Friday, August 19, 2011

The Azkals and the Dragon boat team

A year ago, the Dragon Boat team and the Azkals would have given an arm and a leg to get five minutes’ worth of air time, or even 5 MB worth of social networking space.

Now, they don’t have to but along with it comes the ugly stuff.

I don’t know who started it but I think I know why one poster started comparing the achievements of both teams and the team composition.

He or she or he/she doesn’t believe in the Azkals and thinks they are just a bunch of overhyped sports personalities who are only good for snogging movie starlets at the expense of other athletes who work hard for it.

Which is a pity because like the Dragon Boat team, the Azkals had to wade their way through the shit that is Philippine sports politics.

Like the Dragon Boat team, the Azkals had to survive without any support from both the PSC and the POC and even from their affiliated NSA. The football teams pre-2004 even had it worse. One former national team member told me once that in a 2002 event, their equipment arrived after the tournament, when they got home from abroad.

Like the Dragon Boat team, the Azkals had enlisted personnel from the Armed Forces who fight for the flag.

Like the Dragon Boat team, the Azkals finally scored a breakthrough in 2010, and in the process got into the nation’s consciousness. A nation embraced the Azkals for scoring a first in the country’s football history just as this nation is embracing the Dragon Boat team for its remarkable achievement in Florida.

Both teams’ success complement each other and it didn’t come—as the poster wanted it to be—at the expense of each other.

And besides, comparing the Azkals to the Dragon Boat team makes as much sense as saying your neighborhood “lima-lima” legend is better than Lionel Messi because he can score five points in a pick-up game or that your neighborhood volleyball spiker is better than Roger Federer because he can slam it at will.

Comparing the two squads, and pitting the two squads, I think deviates from what both teams’ achievements had made obvious—that despite financial backing and support from their NSA, they have done well. What more could they have achieved if they had the support?

The Azkals’ success helped led to the ouster of the then sitting president of the Philippine Football Federation. The success of the Dragon Boat team has led to questions on how its NSA was not recognized by the POC and how the POC and PSC have erred but those questions have been overshadowed by this unwarranted comparison. (So, who benefits from the comparison?)

Stop comparing the two.

Instead, support the two and the rest of the national squads—and there are many of them—who are seeing action in competitions abroad under the media’s and
social network’s radar.

They are all Filipinos and they all deserve our support.


Arielle said...

Exactly! But I think the problem with a few people is that they just use what's IN to formulate their rants. I wouldn't be surprised if these very same guys will, in the future, diss the Dragon Boat team when attention is finally given to some other sport.

Anonymous said...

1(one) fact about this is that, the problem is not on the team..its on the people around i've seen on the news.the Dragon Boat team is very willing to be supported by this department..the problem is..its the people around them that's making it not possible..