BASKETBALL PART I
My first love was… basketball.
I remember how often my papa, kuya and I went to Cherry Foodarama to buy a cheap hoop. What could I expect? It was cheap. After a week of playing, not even welding could fix it. And a simple pour of rain can wear away the sign on the plywood board that says “Purefoods”.
We got bigger, obviously. Well, at least my brother did. Papa had this standard-sized basketball hoop made in our garage. Yes, the real thing on a really hard board. Bigger hoop, bigger board and yes, bigger ball!
Then I learned to play ball. It wasn’t as easy as one would think just because I had an easy access to a basketball court, half-court, if I may say so. I rarely won a game on that court. After all, I played against my papa, my kuya and my ate and they were giants to me then. (Now, they are just ‘taller’ than me.)
When I was in grade school, I loved volleyball but it never loved me back. I also competed in track and field during seventh grade but I never really enjoyed running under the scorching heat regardless if I had a competition in La Salle Greenhills (cuties!!) or Camp Crame (uhh..). And I didn’t even consider playing softball because I never liked the feeling of sweating hands inside a thick, leather mit. I can even be mistaken for a softball bat back then if you knew how the typical softball player looked like. I’m sure you know. Lawn tennis, table tennis, swimming, chess? Ehem. I was born to win, not to lose. So I scrapped those out.
Sadly, there was no basketball varsity in my high school. I would’ve loved training everyday for that. So everything I learned from that half-court, I never really used… until I stepped into college.
And although it was just intercollegiate basketball and not the UAAP thing, it was competitive enough. I loved wearing my Duke styled uniform. I loved running in my basketball shoes that my papa generously sponsored every season. I loved playing with my teammates who had big talents, even bigger hearts. I loved ignoring trash talks. Yes, I said ignoring. I loved the cheering, taunting and screaming of the crowd. And I loved how we filled-up the gym in a matter of 5 minutes when people see us come in, not wanting to miss even the jump ball because player #7 does that for us. Charlene Bonnin. Whose name on her jersey says “Gonzales” and whose name on her marriage certificate now says “Muhlach”.
We never captured the championship though. But basketball captured me. in so many ways. in weird ways that sometimes, i have the tendency to associate whatever that goes on in my life with basketball... haha. weird, huh? yeah. i'll tell you about those in Basketball Part II.