Yesterday, my mobile phone beeped at 1:10 p.m. It was my dad, Bunny, with this text message: “John… your favorite was clobbered by Hantuchova in the 1st set, 6-0… Also, she got broken in the 1st game of the 2nd set… Hope she recovers but it’s a big mismatch thus far…”
The big tennis fan that he is, my dad spoke of the ongoing Australian Open, the year’s first tennis Grand Slam event. The match he described?
Ana Ivanovic vs. Daniela Hantuchova. I quickly devoured what was left on my lunch plate and raced to the TV screen. The score: 6-0, 2-0. In favor of Daniela. I couldn’t believe it. Here I was, predicting an Ana victory, possibly in two easy sets, and here she was losing… the first eight games! Unbelievable. I sat down to watch. Ana won a game, then another, and then one more. The next thing I knew, she won six of the next seven games to snatch the second set, 6-3. We’re in for a fight. In the third set, the match see-sawed until Ana finally broke Daniela at 4-all and went on to win, 6-4.
If you turned on your cable TV set and watched Star Sports from 5 to 7 p.m. last night, you’d be in disbelief, puzzled, scratching your head. Rafael Nadal? The world no.2? The man who hasn’t lost a set at the Oz Open? He’s being clobbered in straight sets by an unknown, unseeded, unheard-of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga?
Among all the women on earth who grip tennis rackets, swing at yellow balls, glide across the rectangle court, serve, volley, smash lobs, and sprint for drop shots, three ladies I find most attractive…..
First, and no need to introduce her, is Ms. MS. You know who she is. She stands 6-foot-2, hails from Russia but calls Florida home now, and, at the 2008 Australian Open, she just defeated the world no.1 Justine Henin in a lopsided score, 6-4, 6-0.
Who else but Maria Sharapova! And who doesn’t find her attractive? Or sexy? My favorite dentist, Dr. Nonito Narvasa, long-married to his beautiful spouse Jency, has also long-nurtured a crush on Maria. Mike Limpag? My sports editor on these pages? Two weeks ago after I wrote about Roger Federer, Mike berated me with the text message, “When are you going to write about my ex-girlfriend, Maria?” Wow. It seems everybody loves Maria. And that, I have to admit, does not exclude me.
How do you convince 1,000 people to converge at 6 a.m. on a Saturday to join a running event?
You ask Meyrick and Perl Jacalan to promote the event. The owners of one of Cebu’s top advertising agencies—ASAP (Advertising Services and Promotions)—this couple helped organize last weekend’s highly-successful Mizuno-Shell Sinulog Half-Marathon. Energetic, young and overflowing with creative ideas, Meyrick and Perl are even more than that: they’re passionate and possess an attitude that says, “Go-Go-Go!” And because of the two, the Sinulog Run convinced big-name companies to sponsor: Mizuno, Shell, Mazda, Burlington, Alcordo Advertising, Holiday Gym and Spa, Cebu Globenet Realty, Activa Kontra Arthritis, and Infinity Colors (among others).
How do you divide the work?
You don’t do it by yourself—but function as a team. Take the president of the Cebu Executive Runners Club (CERC), Jesse Taborada. It wasn’t Jesse alone who spent late nights working to make the Sinulog race a success—but his whole family. I saw for myself how Jesse enlisted that “team-work” spirit with the help of his wife Bebie and their five children: Geigy, Kitty, JJ, Jason and Jon. So when the participants picked up their singlets at Jesse’s family-owned Sug-Angan Restaurant, they were assisted by his six family members who all volunteered. It’s called Family Power.
At 5 a.m. last Saturday (Jan. 19), one prominent doctor wearing shorts and running shoes was clicking his camera to take photos. Enjoy these excellent pre-race pictures taken by one of the prime-movers of the Cebu Executive Runners Club (CERC), Dr. Vic Verallo…
10 minutes and counting…. at the Asiatown I.T. Park starting/finishing line
Vice-Mayor Mike Rama with some final words of motivation
One of the people I admire the most in sports is Graeme Mackinnon. For many years, Graeme lived in this Queen City of the South and built Cebu football to what it is today… one of this land’s most popular sports. Now back in his native Australia, Graeme has been following, of course, the Australian Open. I’ll be writing an article on Graeme and Australia (and why it’s one of the world’s sports superpowers) within the week, but for now, here’s a letter Graeme e-mailed me yesterday….
Well what a night. I succumbed to the sleep deprivation of the nights before at 2am this morning (Sunday) with the game still very much in the balance. The caffeine did not do the trick and the match sticks were not helping. All the dramas could not keep me awake. I was surprised this morning to find that Super Brat had won after 4.30am.
Allow me to brag for today and announce that, just now, I’ve joined the Top 10 runners with the most mileage among the Nike Plus users. This goes for the whole Philippines. In my 30 to 39 age-group bracket, I’m No.3 (below). Since I started uploading my runs last August 12, 2007 (or roughly five months ago), I’ve ran a total of 855.57 kms. On to the next goal of 1,000 kms. before we run 42 kms. at the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon on Feb. 17.
I can’t play the drums. Piano? Ha-ha. Back in high school, my mom enrolled me at Reyco, the famous music school near Junquera, and I lasted exactly TWO sessions. The guitar? Can I strum the guitar? Oh my. The only strumming I know is singing the “Killing Me Softly” song… strumming my pain with his fingers. Did I say “singing?” Don’t laugh but every time I sing, my nine-year-old daughter Jana covers her ears while my wife Jasmin asks, “Are you, uhm, reciting a poem?”
Seriously. I have ZERO musical talent. Same with my dad. And my mom. And my grandparents. My ancestors? I’m sure we’re all the same blood. The lone family member who has music bouncing in his veins?