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Football appropriate sport for Pinoys

Strange but true. People, including priests and religious, had been pitting retired Pope Benedict, a German, against Pope Francis, an Argentinian, in the just concluded World Cup.

Some added that the championship is between the First World (Europe) and the Third World (South America). Of course, we now know the outcome of the game.

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Strange but true, too. Catholics have two living popes. Although retired, Pope Benedict is still a pope.

Most Filipinos don’t appreciate soccer as much as their favorite basketball. The just-concluded World Cup never aroused the Filipinos’ interest as much as our neighboring Asian and African countries.

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For instance, here in Christ the King Seminary, Quezon City, we have Indonesian, Malaysian, and African student-priests, residing in our SVD house. During the football matches, held past 12 midnight, especially last Monday’s finals, they took pains getting up just to watch the games.

A Misa de Gallo of sorts!

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Basketball is the Filipinos’ sports craze. Just why it is remains a mystery to me. Probably, it’s because basketball is played faster and easier to score; hence, more exciting to watch than football.

The problem, however, is basketball is a game of height, and that’s one reason why we have to import Fil-Ams and naturalize tall foreign players to beef up our teams.

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Filipinos are cut out for soccer because the game does not require height and Filipinos are good in kicking and running – including running away with public funds!

Anyway, the good news is that our sports officials are now developing soccer football, as evident by the emergence of the national team Azkals.

They have been competing against teams outside the country and happily, are winning and succeeding by leaps and bounds.

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I remember what MVP – Manuel V. Pangilinan – a sports patron, whom I highly admire for his all-out support to Philippine sports, once said to this effect: “Let’s not get discouraged developing sports in the country. In order to attain excellence, we have to build up patiently our teams chip by chip, block by block… If we have a negative and defeatist attitude, we will never succeed.”

Bravo, MVP! Well said.

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Soccer is the most popular sport in the whole world. One of the reasons is it’s not just a pastime or entertainment but immensely more a national obsession and passion. To win the World Cup is a national pride, wildly celebrated more than a New Year’s Day by the whole country; but losing is national disgrace followed by days of mourning. Look what happened to Brazil.

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Speaking about losing, recall how Colombia lost to the USA in 1996 World Cup? A Colombian player mistakenly kicked the ball into the opponents’ goal which gave USA a 2-1 victory.

That’s not the end. When that player returned home and came out of the airport, he was shot fatally by a sneaky gunman! So, playing soccer poorly is dangerous to life.

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ST. JUDE TODAY. Got a problem with money, studies, sickness, or finding a right spouse? Pray to St. Jude, Saint of the Impossible.

Today, Thursday, join our novena to St. Jude at the Divine Word Shrine, Christ the King Seminary Compound, on E. Rodriguez Boulevard, QC, after the 6 p.m. Mass. A healing pray-over will follow.