No Respect

You see comments like these on the ‘net all the time, and for the most part its harmless, right? I mean it’s just some idiot ranting on and besides, he’s entitled to that. If he feels that way, after much thorough research and study I’m sure, then that’s that.

Then I read Chris Tiu’s blog the other day, re the time they played the NBA Selection a few weeks ago:

And I started to wonder, what do I really feel about the hating, the negativity, the propensity to dissuade instead of support? Thinking out loud:

The Esoteric PBA – I remember at least one incident of booing when I watched Gilas play in the PBA quite a while back. My memory fails me as to exactly why, but I remember at least that the PBA wasn’t very welcoming of them with the teams they played against either playing them too roughly or did not even bother to field their better players. It reinforced my opinion of the PBA now, which is this disconnected, uncommunicative world of closed conference rooms where they decide amongst themselves how basketball should or should not be played, which teams gets which players, and yes, which teams gets to win conferences at any given, pre – arranged time.

It’s big business in the mold of showbiz, where great drama is created and a show is produced for the goal of making money for its participating members. There is as little connection to basketball and its concepts of ‘fairness’ as there is to a Regal or Viva films production and real life. Like a movie is influenced by real life to produce a drama, the PBA draws from basketball, but that’s as far as it goes. The results from thereon are controlled by them.

And the thing is, I feel its fans know this and strangely, have come to accept it. The remaining fans of the PBA to me are those who pursue individual players, and not fans of the game per se, which is a direct result of removing any expectations from teams. Fans of basketball expect teams that play the game well to be the winning teams. Once they see this does not happen, they lose interest, and they have long lost interest. I cannot name a single person who follows the PBA for its style of basketball whatever that might be. Instead they blindly follow good looking players branded as ‘heroes’ and in the case of Ginebra, some wistful attempt to hold on to a colorful past that has long gone.

Gilas was therefore an interloper into this strange, closed world. It introduced a concept long forgotten by the PBA and its fans, which was that basketball was a sport and whoever played it best tends to win, a strange and novel idea. That made the teams hate them. It also introduced the idea to fans that their favorite teams might lose. That made the fans hate them. Hence, the boos.

Sorry – Yeah of course I feel sorry for Gilas and by that I mean Tiu’s and everyone else’s efforts on that team. They’re not doing this for charity of course. To many of them, especially those who do not have much of a chance getting top dollar in the PBA, I imagine playing on Smart Gilas is a fairly ok paycheck, so I do not think they’re making ‘sacrifices’ as big as what we’ve learned to expect from previous National Teams.

Nevertheless, hating on your National Team isn’t the same as hating on a commercial team. To me, it’s ok to be truly dense and forget all objectivity in support of your favorite pro team. You really shouldn’t take it too seriously, and just have fun. If for some odd reason you find your heart warmed by a team whose purpose is to sell cellphone load, gin, milk, hotdogs, beer or whatever, and if you feel your loyalty is best expressed by hating* wholeheartedly the players on any team that opposes ‘yours’, then that is entirely your choice. The PBA thrives on intelligent, cultured people like you, and your money spent supporting these activities fuel the economy.

The problem is though, is that the National Team is every Pinoy’s team. They’re supposed to represent all of us, from whichever part of the country you come from, high or low, damp or dry. So hating on your National Team is in effect, hating on yourself, who you are and where you came from. All of us, especially armchair know-it-all basketball critics like myself, always have something to say good or bad about the National Team. But hate it? Never in a million years, not even if they finish dead last. Hating in itself doesn’t make sense, hating your own team is just beyond idiocy.

* – Take note, I make the distinction here between ‘hating’, which is to be vile and spiteful for no logical reason, and ‘booing / criticizing’. It’s ok to boo your National Team if they happen to suck. Any team that doesn’t perform to its expectation deserves to be booed, even if they are on your side. That’s the mark of a true fan of the game.