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Archives August 2005
No, not that kind of faith. THAT kind, I've given up a long time ago. This Faith is somewhere in Antipolo--in a secluded subdivision cum country club.
Yesterday, I woke up at 7 am, went straight to work to finish my notes for Crim recits while my former teammates travelled to Faith Academy to play two exhibition games. As I worked, and worked and worked, I kept recalling snapshots of the days we spent in Faith Academy almost five years ago.
We were excited. At the end of that school day, we waited at the MC basketball court for coach Eric to arrive. We travelled for an hour, listening to Beatles songs that we only learned to appreciate now that we are much, much, older. When we got there, we had a game. After that game, we went to the canteen to buy turon. We watched several other games, other teams, most of whom were strangers.
Snapshot 1: The curfew
Coach Eric called us in to tell us where we were going to sleep that night. Only a few of us were allowed to sleep over. We were ushered into a big room with pianos and drums. There were other players from other teams. On the floor were cushions and mats and blankets. With an air of superiority, coach told us that we had a curfew that night. The deal was this--we can do pretty much anything we liked but we had to be asleep at twelve. We laughed. We all knew that as players, we had to be asleep at 10. In fact, after a long day of excitedness, we were all too ready to retire. But not without entertainment. Bianca, from St. Benedict, who I met later on in my life, opened a piano and started playing. Her other teammates jammed with her. One of them took out a pair of brushes and used it as drumsticks. They played songs until we finally dozed off.
Snapshot 2: Game's on
We were waiting for our second game at the outdoor basketball court. On the other half of the court, Anna, Fatz, Eika, Gaby and the rest of the team were shooting around. It was a cold day in February and we had to do all that we can to keep warm. Mich and Sarah challenged me and Aj to a two-on-two ball game. I took a sip of the flavored water Tito Chito gave us. The game was on. No body really won that game. A few minutes later, Kris called us in for our pre-game huddle. Then, unlike now, we didn't have anything to talk about. No politics, no problems, no drama. We only had the ball and the court. We only had each other and somehow, that was all we really needed.
Snapshot 3: Watching out for the sunset
As we waited for the pre-game huddle, me and Eika sat at the back of the Faith gym, overlooking the soccer field. We already had our white MC jerseys on. For the first time in four years, our team donned sleeveless jerseys. Earlier that year, we haggled and struggled just to get the MC administration to allow as to wear sleeveless jerseys. The tough pricks finally gave in and allowed us. We talked about life, about where we were going. The world from our vantage point, was wide, and endless. Both of us were not ready to confront the decisions we had to make after that day. College, our future, our plans had to be put on hold. That moment, we decided to just keep quiet. "The world can wait," we thought. We'd rather watch out for the sunset.
It was the first time Faith lost their own invitational tournament. The referees were against us, we were playing against tall american girls and an aggressive audience, but at the end of that night, we were the victors.
Snapshot 4: The winning pass.
The ball bounced off the ring. It went to Aj's hands. She passed it to Sarah. Me, Eika and Corrinne started running towards the other end of the court. We had a chance to take the lead with over a minute left in the ball game and so we ran as though we haven't played two games in one day. The referees weren't giving us any breaks... hell, we weren't expecting any. In the middle of the court, Carol Tanchi, Cutts, and Davis were running down and playing defense. They didn't expect it. I didn't either. Anna was running wide, with her right hand up, signalling to Sarah. Sarah didn't even look up. It was a bounce pass, the likes of which you would never expect from anyone else but sarah--crisp, accurate, certain. The ball went past Tanchi, Cutts and Davis, with veteran precision (my guess is that the ball bounced at the exact three-fourths distance, a science that we learned as little kids). All they could do was stare in shock as Anna, our price three-point-shooter caught the ball, jumped, stopped, and released. Gesundtheit. My heart literally skipped a beat. For two seconds, the crowd was silent. Then the ball went straight in. As the net swooshed, a small crowd of less than twenty parents jumped up and down in sheer delight. On the bench, coach eric was on one knee. He punched the floor. The deal was sealed.
That shot, that win, that final highschool game, was only the cherry on top of a 52-wins-to-one-loss season. To the hundreds others who were there, that game was forgettable. To us (Clare, Gaby, Eika and Me), it was the last wave, that crashed, as all else does, into the shore. It was the blood compact that sealed our sisterhood and immortalized our ties.
The truth is, almost all of us eventually met again in College. Only a few of us, Aj and Mich in particular, went to a different school. But it was much, much different. We all became different when we started wearing scarlet jerseys. It wasn't innocence. God knows we weren't innocent then. It was our unbridled youth, and the simplicity of our lives, the time that seemed to slow when we spent it just laughing at almost anything and everything. It was our faith in a man who we worshipped like a God, a coach who at least, for that year, never really let us down.
At this moment, as I try to ignore the cases that are starting to pile up beside me, I remember all that in vivid detail. It has long since been replaced by sagacity and cynicism. But at this moment, I sit back, and relish in the fact that I had it once. Something, many of my classmates in Law School, never had.
(Note: A toast to Gaby, Clare, Eika, Mich and Sarah, for keeping the Faith alive. Our worlds now are very much different from that world of wanderlust and crazy-ass-stupid-trips. But we had it, and what makes it more important for me is that I had it with you. Ten years from now, we will be having lunch, arguing over who's gonna pay the bill. My guess is it would be Sarah, or Mich who would win. We will very briefly gloss over what happened in the last ten years--our careers, families (if any), travels, and paychecks-- and spend the rest of that day vividly recreating that world we kept tucked at the back of our minds.)
The Lonely Joker who stares too deeply & too much at 5:08 PM