Fair Play: An unfortunate death

MINUTES into the World Cup final, I still hadn’t decided which team to choose. I was in a room full of Spanish supporters, so I thought, what the heck, I’d go Orange.

That lasted until just about the first yellow card Holland got, and Spain’s supporters grew by one in the finals.


Holland played so rough in the finals the commentators were losing count of the number of cards the ref was issuing. There was even a kick to the chest to a Spanish player that should have earned a straight red, but Netherlands got a lucky break.

But eventually, karma struck.

A free kick that hit the Spanish wall in the dying minutes of extra time was called a goalkick instead of a corner and in the next play the Spanish commentators went Iniesta…INIESTA??? IIIINNNNNIIEEESTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!! (Check the clip on Youtube, it’s quite funny).

While Iniesta ran to celebrate, keeper Iker Casillas was in tears. Heck, he was still crying when play resumed and I remember one commentator trying to remind him there’s still a few minutes left.

The tears are understandable. Long regarded for having the best league in the world, Spain was never a powerhouse in the World Cup. It was such a puzzling trait that Time magazine even carried a story that blamed politics as the reason Spain has always underachieved in the world stage during their World Cup special last May.

Players from Barcelona, which is part of an area that is trying to cede from Spain, supposedly didn’t play with the same passion for the flag as they did for their club.

But not anymore.

The European champion is now the world champion (again, the real kind, not the American version) and the divisiveness that seemed to plague the team in previous World Cups is gone.

Spain has tasted success and I don’t think it’s going to stop at having just one star in its uniform.

Spain lost its first game, against Switzerland (I wonder if Roger and Rafa watched the match together in Wimbledon?) but won its next two Group H matches to take the top spot and won by just a goal in all its knockout matches, 1-0.

I think the future looks even brighter for Spain in Euro 2012.

Too bad, though, Paul won’t be there. The octopus, who some say is now the unofficial king of Spain, is six months shy of reaching the average lifespan of his brethren.

But it’s going to be quite a final push for Paul. According to British newspapers, an endorsement deal from Paul could earn the octopus as much as P193 million a pop.

That ain’t bad.

RUNNER’S DEATH. Organizers of the Energizer Night Race worked hard to make their event unique and memorable.

They held it at night and even thought of turning off the street lights.

Well, they got what they wanted. Their event is memorable and unique since it was the first time somebody died in a running-related incident in Cebu.

It was an unfortunate death that shouldn’t have happened and should not happen again.

It should also serve as a wakeup call for organizers, runners and the medics.

In the stories that came out after Alexander Ladero Jr.’s death, it was revealed the runner was one of those folks who, despite the odds life threw at him, fought on.

He was no quitter, just like the beneficiaries of last Saturday’s Energizer Night Race.

I hope Energizer won’t forget him. I hope organizers won’t wish that this incident gets buried and forgotten.

I hope, before they even think of the next edition, they can offer more to the Landero family than just their sympathies.

I hope safety, not marketing, will be their focus next year.

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