|The Fun Club||Apr 26, ’07 3:01 AM
The Fun Club
By Ani Karina S. de Leon
I have to be honest-I am as much a fan of sports as I am an athlete. At the very basic level, I think this is a requirement if you want to succeed in what you are doing—you have to be in love with it first. Truly, madly, deeply.
This is also of course applicable too in the realm of sports. You act like a crazed telenovela addict and schedule your life around the airtimes of the games that you want to catch on TV. Your wardrobe is dictated upon by the colors of your favorite team. Your walls or desktops are decorated with various pictures of your sports heroes and you talk about their stats and details of their love life as if they were a family member or a close friend of yours. You surf the internet endlessly on any information you can gather about them and actually own an account complete with user name and password on their website.
I’ve had a couple of phases over the years wherein I would cry (and this is really painful for me to divulge) if my basketball team (Purefoods, just in case you were curious) would lose to the opposing side. I kid you not. I hated having to show up in school the next day just to see the gloating faces of my classmates who supported the other squad. Ugh. The agony I had to go through.
I once worshipped Michael Schumacher and Lance Armstrong so much that I would buy all the magazines I could find that had them on the cover. Of course this proved to be a very expensive pursuit for me so I had to give it up and just accept that it was taking up too much of my time worrying if I had checked every issue of F1, Bicycling, Procycling, VeloNews, and the occasional Sports Illustrated and Outdoor Magazine Covers.
People close to me know of my tendency to fanaticism. A cycling buddy of mine relocated to Guam a couple of years ago and as a result had to leave most of his stuff behind. During that period I lived and breathed the very thought of Lance and he bequeathed me with a door-sized hard mounted poster of the 7-time Tour de France Champion as he was distributing his belongings to his friends. I placed it immediately in front of my bike trainer and would actually talk to the picture every now and then.
Being a genuine supporter, though, is even a step further than being a mere admirer. I am aware of this because throughout my involvement in sports I have seen race volunteers and personal crews of different athletes toil much harder and longer than the participants themselves. They have to wake up as early, baby their charge, forgive them for their grouchiness about the pettiest of things, and look after them when they are finished because they are the stars of the day—hence the royal treatment. I have been both at the giving and receiving end of this so I know what I am talking about. My dear, dear friends once surprised me with a banner which said “Ani’s Fun Club” (pun intended). I was so touched—if only everyone could be so lucky.
We like to classify sports into individual and team categories. I say there is only the latter kind, and every triumphant athlete recognizes this. Even the lone marathoner has at least one or more of the following: a spouse or partner, a coach, a training companion, a masseuse, a therapist, an agent, a manager, a sponsor, a psychologist, etc.
No man or woman is an island, and in what we do it is no different. The more you acknowledge and thank your devotees, the happier they will be to take care of you in every way they can. And the sooner you realize this, the faster your performance will progress.