Friday, March 1, 2013

Second Chances

I watched The Replacements last week on Warner TV. It's one of my favorite movies because of one line that resonates with me. It goes "every athlete dreams of a second chance". I kid you not when I say that every time (and I do mean every time) I hear this line I am transported back to my athlete-glory days and I feel a twinge of regret and longing.

As I somewhat mentioned before, I was a rhythmic gymnast back in high school. I competed under my high school's name but I trained in UP College of Home Kinetics, which I regarded as my second home then. My training schedule was like any other athlete's, brutal and left very little time for anything else other than academics. I gave up my weekends, my summer and even weekdays after school for my sport. My social life revolved around my teammates, coaches and the regular people we saw in CHK gym. I guess I wasn't a normal teenager because I didn't feel like I missed out during those years.

My biggest accomplishment was competing in the Milo Little Olympics, a national-level event. It was back in 1994 and I competed in three events. I got medals for two of the events and placed 4th in one. Sayang I don't have any pictures of me as a gymnast. Di pa kasi uso cellphones and digital cameras then. At least I have my medals to remind me of my heyday. My dad had them framed and they are still on display at his house. Nice, no?

I gave up gymnastics about a year after the Milo Olympics primarily to concentrate on my studies. I know it was the right decision (all my grades improved after I quit), but I would give anything to be able to go back and train and compete again.

I joined UP Pep Squad in my freshman year in college (actually, I joined the summer before freshman year started. I was a member even before I was officially enrolled in UP. Just saying). I got to sort of revive my athletic side and it was so much fun! Back then, the men's basketball team wasn't the cellar-dweller of the league as they have been in the recent years. In fact, they placed 3rd the year I was in Pep. Bongga no? I still remember the feel of cheer dancing at Araneta. It was an amazing rush of adrenaline to dance and cheer to the beat of the drums. Ibang-iba, I tell you, to be down there on the court and to look up at the stands filled with screaming and cheering students. It was exhilarating and exciting and nerve-wracking. Walang time to be hiya. Go lang ng go. And to cheer for a winning team? Doubly exciting! Sobrang saya!

Sigh. Those were the days. I really want to have another go, to relive those special moments when I was part of something so big and so amazing. I really want a second chance!

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