“Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
from Proverbs 27:17: as quoted by Tim Tebow pregame before a November 2011 win against the San Diego Chargers.
Once again the Philippines has been shut out of medals in the Olympics. Let me tell you, it is fair. We deserve that outcome. Every nation has it’s baggage. What Pinoys fail to realize that there is no magic spell that engulfs you when you leave this country to compete with the best of the best in the world. You take your baggage with you.
Four years ago some idiot came up with this factory analogy of how anything superior on Earth is made. Not just Olympic medal winners.
Let’s take your typical production facility of world class items. Top of the line products. It can be coffee, it can be shoes or it can be luxury cars. The end product has to surpass or be in the top 3 of anything else like it in the world.
Before anything happens there has to be a world class design (plan). In that plan you foresee the practical application of the following things.
1) Raw Materials – for a world class product not just anything has to do , you need quality material to start with. Sometimes quality can only be achieved by going through numbers. Like eliminating about 99.99 % of what you have access to. Whether it’s coffee beans or leather for the shoes, you just have to have good stuff to start with. Bringing in huge quantities gives you the luxury of being choosy.
2) You have to have an elite production/ refinement process- To be the best in the world , raw material is not enough, but what you do with it is part of the equation. Look at what goes into the production of a BMW or a Rolls Royce or a Bentley.
Olympic medalists are not that much different except when humans are involved, what gets them through the weeding out process is motivation and desire. You can’t make the same case for coffee beans.
Part of the motivation of being good at something is the prestige that comes with being the best . Like I have said many times before this society only values basketball in terms of a competitive event. Even with something we value we don’t do well internationally. What more with events we do not value??? And these are events that are only relevant once every few years. The Filipino sports psyche is fascinating if you examine the PBA. There are three chances a year to be “champions”. This lends itself to instant gratification. There is no big off season wait for the finality to sink in. It’s like missing a bus to Muntinlupa in rush hour. You miss that there is another one right behind it. When raised with that mentality, hard to imagine a lot of people training 4 plus years for one event that sometimes lasts 12 seconds.
You can not deny that this country as a culture only cares about basketball. We are the only country in the world where basketball is the predominant choice for our male athletes to dedicate themselves to. There is no significant number two sport nationally. We can’t even dominate our own region in a sport where we care more than they do what more other Olympic sports?
Even more than an Olympic Gold Medal in skeet shooting, nothing would thrill pinoys more than a Filipino or Filipinos in the NBA. The challenges are similar. It is the best basketball league in the world. When it was publicized Manny Pangalinan was going to buy the Sacramento Kings , what I found fascinating is college educated people projecting their own self entitlement on the most elite level of basketball. All it takes is a Filipino owner and the floodgates will open. It’s like saying “My daddy will buy that company and I can work there. ” That is the pinoy mentality. Let’s buy our way in. We don’t have to compete our way in. How many Olympic medals in our history do we have to show for this mentality???
Chemical skullduggeryÂ aside, the Olympics should be about a level playing field and pure competition. Competition is very different from the very Metro Manila attitude of “singit”. Taking shortcuts that are not legal. Just last week in the hotel right beside Asian Instituute of Management , a motorcyclist went against a one way street on the sidewalk. I gave him the #1 sign, but I might have used the wrong finger. Again just speaking for Metro Manila, this is a culture where jeepney drivers disregard the law unscathed but police stop private cars in hope of a bribe. Is that behavior contributing to the common good? Our society treats rules as a nuisance yet we cry like babies when we can’t compete internationally. When those very rules are what establishes the integrity of the competition. Pinoys are fond of short cuts and throwing their weight around if they have any.
The Olympic motto is “Faster, Higher, Stronger”. It is not singit, connections, nepotism, gaya, sympathy, epal , bakya and other things pinoys excel at. Pinoys would easily medal in a world wide competition that valued those things. We see it in our society everyday. Arnel Pineda mimics Steve Perry and for some reason we are proud of that?
The fact that this country elected someone who was under no obligation to be faster higher or stronger (better) than more qualified candidates tells you everything you need to know why when it comes to the world’s best we can’t compete. Our collective mindset is in no shape to go up against the best of the best. We don’t respect people who legitimately compete so we can’t do the same ourselves. Come election time we ignore all merit, track record and qualification an just “keep it in the family”. We just do not reward go-gettersÂ and doers with our vote. A familiar last name is enough.Â A link to the past is enough. The hell with the here and now. The Olympics reward the here and now.
