Saturday, May 07, 2011

Fair Play: Thank god for the fools in the UFL

A FEW years ago, I received an e-mail regarding the formation of a new group, Football Alliance, set to oversee a new football league—the UFL. If I remember it right, the founders, according to that e-mail, wanted to raise the bar of Philippine football and were even prepared to defy the PFF.

The founders were former football players who have risen through the ranks, or who have made a tidy sum and were willing to spend it for Philippine football.


I really can’t recall much of the group’s origin but I clearly remember my reaction.

“Good luck!” I said and promptly ignored the e-mail, half-expecting the UFL would go the way of the Filipino Premier League.

It was about that time when my disgust for Philippine football politics reached a new low, when that anomalous Filipino Premier League came to be and no one, it seems, raised a howl.

That league was put up solely so the then PFF president could tell Sepp Blatter, “Hey, the Philippines has a league,” when he visited the country and you-know-who got a $500,000-grant.

Months after that, I all but forgot about the UFL—and Philippine football for that matter--while I pretended to be a runner and wrote about basketball, tennis, running, Maria Sharapova, boxing, Maria Sharapova’s grunts, billiards, golf, Maria Sharapova’s face, the NBA, Kobe Bryant, Maria Sharpova’s legs and schizophrenic editors in a column named “Fair Play.”

And, months later, when I read about a UFL update—in a paid ad that was pretending to be an article—I shook my head and smiled.

“My god those fools pushed through with it.”

I remember spending a few minutes reading and rereading that article and admiring the audacity of the UFL for going against the sports media establishment.

That paid ad showed how serious the UFL founders were. And I think, I was only one of a few who were impressed that they decided to go for a paid ad, instead of going through the whole old-boy-network of Philippine sports media.

I hoped, then, that the fools running the UFL wouldn’t lose hope, as I had, with Philippine football.

Thankfully, they didn’t.

And as of now, the UFL is the only league in town and it deserves all the support the fans can give.

Yes, it’s just a Manila-based league but before we shoot for the stars, let’s aim for the moon, first.

The UFL, if you’re a Pinoy football fan, should be one of the things you support.

These guys risked it all when supporting Philippine football was as profitable a venture as betting your life savings on Ricky Hatton against Manny Pacquiao. (Or the boxer against Darlene Antonino for that matter.)

These days, when anything Pinoy football gets in the news, I have gotten more updates on the UFL—through Twitter, Facebook, Studio 23 and Balls TV, and even an ad, which on one occasion, was published next to an actual report (submitted by a reporter, not through the old-boys-PR-network).

Now, I support three UFL teams; Air Force because of Yanti Barsales, Global Smartmatic because of Paolo Pascual and Dan Palami and Kaya FC because of Aly Borromeo and because I saw them play six years ago in the Alaska Cup.

I try to catch up as much as I can with ULF updates, and I try to convince folks—and you should, too—to watch the UFL games if they can—because this league deserves our support.

I hope the UFL will thrive. The Azkals have raised Philippine football to a level we never dreamed of, and a lot of kids are taking up the sport. I hope that these kids, when asked about their dreams, will quickly say, “I want to play in the UFL” in the same way the basketball kids say, “I want to play in the PBA.”

I also hope to, one day, watch a UFL match, live. And if I get the chance, I’ll ask the UFL founders, “What were you crazies thinking?”

3 comments:

monchu garcia said...

Mike,

Thanks for this article. I've never been happier being called a FOOL! :) I guess we are alike... Crazy for Football! I've played this great sport all my life and i only wish that all Pinoys get to enjoy "the beautiful game", just like the rest of the world does. THank you for your support and more power to you!

Monchu

KayaFC said...

Great read! Hopefully one day you'll be able to watch us play live. :)

Mike Limpag said...

Hi Monchu Garcia,
Thanks for dropping by. Yep, we're both fooball fools, but the difference is, you guys in the UFL are making a difference. (by the way, what's your e-mail ad? Mine is mikelimpag@gmail.com. Let's talk some more about the birth of the UFL..)

To Kaya FC. Thanks for the nice words. I hope to see you play too and I'm hoping it will be later this year. By the way, what's the reason behind the name Kaya? Is it an acronym? Or is it like Kaya as in, Kaya natin to?" Just curious.