Friday, May 30, 2008

Bad at Being a Laggard

Whenever I read Harry Potter, I never seem to notice how many pages I’ve turned unless I feel the smooth coated paperback against my fingers. But if I read novels other than Rowling, I seem to be counting words rather than reading. The next chapter would always come as a relief, it only means that I’m about to finish the story. And I just told myself, a lot has changed.

Humans have this innate behavior of being apathetic lest change is immediate and strikes at once. If the dynamics have a sudden crucial and threatening repercussion, that’s when people have haste with their actions.

Everything has been gradual for me. That I just let things pass me by—day in, day out. Nostalgia occupied my head earlier, it felt like yesterday that the Advocate was having an election for Editorial Board positions and just earlier, I was taking an exam for Executive Board positions. There were a lot of changes within a matter of two years. The most drastic however, are the people whom I’ve met and worked with.

Two days ago, one of my friends surprised me. I gasped when she broke the news and immediately, I know what she had gone through and will be going through. I’ve seen it before, I saw it again and I will see it once more—enough to last a lifetime.

Yesterday, we went to the printing press for the paper’s proofing. After spending roughly five hours I got home just before midnight. Declaring this day as a day-off, it made me realize that I don’t know how to spend the day without thinking about the paper or doing something involving the FEU Advocate. In proof, I just sent out a message about our schedule for next week. That’s when it hit me. Not just with the Advocate, not just with my academics, but more than that. The feeling is vague and rather indescribable. 

I don’t even know how to end this post—but I surely am out of words. Notice how unmapped and rather scattered my thoughts are? That’s what I become when I don’t have anything to do—I’m a very bad laggard. Not that it’s good to be one..


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Volleyball coverage

I just came home from The Arena at San Juan City. I covered the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) vs. Far Eastern University (FEU) game in the Shakey’s V League. This is my first time to actually bring a notebook and jot down every minute detail that’s worth mentioning in an article. Instead of howling, screaming and cheering along the crowd, I was taking down notes! (as if I don’t have enough of that during lectures)

FEU’s performance during the match was neither high caliber nor weak. When I first watched the Lady Tams play back when I was still in high school, and still playing as an open/quick spiker for the Doves, their weakness was lack of variation with their offense.

I recall Rachel Ann Daquis unleashing strong wallops against De La Salle University (DLSU) but the Archers remain undaunted despite vigorous attemts. Aside from the fact that the Archers’ line-up then was very strong, FEU’s play was too readable. The play executed by the younger Daquis was consistent—too consistent. Her spikes were strong but the problem was the predictable trajectory, making it easy for the opponent establish a prepared reception. This is the prime reason why she was shadowed by the likes of Balse, Carolino and even Pimentel back then.

Pimentel, on the other hand, is a cross-court spiker. Given her height she usually spikes above the block formed by her opponents. During the early half of the V League, Pimentel was unstoppable. However, after the preliminaries, DLSU put an end to Pimentel’s reign. It was when the three-man block of Carolino, Saet and Hernandez was formed. Carolino being a high jumper was the most effective blocker against Pimentel’s height. This reduced the over-the-block spikes from the tigress. Cross-court spikes has one special attribute that open spikes don’t have, it’s the ball's side rotation. Since cross-court’s are most often hit on the side, the ball has a different rotation which provides a side-track bounce after hitting a block. This was Pimentel’s foundation and the prime point collector for UST. DLSU’s answer to that were Saet and Hernandez who were usually alongside high-jumper Carolino. With the three’s high percentage of blocking Pimentel, the cross-court pointer was reduced or rather nulled. And the three was tagged as La Salle’s Great Wall of China.

Balse’s spikes have evident follow-throughs. This is the closing of the fingers after the palm hits the ball. This style provides the down direction of the tri-colored ball. Balse’s follow-throughs were just flawless. She was the only one who was able to break the strong block of Laborte, then Philppine Sports Commission team, and of Saet, Hernandez, and Carolino of DLSU. Balse was unquestionably Carolino’s rival during that season. If Carolino’s spikes are fast, hers was strong. Carolino was also a hard hitter but Balse’s strength is of higher grade. With Pimentel unable to break La Salle’s three-man block Balse stepped up, together with Bernal. Despite the strength, Balse’s spikes was one that Penano, La Salle’s libero, is able to receive well.

