Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Brutal Than Boxing, Part 2

My eldest, straight from Saint Joseph College Seminary (SJCS) for a long vacation landed at the Wesmin Hospital here in San Jose last May 5 due to pneumonia. Together with Dr. Rosendo Nueve, MD and the rest of the nurses and staffs, he watched the Pacquiao-Mosley fight live on television right at personnel quarters of said nursing home. With a dextrose attached to his right arm and his left hand pressing the nebulizer mouthpiece into his mouth, they watched the fight direct from the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.

I told you once in a blog entry that my son loves boxing and he seldom skipped Al Bernstein show on TV before he entered the seminary and his favorite boxing hall- of- famer is Tommy Hearns. He was second year high school when he KOed a rascal classmate using a flicker jab, Hearn’s favorite weapon. Like how Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez advised his parishioner Manny Pacquiao to retire from the ring, Dra. Eleanor Sy-Costibolo, MD also advised my son to go into swimming and she said it is good for the respiratory system than any other sport, perhaps, including boxing.

Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez, DD of Marbel and former chairman of the National Secretariat for Social Action or CBCP-NASSA, said he has advised boxing legend and Saranggani Representative Manny Pacquiao to retire from the ring. The prelate reportedly reminded Catholics that the Church considers a person’s body as the “temple of the Holy Spirit” and that it should not be abused or harmed. But the good bishop seemed to forget that here in the Philippines, how politics is practiced, how graft and corruption put many of us into poverty are more brutal than boxing thus do more harm to the “temple of the Holy Spirit”. Only some old fashioned members of the clergy could insist that boxing is indeed a sin.

All I can say is, any professional athlete needs to be concerned with how his profession might best glorify God. Is he a good Christian model to all, specially those people around him? Is he a good example for kids who idolize him and his family? Is he doing the right thing with his talents and abilities? Any sport is liberating as long as you are humble in victory and gracious in defeat. What’s un-Godly with that? You, kill joys and OAs!

Is Manny Pacquiao a bad Catholic? I doubt it. The Pacman is pious not only because he has no qualms about wearing a rosary around his neck before and after a match or of making a sign of the cross at the start of a round, but because he entrusts himself and his professional work, his training, his family, to God. He regularly attends Mass and he kneels down before acknowledging the cheers of the gone-crazy and ecstatic crowd. Most of all, Manny is not there to humiliate and destroy his opponent. Remember this incident in his fight against Ricky Hatton (which I featured in “Brutal Than Boxing, Part 1”), as soon as Hatton staggered to his feet, Manny extended a helping hand. He even expressed gratitude. "I thanked Ricky for giving me the opportunity to fight him because he put his championship at stake. I told him it’s nothing personal, that I just had to do my job, like he has to do his. I’m only a boxer so this is my job." That’s how humble is our boxing hero. Unlike the politician I know who take every criticism against him personally.

Returning to the Philippines after his victorious dream match against the Golden Boy Oscar Dela Hoya, Manny went to the popular Black Nazarene Church in Manila and attended the Mass. After the priest gave his final blessings, Pacquiao according to reports, was asked to give a message to the people. And it is there Manny Pacquiao gave this quote and my favorite from him: "Don't tell God you have a big problem. Tell your problem you have a big God.” That’s what I kept in mind and in my prayers when my kid had a 6-day bout with pneumonia and with the help of the Almighty- including people in the hospital- he was released just a couple of hours ago.

By the way, I know priests who were good amateur boxers during their seminary days but they remained non-violent. Likewise in my son’s school, they have Tae Kwon Doo and other martial arts for PE classes…

(Photo from pinoyofw.com)

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