9/21/2008
Smells like school spirit

My first brush with the supposedly fabled La Salle-Ateneo rivalry - I had to write it that way, for that sheds obvious light on where I'm speaking from - came when I was but an innocent high school boy. I'd see one of my older cousins, Alvin, endlessly root for the Archers despite him being a student of nearby CSB. Well, that still counts, since the Archers and the Blazers are sibling teams, and whenever a UAAP game is happening during a visit to the paternal side of the family, you can expect everybody to rally around the cramped living area of my grandparents' house and watch the action unfold.

I watched intermittently, blissfully unaware of what the rivalry is all about (or whether it actually existed at all). I only remember now watching entire games because the temperature in the first floor can get so hot because everybody's there watching television. It seemed a bit funny to think, then, that I'd end up as a Lasallian student myself - something my mother was proud of, as she occasionally made light of Alvin's weirdly-placed support for DLSU.

But the rivalry was never on the top of my list. For me, it was just one of those things that spiced up university life, and provided one the opportunity to have something to talk about. I was surprised, then, after this little exchange during LPEP's first day.

"Bakit kayo nag-enroll sa La Salle?" our student facilitator, Arwin, asked.

A few hands went up, perhaps because of first-day shyness. One of them was from this eternally-preppy girl with chinky eyes, who we'd soon learn to be Ale.

"Ako, dahil sa Green Archers," she said with a laugh. Almost instantaneously, other hands went up, stating the same reasons.

Eventually, the (sometimes excessive) importance on our varsity teams' performance, and importantly in getting another one-up on our fabled rivals, sinked in. One can only realize why the pep rally is a big thing, for one. Perhaps it's because I had different intentions for entering DLSU, or any other university for that matter - I'd probably descend towards bookish geekiness if I continued being so innocent about it. Eventually I learned to cheer for my beloved athletes - and beyond basketball, if you count Celine's stint with the Lady Spikers - but my involvement remained with finding out the scores and keeping track of a few statistics. There's the pep rallies, which are unavoidable anyway. There's the victory party last year. Then there's Sir Ronda, my dance teacher, who put the entire thing in a perspective that agreed with mine: "basketball lang yan."

I was a Lasallian student for three years, and in each of them things turned out differently. We lost to FEU (if I remember correctly) when I was a frosh, and I half-shrugged the story. A year later, we found ourselves suspended in the UAAP for a year, and while the blinded blue diehards celebrated, I wondered why we still had a pep rally. Of course, there's last year, where we defeated a seemingly invincible UE by sweeping the final series - and by then I was already a screaming fan, at least towards a projector inside a deserted Z2, fresh off the retreat, and watching the game out of mercy.

Now I'm back outside, looking in again, I still don't understand what the fuss is about. I've got a few minutes before the game at the Araneta Coliseum begins - the Archers and the Eagles fighting (again) for the men's basketball trophy - and I'm surrounded by nervous and frantic, yet online, fangirls. Everybody remembers the big "issue" that came with tickets running out three hours after selling began, and the ensuing "does anybody of you have tickets, puhleeease?" blog entries that I've learned to just disregard. And me, well, I'm still that person who couldn't care less, when everybody's living rooms are cramped with fighting fans, unless they're cramping the 20,000 or so seats at the Big Dome. I expect the venue's filled to capacity, and I expect to sweat again, even if I've never seen a game live, and never think about it at all. Almost six years after that first exposure, it's still something I've never understood.

And your responses...

admu ako. haha sorreey :D

i read kanina sa broadsheet, there's this lady na nag-auction ng ticket sa ebay, 50,300Php. thats freakin too much for a game.

its just basketball,i know. pero kung girl ka, may kasunod na statement yan.. its just basketball, with bunch of hot guys. :)

maierhofer is hot.. :)

but then again, ADMU ako. :)

pero, technically, ITS JUST A BASKETBALL GAME. TT_TT

Anonymous alyn9/22/2008     

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