The Olympics does not care who your father or mother was. The Olympics does not care what color you wear or what symbol you make with your hands. The Olympics does not care how much you bash the previous gold medal winner in your event. The Olympics does not care you can impose your own agenda to a judicial body. The Olympics does not care that you feel you have the right to tell the media what to say and when to say it. The Olympics does not care about your sense of entitlement or however you got it. All the Olympics cares about is are you faster, higher , stronger than the people in your event. That concept is so foreign to us and we wonder why we can’t medal. Based on their everyday behavior I believe that the pinoy is adverse to integrity and competition. Not exactly a formula that will generate world class results.
Bill LaForge who briefly coached the Vancouver Canucks had what he called the PHD formula. PHD stood for pride, hustle and desire. Please note that formula is the polar opposite to being self entitled. It means to scratch and claw for everything you can get while competing. Imposing your will on the man across from you. Like I said, our society seems to believe that self entitlement comes from family you are in. Noynoy did a good thing by removing the wang wangs. Too bad the other less obvious vehicles of self entitlement still remain, including him. Our culture of self entitlement just because we are Filipino (signified by the motto “Basta Pinoy Da Best“) does not count in countries far more advanced than we are that do not care about Â Willie Revillame. That is why a level field might as well be walking on the moon for pinoys. The world is a much bigger place and you will have to work hard to distinguish yourself among the best all things being equal.
We must continuously ask ourselves about our standards. I have to feel competitive when I write for GRP. It’s not like I want to beat the brains out of FallenAngel or anything. But this website is like a relay. First of all there is common goal. I was attracted to this website by it’s ideals and discourse. There is this unspoken understanding that I uphold the same ideals and discourse. Just like a relay team has an objective to combine their individual efforts into one finish line. Secondly because the others have set a standard before I got here, I feel obligated to blend in so to speak. The rest of the people on this site set the bar high. I have an internal drive to always prove myself to be worthy of writing here. Try not to be an “automatic out” as they say in baseball.
One thing you can not deny is to even qualify for the Olympics you have to go through grueling preparation . Bobby Knight who coached the 1984 US Men’s Basketball team famously said “Most people have the will to win , few have the will to prepare to win. “. The current occupant of Malacanang has neither. In three years not one person has convinced me that Noynoy expended a calorie towards striving to be President of the nation. In fact in his years in Congress and the Senate he did a good impression of the role Claude Rains made famous.
I have no idea why pinoys think they are the exception to a simple rule: garbage in , garbage out. If not much is demanded then not much should be expected. We are the victim of our own low standards. It’s quite evident what is important to us. When it comes to elections we do not value candidates who are “faster, higher, stronger” mentally and emotionally. We seem to value candidates who are only the first three letters of the last word of the previous sentence. Running a country is no joke. You vote in dumb or someone who has never proven himself or herself smart , you will get dumb results.
Philippines, let me ask you a question. Our internal gold medal in an Olympics that comes every six years is the seat we bestow to one individual for President of this country. The world sees our “Gold Medalist”, we put him/ her there. This is not American Idol with no real consequence and another one coming up next year. Every president has an impact that last decades. Philippines, in our own internal Olympics you hand out the medal. No one else. Just you. There is no silver medal when it comes to president. You decided Noynoy Aquino was our gold medalist. The best we have to offer. By having him as the gold standard, what message are we telling our children? Have the right mother who will die just before the campaign season and you too can be president?
I want to make it clear that I am not blaming Noynoy Aquino for the Philippines never seeing the medal podium in the Olympics. I am blaming the Filipino society’s lack of standards in general that allow an undistinguished individual like Noynoy Aquino to have six years as president to do as he pleases. Lack of standards and lack of results go hand in hand.
Tell me Philippines, are you really proud to show the world your own gold medal winner out of 90 million people??
We have one gold medal internally every six years and we can’t even get that right. May 10, 2012 was one moment in time that we will regret for decades. We can’t even pick a winner, how the heck are we expected to produce any?