May 14, 2006


a few days ago, i found my old high school basketball coach's friendster profile. i had mentioned not really being an avid fan of friendster, but for some reason, i remembered him and i logged on to friendster with the specific purpose of reconnecting with my not-so-recent basketball past.

as expected, he is connected to most of the people from team bene -- old teammates, and somewhat familiar faces i had only been able to play basketball with for a few months. well, looking at the sorry state of my body and health as of press time (yes), i must say i really really miss training for two-and-a-half hours three times a week under that guy.

i think i've had this on again-off again love affair with basketball all my life (hah sounds familiar) -- from street basketball games with the boys on our street to training for team bene in high school, to taking up basketball as a pe subject in college.

looking back, i'm thinking how i actually don't know why coach had taken me in for training in the first place. but then again, i guess this is just me, now 21, seeing my 14-year-old self (jesus, 7 years) in an oversized practice shirt and basketball shorts. it's just that... thinking about it, i can't believe i had the guts to join the team, much less attend the try-outs in second year. i mean. wow. (that must have been something i lost along the way, huh.)

i remember the first time i scored 10 points in a game. *giggles inwardly* i think that was the last day of the tryouts. it was important because i didn't really *score*, you know -- much less, launch any attempt to shoot -- but i guess it's mostly because i was told to play the 1 position, which meant that my job was to dribble and pass and not shoot.

after that last try-out night, i wasn't really expecting to pass or anything. but then, i got called to train, and suddenly i had a fixed, formal, regular exercise regimen -- something i will not be able to fully grasp the inherent importance of until seven years later.

don't get me wrong -- i played horribly. i was this fumbling, easily agitated, running bundle of unprotected nerves handling a seemingly greasy basketball. seriously.

i only memorized ONE play, which is "motion". if i remember it right, a "play" is a strategy of sorts in basketball. as point guard, once everybody's settled in their respective positions, sometimes coach asks me to call a play. calling for 'motion' involves the right forefinger and making a circle in the air, not at all unlike that portion of the UST cheer. hehe. so there. i remember, the wingmen pop out and i make a pass to either one of them, the one who doesn't get the pass cuts through the middle... okay, this is getting a little too dorky, isn't it?

anyway. yes, so i only remember that play, and my role in the full-court press -- on the defense. however, despite all those repetitive drills on the breaking a full-court press, i still get pressured and well, i lose the ball, like, 75 percent of the time.

i had contemplated a lot about quitting the team -- especially when i'm tired during practice and it wasn't time for water break yet. in my mind, i had tried to justify to myself i would just concentrate on my academics. but then, the class valedictorian and my good friend janina millan was also on the team with me (she played center girl) so it wasn't really a very good reason, was it. so i stayed on the team, and unbeknownst to my non-self-conscious self, i was actually doing my body a big favor.

i failed to make it to Team A (the primary team) even as i was already in 4th year, when i failed to train for the whole summer of 2000 because i attended the five-week AJSS summer seminar. i remember coach jayen telling me, had i not skipped training that summer, i would've made it to Team A. the thought mortified me -- Team A was for the good ones, and ajss or no, i was almost sure i didn't have what it takes to make it there. oh well. i guess i'll never know now, would i.

so i stayed with Team B, with the young ones, with whom i had loads of fun with, playing (and making a gigantic ass of myself) in the WBL. heh. coach loved both teams equally, but i think he loved us more since he punished Team A more often with extra rounds around the court (hehe) so thank god for not making it to Team A. heh. anyway.

although we didn't really get to hang out that much, coach and i -- he was closer to those in Team A, they've been together for a longer while, and i guess they hung out a lot after practice, whereas i went home with my father immediately -- i think i'll be eternally grateful to him for taking me in and somewhat believing that i could be something close to a decent basketball player. high school was full of issues, and i guess having this strenuous physical outlet was important in diffusing a lot of them.

asan na kaya si coach? the last time na nagkita kami, sabi niya gagawin na niya akong bola. haha. ang taba ko raw kasi -- true.

btw. playing basketball as a smoker is a BITCH -- remember i took it as a pe in the summer of 2003? damn. but man, was that fun. :) i mean, it's always fun playing with a few girls who were only there because "yun ang binigay ng CRS" heheh. which meant girls running around avoiding the basketball whenever it is hurled their way. hehe. good times.