Michelle Carolino’s fame was ignited during that season. There’s no question why she was awarded MVP. She moves fast, jumps high, and is able to vary her offensive strikes. Carolino’s spikes have three traits: these are; direction, speed and strength. Another lingering quality is intimidation. I did not include it above because not all players are affected by this. Carolino’s high jumps can cause intimidation, imagine her above you, about to hit a ball that could replace your head. Her spikes’ direction is unpredictable to the opponent. She has the ability to place her shots well.

This is what improved in Daquis during the last UAAP season. Variety in attacks is essential for any game. If your moves are read well by the opponent, it reduces the pointing power of your attacks. Speed…need I say more? Strength in spikes is not caused by hard hitting alone. Since Carolino is adept in carrying her weight when jumping she can also transfer this to the ball.

Watching FEU play earlier, they were able to maintain the variety in attacks which was not present in their play long before. Semana, former Lady Tam captain, specialized in variety. Daquis was also able to add this flavor to her attacks. Her spikes also became faster and damn well stronger. This change dealt the UAAP championship to FEU. These were retained with the current Lady Tams headed by Morada. But the problem is exactness of their attacks. The Lady Jaguars of Recoletos initially had to cope with FEU’s game. This is why FEU attained a 2-1 set point lead against the Cebuanos. However, by the fourth set, the Lady Jaguars were already able to read the play of the Lady Tams. Cabanag was effectively blocked during the fourth set which is not the case during the first two sets. She launched two cross-court spikes only to be set perfectly to a strong Sabas. Morada bombarded the Lady Jaguars but to no avail she was blocked effectively more than once. Gonzalez had to try harder to get her attacks through compared to her easy pointer down-the-line spikes during the second set.

The Lady Tams weren’t weakened; they just need to be unpredictable.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

I Broke My Heart

It was the first time that I experienced being in love. It was also the first time that I cried my eyes out. It was the first time that I couldn’t bring myself to smile or jump into conversations. It was the first time.

I broke my own heart. I have never felt this way towards another person. It was only then when that person had to go away when I realized how I really felt. Well at least that’s what I keep telling myself. I knew what my mind was telling me long before that day, but I never accepted such a feeling despite the surge of emotions overwhelming me by the mere bass quality of his voice. I cannot accept that I felt so strong for another person. I denied my ability to love. I loathe myself for falling for such a guy.

Bursting is the most appropriate term to coin my status now. This hurting that should be buried with me to the grave. To love someone such as him is completely delusional and absurd. If I was him and I was to know the truth, I will feel betrayed. And I don’t want that. Aside from the painful blow that I dealt unto myself, it would be fatal to see him disgusted by me. I can stand the stare of other people who discriminate against my kind. I have been dealing with them for nineteen years now. But if he was to do that to me, then it’s better that he never knew me at all.

I have often laughed at a school girl’s fantasy. I have often entertained myself with love quarrels. But now that I felt the reality of it all; the pain, the agony, the suffering and the longing, I can neither laugh nor smile. I can only cry.

That day I wallowed in my flaws. Every fragment of my life spent with him was racing through my head. I saw things in a different light. He was never the type that I would have a crush on. Eventually it became clearer to me; the traits that I was looking for were traits that were originally his. He never failed to awe me. But I never looked past that. He was never someone that I shy away, I can look him in the eyes and converse with ease.

I can mask what I felt. What I feel is offensive, immoral and disgusting—to him. I cannot and must not love someone like him. I cannot even breathe his name to another soul. I’m threatened that what I feel will come to his knowledge. The mere thought sends shivers through my spine. A cold chill.

I do not regret my delayed perception. I can’t blame myself for not knowing what love is for I have never been in love. If I knew love earlier then I would’ve been in pain ever since.

I begrudged my gender, personality, and existence. I hated myself for being the way I am. It was one of the few times that I was unsure of myself. I was powerless. I wanted to be with him, yet it’s too farfetched that I do not dare to daydream. I’d die every time I see him.

At least I know how it feels to love. But if this is the way that love will always be for me, then it's better not to love at all. I cannot break my own heart again. Not again.


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