LAST SUNDAY at 6 a.m., I stood alongside 3,000 college students wearing green jogging pants and white T-shirts marked “USC.” I stretched, jogged in place, chatted with Andrew Jimenez (my buddy from the Rotary Club of Cebu West), then stood in line ready to join the University of San Carlos (USC) Power Run. When Fr. Vic Uy, the school’s Vice-President for Finance, pulled the trigger to start the stampede, thousands of rubber shoes pounded the asphalt.
I ran the 10K. The route started at the Provincial Capitol, traveled straight down Osmena Blvd., weaved through Gen. Maxilom and Gorordo avenues, cut through the middle of the Cebu Business Park, traversed along Juan Luna Ave., then pedaled the same route back to the Capitol end line.
Sweat drenched my sleeveless shirt. My shorts felt as wet as swimming trunks. My heart pumped 160 beats per 60 seconds. In the end, after 56 minutes and 46 seconds of running, I crossed the mark with the big banner at the top that said: FINISH.
I DO DRUGS. When my temperature rises to 38.6, I open this tablet called Biogesic. When my nose drips, Neozep slides down my throat and, when I cough, Robitussin is mixed in my system.
I do drugs. You do drugs. Everybody does drugs. Imagine a world without Rose Pharmacy? Hospitals without dextrose? Tempra or Bioflu unavailable? Without drugs, the life expectancy of the earth’s 6.6 billion inhabitants will crumble from the current 67 years old (77 for Americans), to what, 48 years old?
Drugs is good. But, like many things good, drugs can be bad. Take the case of “doping” or performance-enhancing drugs…
Remember Ben Johnson and the 1988 Olympics? His rivalry with Carl Lewis on the 100-meter stage was one of history’s most anticipated. Ben Johnson beat Lewis, won gold, broke the Olympic record, broke the world record with a 9.79 time and… broke the news that he injected steroids.
Remember Mark McGwire? He’s the Major League Baseball star who slugged 70 homeruns in 1998. He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Every 9-year-old boy in America wanted to be like “Big Mac.” Well, guess what: Two years ago at a U.S. Congressional hearing, he said, “I’m not here to talk about the past…” His silence meant a guilty plea.
Remember Marion Jones, the winner of five medals at the 2000 Olympics? Tim Montgomery, the former 100-meter record holder? Justin Gatlin, the Athens Olympics champion who, exactly a year ago, was stripped of his world-record because he failed a lab test?
If you’ve ever been to Hong Kong, one question that will pop to mind after you land and hours after you stare at all the residents there is this: “How come there are no fat people here!?”
It’s true. In Hong Kong, their people are lean, slim, slender, svelte, sexy; they possess flat stomachs, 30-inch waistlines, and are nowhere near the obesity nightmare in the United States.
How bad is obesity in America? About 31 percent (or 59 million) are obese—which is defined as roughly 30 or more lbs. over a healthy weight. And—here’s the more shocking figure—almost 65 percent of Americans are either obese or overweight… defined as 10 to 30 lbs. over a healthy weight.
Hong Kong? Is there a statistic for under-weight?
Last week, for four days, I was in Hong Kong. I observed. I gazed at our Chinese neighbors. And here’s my conclusion: Hong Kong residents don’t walk. They never do. They run. They sprint. They rush from Point A to Point F to Point Q. The men? They walk faster than a robot being chased by a Doberman. The women? They clip their bags on their hips, press Start, and zoom!
More than 30 years ago in Cebu, a small group of businessmen and professionals huddled together. Among them were the Aboitizes and Ugartes. They played basketball. They dribbled, passed, sprinted down the parquet floor, jump-shot, laughed and high-fived. They had fun.
We ought to do this more often, they said. They did. We ought to invite other executives to join us. They did. We ought to make a tournament, a league, move to a larger venue, bring more players. And, they asked, why not invite friends from other cities? They did. That was over three decades back. Those were the 1970s. The era of Bee Gees and basketball shoes named Adidas Pro-Model.
Fast forward to today, July 22. Exactly one month, one week, one day from today—August 30, 2007—this event which started as a basketball shoot-out among friends is back. It’s back home in Cebu.
