Everyone’s an expert

You wake up and you have this really bad coughing spell. You ask anyone around the house for help, and they offer you much more than that.

The next thing you know, someone is making tea out of the leaves of this plant (whose rust-colored product is not exactly visually appealing) while another is trooping to the nearest drugstore for medicine.

It is about this time that the “sermon in the room” ensues. Your father blames the ever-changing weather for your sickness, while your mother blames you for not taking those vitamins and immediately orders you to pop three in your mouth.

Welcome to the Philippines, the country where everyone is a doctor entitled to make a diagnosis. While some judgments border on the bizarre, they are nevertheless taken with a degree of consideration, but the advice of the “experts” does not end there.

You go out of your house and you see a group of tambays in the local sari-sari store. They are either talking about how Willie Miller and the Barangay Ginebra Kings of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) seem to be slowly coming together or how Manny Pacquiao will be five inches smaller than Antonio Margarito once they step on the ring. Will “The Pacman” still bite even if he tips the scales at 150 pounds? How many medals can the country win in the Asian Games?

Go to the local barber shop or the tricycle terminal, and the men there are talking about the same thing. They are probably even watching it; or if they are fans of six-footers taking flight, then they might be bantering about the new Big Three of the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association (NBA). What will become of old Cleveland after one guy opted to take his athleticism to South Beach? Do the Lakers still have it?

Believe it or not, these tambays and barbers have answers for all those questions.

Those tambays have their own diagnosis about how Pacquiao’s speed will equate to Margarito’s glaring height and reach advantage. Over at that barber shop, while alternating between shaving heads, the barbers will make their own post-game analyses of basketball games and how Ginebra can waltz their way to the PBA Finals if they just keep their cards right.

Their shouts holler like gunfire during these matches and they line up for hours on those free viewing parties in gymnasiums or even pay in movie theaters. They could not bear with the delayed telecasts on television, with all the commercials hampering their excitement and with the abounding threat of spoilsports.

When Pacquiao sends an opponent to the canvas or the Gin Kings win another crown, expect them to be watching, after which they will utter the phrase they have been itching to mention since time immemorial:

Sabi sayo eh. Tama ako. (I told you; I’m right.)”

After all the seemingly endless gloating has weathered down, you wonder: is it over for these sportscasters? No.

There is always the off-season in basketball to carp about. There is also always another countryman out there to prove himself in boxing or another trade rumor that has to be reflected on. Is it a good move? Does he fit in Coach-Someone’s system? How about Pacquiao’s next opponent? Has Floyd Mayweather finally run out of excuses not to fight Manny?

Welcome to the Philippines, a nation where everyone is a Steve Kerr and a Marv Albert, a Chino Trinidad and a Quinito Henson.

Why is this the case? I happened to be in the tricycle terminal of my subdivision one time where, naturally, all of the drivers were dissecting a PBA game on the television. One of the drivers chided the others by saying, “Bakit yan ang pinapanood nyo? Ayaw n’yo ba ng news? [Why are you watching that? Don’t you want to watch the news?]” to which another replied lightheartedly, “Huwag na dun. Puro gulo lang napapanood mo dun.[Not the news. It’s all chaos there.]” and continued his tale of puzzlement about why an all-Filipino cup was filled with foreigners.

It was a commonplace incident, but the words the tricycle driver echoed a lot of sentiments.

Most sports zealots (like them and like me) follow the so-called “drama of athletic competition” not because it has a certain kind of cool being a sports fan or because of the scores, which are just numbers, but because it is a therapy.

Sports is a temporary cure for flunked quizzes, soaring oil prices and the slumping economy, and all you have to do is flip on that remote and then relish the healing provided by either an eighth round technical knock-out by Manny Pacquiao or a game-winning trey by James Yap.

Before you make an analysis of your own, you still have to drink that tea.

Imman Canicosa

By Imman Canicosa

One reply on “Everyone’s an expert”

Leave a Reply