Panes: Enslaved by the game-A A +A
By Joel Panes
Monday, June 16, 2014
THE world of sports is being treated to a buffet of events in this time of year. The World Cup 2014, soccer’s most important event is being played in Brazil. In the National Hockey League, the Los Angeles Kings were crowned as the new champions but in this town where it can be cold but not cold enough to make Burnham Lake ice hard enough for skating and hockey, chances are many would say, “What’s hockey?”
Just in case the name Michael Martinez crosses your mind and you might be tempted to make an allusion, please don’t say it out to your neighbour. Michael Martinez? Really? As baseball and cricket is not the same though they are played with bats and balls, so is figure skating not hockey even if these are commonly played with skates and on ice.
Anyway, the borderless Lakers’ barangay in this WHO-declared polluted town which angst subsided when Kobe Bryant’s was saddled by injury could only wish the Los Angeles team that won the championship had been the Lakers. And speaking of the NBA Finals, this basketball-infatuated republic is being captivated to a good championship series by two returning finalists from last year. The San Antonio Spurs lead the series 3 wins to 1 loss and with game 5 to be played hours away while this article is being completed.
Expert panellists and self-appointed street prophets have pre-empted the results of the 2014 NBA Finals to the Greg Popovich-coached squad but it would also confound many friends and polarize many friends on the west side of the mountain if the youthful Eric Spoelstra, Lebron James and the two time defending NBA champions Miami Heat 15 engineer a comeback from the weight of trailing behind the virtuoso like act of the San Antonio Spurs. By the end of this column, the post script will show the results (which I assume is already known).
In ancient Rome, the games became an opportunity for the public to express themselves at a time of political repression and curtailment of civil rights. Cicero, an eloquent Roman philosopher saw it as a venue through which the popular will of the people may be exhaled. Political figures present in the arena may succumb to or go against the grain of the public’s demand for clemency or execution of a fallen gladiator.
Furthermore he declares that one should entrust yourself to the games.
That Rome where Caesars ruled was destroyed thousands of years ago. The brutality and carnage which characterized the ancient games are now absent in today’s gymnasiums but the spirit that was Rome is still upon us. Today, team owners and their organizations are now modern day Caesars. They spend top dollar to design and beef their teams in order to please and satisfy their paying patrons. For this cause, they rule. In being defeated, they suffer decline in patronage.
As regards the watching populace whether personally or digitally present, their expression true to Cicero’s observation are still without caps or limits. Cicero was right. To the games, we have unconsciously entrusted ourselves. Humanity by itself has not really evolved. Yes, Rome fell eons ago and our apparel has changed but we are intrinsically still the same.
Yes, we still need to exhale and release our pent up emotions. The games have become truly become too many a way to unload compounded stress and frustrations whether personal or frustrations. Shouting from the mountain tops have not become enough.
In this part of our world where because of a perceived geographic naïveté, crafty minds have cleverly pushed mediocrity as the new excellence but instinctively, the inner human spirit is not always deceived.
The mind may buy the rhetoric and the eyes may be enamoured by the glitter of the presentation but innately the heart knows and still craves for something as sublime and pure as itself.
For the moment, the sheer excellence of the games commands many of the same kind to assemble and feast upon it. That notwithstanding, this is only a temporal meal for the hungry eternal heart.
Congratulations to the San Antonio Spurs.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 17, 2014.