Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fair Play: Erco ain't a brag, I know

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Aug. 19 edition)
A FEW days ago, I was surprised to read an online post from Erco manager Rodney Orale, who was incensed by insinuations that the team fell flat in the finals after bragging they’d win.

I was surprised; not only because the usually mild-mannered Rodney shares harmless posts on social media, but also by the thought that Erco was bragging it would win the final, because the team didn’t.



I’ve known the BRO in Erco BRO—Keith Buyco, Glen Ramos and Rodney Orale—and bragging isn’t in their system. I’ve known Glen the longest, since 2000, and the only time I heard him brag (sort of) was when we had a few beers and I pestered him endlessly on his experiences as a player in the national team.

He has a lot of wonderful tales of the things he had to go through to get to the national team and the inevitable, “Wala ra na sa una ang mga na-agihan sa mga players ron.”

But isn’t that statement common when folks of an older generation talk about the present generation? I’ve heard senior reporters and editors say something like that, too, when comparing experiences.

Like Glen, Keith—who doesn’t drink—and Rodney are down-to-earth, always with that “kaluoy sa Ginoo, na swertihan,” statement when they win. Always humble, even when achieving the impossible, like what Glenn did with a rookie-laden UC squad in winning the Cesafi.

In a way, I get why Rodney is pissed. It may be a little thing for some but in a sport where fair play is demanded, a team sport at that, bragging has no room and isn’t done. Frankly, I haven’t heard of any football coach or player saying the title is theirs, even if they’d face a five-man squad in an 11-a-side final.

I’ve asked such questions and they always say, “Di gyapun mabal-an, lingin ang bola.”

Variations of that statement can be heard in pre-match interviews in the World Cup, Asian Cup or Olympics, too, because no one really say that you’d win a football final.

Football isn’t boxing, where each boxer, even if he hasn’t scored a knockdown, is expected to predict a knockout.

And the first braggart in a football final in Cebu will be a pariah. Anyone who predicts the title is theirs to lose is one that invites skepticism and scorn from the community for insulting the other team and the game.

No. Erco didn’t brag they’d win the Aboitiz Cup title and the “B,” “R,” and “O” in the team will be the first to give the other a dressing down if any hint of bragging is shown.

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