WHEN Hidilyn Diaz finally shattered the 97-year drought and won for the Philippines its first gold medal ever in this year’s Olympic games, my feelings of happiness and pride were only eclipsed by my amusement at how others were taking home the win.
In the midst of perhaps more than a million congratulatory messages that flooded social media and other outlets, a portion of these included claims at actual proximity to the person. Heck, had she come from Davao City, from our barangay, our subdivision, or more so if, she had been a neighbor and a friend, my level of pride would be a hundred-fold and would surely dominate over other messages of Congrats, including the ones simply congratulating her for bringing the first gold for the country.
Simply put, the levels or degrees by which her win was absorbed by many in social media was this. She is Filipino (yey and duh, of course this represented the biggest chunk). She hails from Mindanao (yey), she is from Zamboanga (yehey) and speaks Chabacana (yeyehehey). In all, these may have been amusing, yes but there was one particular thread that took the cake. The gist of it implied that some people need not congratulate Diaz, much less participate in all the hoopla. In other words, haters need not join in on the parade.
While it may sound and look as if the further down the distinctions ran along, sets of people were being slowly swept aside, and I might think that, that’s just the way it is with peeps sometimes. But no.
In the past, there was a meme that went: people will ask you whatever you’ve accomplished so far or what your work is, so that they could gauge the level of respect they should give you. I guess the same applies when we take seriously our own level of pride for our hometown hero and declare it as much more than that of the country’s. To add, there still persists a thinking that, if one were either an adversary or a critic, no handshake across the fence was necessary, as reconciliations only tend to take the intended salt off the wounds of losers.
Going for the win is never a bad thing, not only in all of sports, but also in all of life. And accepting defeat is likewise part of the same coin. To only claim the victory, and not accept other people’s efforts defeats the purpose of sportsmanship. At most, it only fosters a childish nature or worst, a continuance of a dog-eat-dog thinking.
I understand the righteous indignation that is felt, having seen what had transpired in the past. But too take the historical achievement and honor brought by Hidilyn for the country, and then to turn it into both a provincialist tool and an in-your-face gesture is pathetic.
Childish perhaps, but it merely shows where we really still are stuck, as a people.
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