topic during the PAL Interclub was the shower at the hotel were the mediamen were billeted.

I hate hotel rooms, and I especially hate their hot and cold showers. Either you get frozen or you get scalded to death.

When we first tried the shower, we just turned on the hot nozzle, not knowing that you had to turn both hot and cold to get the right mix.

The result?

One sports editor said, “Nisyagit si ____.” He asked what happened, “Init kaayo, mura tag manok nga gi lapwa-an.”
Another said, “Pwede na ta magkape sa shower.”


Enting said...

Reading your article really brings back the old memories of our hometown, I'm from Polomolok as well and still living here. Todays kids are lucky enough to play and learn their favorite sports in a pleasant way( I could say:)). Most of them specially tennis and swimming have their personal coach already and almost well provided with everything they need. I have a flash back on how I learn to play football, it's the same as yours waiting behind the goal, maghulat ug awas nga bola aron maka sipa. Then I have a chance to fill in the lacking team in the field. Running and kicking the ball with my "takong shoes". I do remember the good old Coke-Go-For-Goal days where SLRAP team tops them all.

Mike Limpag said...

Hi Enting, How's Polomolok these days? I played in one of the Coke teams of Slrap. Slrap sad ka? Unsa nga batch? Really missed the way things were...