Breeding ground for future sports greats
By Al S. Mendoza
LET the warring flags flutter fiercely in the wind.
Assemble the future heroes of sportslandia.
The battlefields in Lingayen, Dagupan, Calasiao and San Carlos are raring to spread the red carpet.
Oh, wait a minute.
Aren’t Bugallon and Binmaley also part of the greatest show in town as capable co-hosts, too, of an event that happens on our sacred soil only once in a decade – if we get the luck of the draw, that is?
Anyway, whether it’s yes or not, what are we waiting for?
It’s game time.
Everybody, on their march, get set, go.
Blow the first whistle.
The Palarong Pambansa is on.
For one week ending May 12, the nation’s premier sports fest for elementary pupils and high school students takes center stage.
Don’t blink. Action is at its purest from our unsullied gladiators.
They will trade swords so to speak, pit skills and talents, and give it their all in hot hopes of bringing home the much-coveted medal symbolic of excellence, might and valor.
For those not yet in the know, this is the breeding ground for tomorrow’s sports stars.
It all begins here, where raw talents, where the so-called diamonds in the rough, are flushed out in one fell swoop.
If you are talking of harvest time, this is it: Your orchard of hopes, your well of blooms, and your field of dreams.
This is where the post-war stars were first spotted upon, such as the likes of Asian Games stalwarts in the not-so-distant past – swimmers Jairullah Jaitulla and Eric Buhain, shooters Chito Feliciano and Tac Padilla, cagers Caloy Loyzaga and Robert Jaworski and sprint queens Mona Sulaiman and Lydia de Vega.
They will, with much expectations, be cloned here, the hopefuls expectedly all fired up to achieve the dream of their dreams during the week-long meet of high drama and torrid thrills.
But first, the proper introductions.
I’ll mention the men chiefly providing the main backup to the master behind the Palaro: Butch Velasco, Modesto Operania and, of course, the one and only Raffy Baraan.
This Terrific Trio backstops everything that the master does, not only in the Palaro but in virtually all spheres of provincial administration.
And who’s the master again?
Dyarran! Guv Spines.
Lest one forgets, Guv Spines is the heart and soul behind the staging of the Palaro.
No Guv Spines, no Palaro.
And do you know that my bosom buddy, the great and glorious Leonie Galvez, flew all the way home from his base in Los Angeles just to be able to watch the Palaro?
Welcome home once more, Kuya Leonie.
Enjoy the games.
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(This is a bit late but to me, late is never late, for as long as the deed is worth doing. So, birthday wishes go to Mangatarem’s April Boys: Dr. Fernando “Nanding” Lopez, the beer-guzzling and gourmet Robert Dix of Chix Unlimited and Mayor Ted Cruz. Cheers & Beers!)