The Kobe Experience Part III – 3 of 5 (Now With Far Better Pics)

Outstanding images courtesy of good friend The Blender, whose photo services I am blatantly plugging and whose other work can be found here and here. I’ll be damned if you can find a better sports photographer imho, in particular with skills that allow him to shoot fast sports action in low light. I first wrote about him here. If you need a photog to shoot a basketball game you’d be an IDIOT to hire anyone else trust me.

So anyway let’s continue our journey, from the Manila Pen we then went straight to Gawad Kalinga at Taguig.

I’ll be silent for a while as you check the pics:


Oh before that though, here’s my pic of Nike Kobe Insider Joseph again, finally getting the chance to handslap his idol after the presscon.

It’s been a week now and he said he’ll never wash his hand again. I believe him.

I can still hear him screaming into his phone ‘MOM I TOUCHED KOBE!!’. This guy is precious.

So anyway back to Gawad Kalinga.

The place was packed as usual with ever venue we go to, and yes they thought our tinted bus had Kobe in it and therefore waved to us like crazy. This is the only time I’ll ever have throngs of strangers waving at us so we in the bus enjoyed our faux fame while it lasted.

I totally lost the press release that had to do with this visit, but from what I gathered it had to do with the Taguig local government revamping a covered basketball court. Yes clearly I’m a pro at this.

And what better colour of course, than LAL purple and gold? It’s just a cement court, but painted with rubberized paint and the hoop and backboards looked new. Back in the day we would kill for a chance to play at a court like this in Mandaluyong. It must be terribly competitive to play in a place like this. This is a real inner city court where true passion for the game thrives and competition is rabid. The kind of place where players vent their frustrations in life on the court and where there’s no such thing as easy layups. Not if these guys have any say about it.

You know who are the real pros though? These guys:

The place was sweltering hot from both the sun and the crowd, and there was no relief in sight for at least an hour. But TJ Manotoc continued his hosting chores to the letter, and Kobe continued to preach his staple formula of never giving up, taking every advantage given you and practice, practice, practice.

I know I might occasionally come across as jaded but I’ll be honest, I love this slogan and I have nothing but respect for people who just do.their.job without complaint, without whining, without entitlement and at all times keeping their eye on the ball. There’s a lot of people in this pic that exemplify this:

Just as in the last time I wrote about it, I hoped that the people who heard his words would take it to heart. It’s easy to dismiss it all as glib and advertising speak, but those factors are really all there is to it if you want to succeed. And by God, seeing the chokingly cramped living situations at GK reminds you of this immediately and quite suddenly.

We only saw the facade of course, but GK is like a hundred thousand other places all over the country. If you live at a place like this, you have GOT to make it your main priority to do well in whatever you do to be able to make better for you and your family. And that means not waiting for handouts, taking stock of your situation, removing all that is unessential to your life and not settling for anything less than reaching your goal.

If there’s anything that sports teaches it’s exactly that. You work on something and you get it. You work even harder and you get more. Success at everything has to do with how much you put in to achieving it. Everything else is just noise. There are no shortcuts.

Dear God if you are out there, I hope they get it. All you ‘sports fans’ out there, please GET IT. Look beyond the superficial, the stupid hating and the incessant self-entitlement. Sports’ purpose is to IMPROVE LIVES. Open your eyes to the big picture.

Whew, ok I guess maybe I went overboard a little there, but I still feel the same nonetheless. That’s what visiting GK and every other depressed area does to me.

Next up, Araneta!