Who said Manny Pacquiao was fighting Marco Antonio Barrera on October 6 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas?
Much earlier than that, Pacquiao is fighting Morales. Yes, Morales. Haven’t you read the news? The prize money isn’t the reported $5 million Pacman is due to receive against Barrera. It’s over a car. Nope. Not just any car. It’s a Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Wow. That’s no ordinary machine. It’s an SUV that retails in the U.S. for $93,700. Computed in pesos, that’s P4.872 million.
But wait, it’s not Erik Morales whom Manny’s fighting. This Morales is first-named Napoleon and he’s no boxer. His championship belt? His title? Customs Commissioner.
Here’s what happened: Last July 2006, after his successful third-round knockout of Erik Morales, Manny imported the Porsche. He tapped a broker to process the entry. The Porsche left the docks of California and traveled the Pacific Ocean before landing in Manila. At the Customs port, after negotiations, the SUV stepped outside the gated walls and unto the streets of Manila.
Manny Pacquiao smiled. His Porsche had arrived “home.”
My all-time favorite tennis star, Pete Sampras, was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame yesterday. In my mind, Sampras was tennis’ Greatest Ever. (That is, until the Swiss master surpasses his 14 major titles and wins the French Open…) I got the chance to see Sampras in person during the 1999 U.S. Open. It was at the Arthur Ashe Fans’ Day, held two days before the event. Unfortunately, the day after, Sampras got injured during practice—and so I never saw him play an actual match.
Dan Mastous, my buddy from the U.S. who’s been to Cebu a few times, was at the Hall of Fame ceremony and he e-mailed me a detailed look at what happened. (All these photos were also taken by Dan.) Take note that apart from Sampras, three others were inducted, including Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario. Here’s Dan “reporting live from the Newport Casino in Newport, Rhode Island…”
I don’t know how to dance. My version of the Cha-Cha is like Optimus Prime of the Transformers moving two steps forward then sliding two steps backward. I’m stiff. My bones act like chopsticks. They’re not flexible like spaghetti.But this I do know: I love watching dancers strut. To be more precise, I love watching our DanceSport Team Cebu City performers dance.
Two years ago at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games held at the Waterfront, I stood on a high chair and gazed at our Cebuano dancers tap, skip, foxtrot and waltz their way to gold medals. Wasn’t that a proud moment?
THE VERY FIRST MEETING of the new Cebu City Sports Commission: (from right) Dr. Danny Villadolid, Gene Faelnar, Rolly Diorico, Alex Pacquiao, John Pages, Councilor Yayoy Alcoseba, Nimrod Quinones, Councilor Jack Jakosalem, Councilor Gerry Carillo, Dennis Reyes, and a representative of Councilor Joey Daluz.
We talked about Barangay sports. We tackled the resurfacing problem at the Cebu City Sports Center. We vowed to organize a September 9 Half-Marathon Run. We ate the sumptuous feast offered by Yayoy’s Grill. We smiled. We agreed to hold a planning session to map out the city’s sports development for the next three years. We’re all bound by the same love and passion: CEBU SPORTS.
Football has the World Cup. Basketball owns the NBA Finals. The NFL has the Super Bowl. Boxing features Manny vs. Erik. The 100-meter dash will be held at next year’s Beijing Olympics. Golf: The Masters. Tennis? Last week’s Wimbledon. Every single sporting spectacle has that one solitary event when all the world’s 6.6 billion eyes are glued and when all the athletes’ muscles are flexed.
Cycling? It’s happening now. It’s 21 days. It’s 3,553.9 kms. It’s 189 men in helmets and skin-tight shorts. It started in London and will end in Paris. It is, in my mind, the most grueling activity ever invented by man.
This isn’t about sports. Some will find it corny. Some will stop it after 35 seconds. But it’s funny. Real funny. And the lyrics are perfect. It’s unique. It’s a video song about this gadget that’s been hyped about and drooled over and salivated at from the moment Steve Jobs first raised his hand to show it to his fellow earthlings… the iPhone. Watch this self-made video by one of the world’s top technology writers, from the New York Times… David Pogue.