Water and Algae
Last Saturday, September 29 my block mates and I went to the Smart-Araneta Coliseum to watch and support the Ateneo Blue Eagles in a UAAP basketball game. It was special because they are up against the La Salle Green Archers which historically, rival of the Ateneo for so long and even up to this day. It was a struggle to get the tickets, but we really believe it’s worth it, we will be witnessing a showdown.
Upon entering, we ran towards our seat because of excitement and also of course, we wanted the best seat Upper box B can offer. There were two dominant colors in the arena, blue and green. I looked around and noticed the other people. They were laughing, randomly cheering, jumping, eagerness can be seen on their faces. Everyone’s pumped up for the coming event. but not as much as that of the green side, the La Sallians are more enthusiastic than the blue crowd. They were ready with their band and supporters who are ready to cheer their hearts out as if this will somehow cement their team’s victory over us Ateneans. I also think that since they’ve been through a lot (remember the two games against FEU?) with a narrow win being the team to complete the final four, they became tougher, fiercer and bolder just like the how survivors act. The ‘animo’ in them was strengthened. After a few exchange of beats and cheers between the two teams, the real game started. Tides of emotions are about to come.
The Changing Tides
As soon as the game started people were cheering non-stop, pumped up, I bet everyone’s heart was pounding. Everyone watched and observed the game intently, trying to find fault with the other teams’ players. Some diehard sports fan would even shout someone’s name and tell him what to do, even though no one but his seatmates can hear him. Men would shout and women would scream, moving their hands in unison, whether they may be clapping, pointing or raising their banners with the word “WALA” when the other team is about to score. It was the perfect example of chaos and order simultaneously occurring.
When the archers gained a ten-point lead over the eagles, Atenean hearts were shattered, almost everyone lost hope. My friends and I stopped cheering and sat down instead. Some still watched the game with sorry faces, while others looked away and prayed. We felt really really bad since it was our first Ateneo-La Salle game and we thought we jinxed it. By the looks on everyone’s face they felt really bad too. The greens on the other hand, felt really great! Their cheers and yells increased in volume, eating the mass of blue alive. But then the tides changed. The Eagles were able to catch-up with the opposing team and made the scores even. The Ateneans cheered with renewed vigor, most probably because now they’ve experienced how to be an underdog. We were relieved from the confidence of having an easy victory over the archers. During a game, anything can happen, tides continuously and rapidly change.
The Vast Ocean
A lot of thoughts had hit me during the game, it’s as if the world momentarily stopped at that moment. First off, though we didn’t explicitly state it, my friends and I were envious with the La Sallian crowd. they cheered loudly and wholeheartedly even though they were losing. For them it was enough that they became a part of the final four and lost honorably. They’re really admirable.
Of course to be fair with Ateneans, I know most of us did our best to cheer for the team it’s just that we didn’t know some of the words. Watching the game and wearing the school colors, one cannot help but feel that they are part of something important. Every clap, cheer or scream contributes to the greater mass of green or blue. Temporarily, differences are placed aside and people who can’t stand each other tolerates one another. After all, they’re not the enemies there right? Someone would probably think like this: It’s the opposing team, we should try to be better than them. Either we boost up our players’ morale or bring down that of the rival ones. By associating and grounding oneself in his/her own subculture, people become too ethnocentric during the games. They would defend the people from their side heavily, and taunt the ones from the other side especially when he makes a mistake. No one else is right except us, us US!
Don’t get me wrong ethnocentrism and team spirit is not a bad thing unless it results to violence. Which brings me back during my freshman days in high school. I was from San Beda before which is a part of the sports league NCAA, and we were required to watch the games. In one particular Beda-Letran game, during the half-time, violence ensues. The coach from Letran had hit a Bedan spectator because he got angry by his taunts. The crowd joined in the bandwagon and said nasty things to the opposing teams like ‘iskwater’, throwing food stuff to the people seated on the lower box and there are some who even had fistfights! Right there and then. It was mayhem.
Going back, as I’ve said, ethnocentrism is not a bad thing but people must relate and open up to the culture of the opposing team even though it feels bad when losing. There should be a balance in both As Cramton and Hinds said: Ethnocentrism is characterized by greater rigidity in relation to the other group while ethnorelativism is characterized by greater adaptability. I think this are the components of sportsmanship. And both teams during the Ateneo- La Salle game showed this fairly.
Meanwhile the hand gestures and movements showed the great unity between the opposing teams. Most felt that they are part of this big family, and would even interact with strangers and everyone else in general. Conformity was also evident during the games. Everyone would follow what the majority does whether they’re pointing, clapping or raising their boards. In that game, no one is rich, poor, old or young, every spectator supporting the team is the same. Just like the church, there are no barriers (except of course, the seating arrangement). Moving, unison in blue, the Ateneans looked like the vast ocean.
The rivalry between Ateneo and La Salle doesn’t stop in the court. It extends into academics and other fields for competition. But at the end of the day, these things should promote healthy competition. It should have a balanced component of ethnocentrism, cultural relativism, teamwork and sportsmanship.
As for me, I’ll be watching a lot more games whether it’s between Ateneo-La Salle, or life itself. In order to survive I should always keep in mind the things I learned from these. I must think critically before doing things, and consider other people’s perspective in order to produce the best possible solution for the situation. I should learn how to grow as an individual but at the same follow societal norms. Of course, I’ll still support Ateneo, and be a woman for others.
Majella M. Delfin