Writing and Basketball and Art

I have told Art that I loved his narrative style on his blog a few days ago when we sat together at an event two weeks ago. For some reason I knew that he’d be a terrific read if he started blogging, and since I found his link on the first PWIT I had been thoroughly hooked. Yes I think I can say now I’m a fan. Wait, let me go further by saying, Art’s blog is, to me, the best, or amongst the top three favorite blogs I follow. Other blogs I like are similar in style, very personal and candid, but his stands out particularly, I think, because of his maturity.

And let me expound on that. See, to me there is no more apt term to describe Philippine blogging than the saying “Youth is wasted on the young.” While the young bring vibrancy to blogging, making it dynamic and exciting, Philippine blogging is 90% run by young people, and sometimes that makes it also very stupid. Of course that won’t sit well if you’re a young person, a Filipino and a blogger reading this, but the point is, it’s hard for one such as me to find anything new these days, or at least anything that’d keep me from wanting to bring on an – unsolicited I’m sure – lecture to these, through no fault of their own, neophytes.

At any rate message sent: Art is a cool guy who writes his memoirs like a careful, methodical painter brings paint to a canvass. Lovingly, simply (and therefore effortlessly) and with a clear heart. I seldom, now I realize, bring praise to people – to a fault, I think, but in this case this is most deserving. I suppose I should have told him that except for the fact I realized I had to first allow him to eat (having said some parts of it directly after coming from the buffet table), and so apt it is I say it here.

Needless to say, he’s one of the guys that makes me end up saying to myself, “I wish I could write like that.” (ok here’s the part where I talk about myself so brace yourselves). Why can I not then? Well simply because, inspite of myself, all I’d end up writing about is angst and an unhealthy level of pain – or at least unhealthy enough for me to deem unpalatable. Surely I’d be candid as well, why not? I’ve really nothing to hide. But it’s not that fact that bothers me. Rather, to me, it just won’t be good writing. I suppose one day I should, if only because it’d be an interesting exercise.

To me, the only thing I can remember worth, uhm, remembering for the good it has brought to me is basketball. I so love, I so heart – rendingly, with all that is everything true and good and pure about me, love basketball. The game has taught me life in dramatic, big, bold strokes. In it, the emotions are nothing but as real and as frightfully strong as you can get. Giant, tremendous, hurtful mistakes. Colorful anger, bursting with energy. The pounding ache of a lost game. The blissful, thoughtful, soul – searching, chest clutching effect of a victory. The brotherhood forged between friends, teammates and opponents, especially opponents – people whom you’d never share two words with otherwise – but whose presence you value most because if it were not for them, you would not have felt how you feel. You would not have experienced life as you did. In the heat of a game, with all your senses at its highest level, attune to everything going around you, where even in the din of cheers you could still hear a pin drop because all your senses are switched to the highest setting all at once. In brief situations like these, you bless the Maker because he allows you to feel alive. To feel strong, to feel you are a presence, to feel absolutely convincingly ALIVE, in every sense of the word.

So you can imagine that this eclipsed most everything else I had to go through when I was young, which is no surprise considering that, as our consciousness works, we tend to blot out things we considerable disagreeable anyway. It doesn’t matter regardless. If I cannot, or feel should not remember it, it probably works to my advantage in the long run. All I can – or maybe want – to remember about my youth are the basketball courts. The one at Boni, the three near Don Bosco, the one near JRC, several ones in San Juan, the one in West Greenhills, and so many others that dot the landscape in my mind, the ones marking where in each of them, I felt I was at my strongest, and even at my most vulnerable, yet at the same time, never more ready to take on whatever it is that tests me.

I’ll try to write more like that maybe. If I can remember it.

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