I took up football in Grade School, but I never saw it as something I could play at a varsity level, or even something I’d be playing for fun in college or beyond. My football career ended when I was eight. Whenever we saw our peers in the Football varsity, we often thought of their futures, and how they were not as lucrative as those in the Basketball varsity. After all, in a country that worships the basketball gods no matter how hopelessly high-placed their altars are, what place do dreams of victories on fields have?
Yet today, as the Rizal Memorial Field’s beautiful reconstruction, the fans drenched to their underwear, and the international presence have proven, many dreams have come true, and are about to come true.
Today, more than at any point in our history, a kid can pick up a football and not be looked down on by the guys who, for some reason, feel more macho about playing basketball. Today, more than ever, kids who dare who take to the field more than to the court because they understand that on the field height does not matter, will find hope and solace that a country will be standing behind them. Today, more than ever, the Philippines has found other ways to express its pride, more than competing in a game clearly not designed for its people.
Today, we saw it all coming together on centerfield: the players’ great skill, marketing, financing, and very marketable players (come on. Don’t tell me their being handsome had nothing to do with it), and a crowd that is embracing a sport the whole world has long been madly in love with.
We have a long, long way to go from our side to the goal on the other end, but hey – now that goal is in our field of dreams.