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HONORING MY MOTHER| Football trolls and dreamers

IN THE recent women’s World Cup tourney, one couldn’t help but be taken aback by a soundbite on our Philippine team’s online page which was both edgy and precise. It read: The 23 Filipinas that are ready to inspire a nation. 

Truth be told, that might have proven too prophetic because what followed afterward was a national frenzy and an overpouring of pride reverberating across pinoy communities all over the globe when they garnered their first win ever in a world cup, winning over the Kiwis of New Zealand. 

However, right after that short but powerful surge of a sense of national spirit, what sadly followed, besides a fizzling down and a dribble, was the roach-like trolling from out of the proverbial woodwork. (As we all know now, the Philippine Women’s football team, though first ever to qualify in any world cup, lost 0-6 to Norway in its next match. Thus, it  had failed in its dream to move on to the next round.)

Commentaries had been plentiful even before the actual tourney. One international sports online outlet had read: The making of America’s other Women’s World Cup team: the Philippines. 

In all, the malicious piece appeared as painstaking research but a tell-all about how one football-loving Fil-Am (and Dabawenyo at that) had initiated and managed to invite promising players in the US, with roots in the Philippines to try out in set-up camps so that a team could eventually be formed. 

When that had been achieved and linked up with the national team federation for legitimacy and support, the rest was history, so the article said.

In the end, let’s just leave it to Henry Bushnell, the writer of the piece who incidentally wrote another leading article later about how the Philippines had recruited a World Cup team. 

In fairness to the limited and myopic perspective, he had likewise conceded in the end that despite all, the initiative might lead and inspire to greater things later, as though to clean up.

The usual online trolls had come out with pointed comments like a “Philippine team without Filipinos” or here come the so-called ‘heritage’ players. Not even a peep of appreciation as to what a great achievement has been reached. 

Yet, call it a backfire if you will, what all these trolling have achieved so far is rekindling further the debate as to how come our men’s basketball and football teams have gotten away with the same formula with nary a ruckus or a whisper. Double-standard? Or the deeply-rooted, trying-hard-not-to-be-sexist attitude that’s always cleverly hidden under many filters? 

Now going back to the online page where it proclaimed “ready to inspire a nation,” it has undoubtedly achieved that goal, planting a seed of keen if not renewed interest in many youngsters’ minds. Even as trolls eventually die with more to take their place, the same is fortunately so with the dreamers. May their tribe increase.


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