8/20/2007
The man on the sidelines

I rarely get to watch NFL games on television, but somehow I have managed to understand how the game is played. Since halfway through high school the yards and the lines of scrimmage have made sense to me, to the point that when I started to watch AFL games (when it was still broadcast here some summers ago) I actually enjoyed it. But one thing that I can't seem to remember is the reason why coaches in the bigger games - I'm talking about the NFL again, just in case you need guidance - wear those fancy headsets, as if they're isolated to their own world despite obviously not being such. I think it has something to do with communications. At least I remember that every time I see them walk around one side of the field, their headsets always come from Motorola.

It must take someone a lot of effort to get up there and be a football coach, and the same obviously goes to other sports coaches, from the great Red Auerbach to our very own Franz Pumaren. Everyone starts somewhere, surely. Before you can lead something you have to start from the very bottom and pick up lessons as you go. Only then can you get your future subordinates' trust, and you can become, at the least, respectable in whatever you're doing.

I think I've gained a reputation as one who gives, well, surprisingly good advice to people. Off the head I'll cite Clarence's testimonial a couple of years back: "he'll be right there when I'm feeling left out." Well, probably that wasn't a very close example, but I certainly remember the weeks we've spent in the early parts of our college lives texting each other about whoever and whatever. (Or why I was her "boyfriend" before she eventually had one and didn't feel any more left out. But that's another blog entry in itself.) And I think you're no stranger to my constant wondering about how, despite not having any previous experience whatsoever, I manage to give surprisingly good advice to people, and they still somehow flock to me, much like when the coach calls a time out and the players come to him. So much respect, it seems, for the man on the sidelines.

The funny thing is, I think I've become incredibly smug with it, or maybe it's because I can sense when something is starting to go awry on the basis of what people invisibly refer to whenever they're online. Or maybe because I've had far too much time on my hands to actually take notice almost every time. Sometimes I actually get annoyed at myself for constantly asking whether something is wrong - like me mistaking Marielle for thinking she's useless when she's actually referring to the class suspensions - but there's still a thrill, still a breath-taking thrill in showing compassion when you don't really have to. An act of random kindness, if you may.

I somehow managed to smirk silently at Sarah's reply to my comment. "I am back!" she exclaimed. "It's time to be emo again."

The avid followers would probably know that there have been so many times when I thought somebody else got what I thought I must have had in the first place. As of late I'm also believing that, in the first place, I should've done something before I get permission to whine. I guess the consolation, however evil it may seem, is to be the support group when one is almost certain to fall down, and be ready with the net to catch. For so many times, I have reprised that role. For so many times I have managed to put close to heart the many things I could've done if I was like the average guy who's fairly assertive and is good at wooing some girl to his side of the fence, even if it takes lying, and lying terribly. Maybe it's the fact that I'm almost literally surrounded by those who carry such a burden - okay, girls - and, for some reason, I'm perfectly situated to launch a rocket into space, to take a risk and just spill what I feel at the click of a button.

And no, I'm not insinuating something. I'm not in a position to do so, especially in a world where everybody loves to think I'm bitter about something, anything and everything. But, as always, it amazes me, to think that after all the fuss of, say, stumbling over matching outfits and hiding what has to be said, before I eventually reveal it in a school project, I end up being part, if unofficially, of the support group, there to offer a sympathizing, or maybe understanding, tone whenever it's needed. It takes the shortest quirk to launch a thousand thought bubbles. "It's confusing" is all I ended up saying, and bingo, it's as if I felt nothing at all. Much like feeling a lot when you're in a compromising situation, actually, only much more compromising because of all the forces unaccounted for.

And, Lizette, I'm apologizing as early as now for having to refer to this, but it's very much like me being told, halfway out of the blue, that the relationship is off. And a day before I was the support group, listening (if you could call it as such, since you don't hear anything else but keyboards clattering when you're chatting) to the rants, and wondering why I was the sounding board. But, really, I thank everyone for trusting me, probably because I'm the only one there, or surprisingly yet, I'm the one they need.

But it always occurs to me. I don't really have anything much to say. In fact, I can barely make sense of the stories they send in, and yet, like that guy with the headset in the sidelines, who apparently isn't really the man in command, I get relied on, and I manage to say what I think. But sometimes I end up wondering about what would happen if I was on the other side of the picture. You know, the guy that's causing the problems and the heartaches, the very reason why they go to me in the first place. And you picture yourself on the laying field, with the players that are talking to you at this moment. Everyone having fun. Productive, conducive, fulfilling fun.

I'm sure the coaches have played the game before the could stand there and become the other go-to guy. That's why they deserve all the respect that they're getting. On the other hand, all I always think of is a scenario where I could have been causing the problems, or optimistically yet, not causing it. Sure, my advice is there to make people somewhat happy, but the choking aspect with compassion is fearing that you're not giving enough.

But, well, they're random thoughts. I'm the fussiest person you know, after all. If only the playing field was really equal...

And your responses...

im not too familiar with football but i guess the reason those coaches have headsets is that they have reports coming from a lot of other people. coaches cannot be know-it-alls. they also need input from other people to make better advices.

and yeah, it's a nice feeling to be consulted, to be trusted. it feels like being given some worth, some purpose.

Anonymous ~8/20/2007     

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