Basketball and Friendship

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When I was a young boy, which was not a very long time ago, I had this vision. I was going to be the next big basketball star from the south. I imagined myself dunking over the man-mountain Bonel Balingit, stealing the ball away from speedster Mark Anthony Tallo and engaging howitzers with hotshot Elmer Boy Cabahug. During my time, they were the big names in Cebu basketball and were my sources of strength and inspiration. I was born in a era where men wore tights and the basketball heroes were the legendary Larry Bird, and the indefatigable duo of Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar. It was the era of showtime where the rivalry between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers was in full swing. Basketball always excites me. It was my first love. I can remember having to try out countless of times for our high school varsity team, but I was always told to sit in the stands because I was too small. The same things were said to me when I tried out in our local town leagues. But I remained unfazed. The competitive fire in me somehow always convinced me that I could play the game even with my short stature, and even though I was not as talented as the others. Basketball for me was a way to show my creativity. It was a way to express myself in a society that looks only at an individual's physical dimensions and athletic ability as a prerequisite to play the game. When I couldn't make any of the teams, I decided to make my own one. During the summer break, I coaxed my father, in exchange for some errands, to help me build my own team. I gathered kids in the neigborhood. They were kids who didn't have money to buy their own clothes, who live in shanty homes, and who were lucky enough to eat three times a day. But growing up they accepted me and treated me as their own. I was the manager, I was the coach, I was the star player even though I was the only

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