I have always looked at myself as fortunate that I personally saw the fabled Crispa-Toyota rivalry in basketball in the 1970s.
More fortunate that in the late 70s, I finally got my first PBA pass and would always watch the games at the Araneta Coliseum, commuting from Paco to Cubao.
This gave me the opportunity to watch both basketball players and their horde of fans, the latter filling up the coliseum to the rafters and shouting their hearts out for their respective teams. If you were not for Crispa, you were for Toyota then. This was the time of unofficial fans’ clubs for both teams
And mind you, the Filipino basketball fans really knew basketball and could dissect any game before and after the game. The difference now is the emergence of social media.
Now, why am I reminiscing about the good old days?
Going through online postings, I found out a lot were from active fans of women’s volleyball, and there are a lot, believe me. The sport has risen in popularity, but ironically, only for the distaff side.
My problem is the way many volleyball fans express their feelings and thoughts about the different teams and individual players, with some even hiding behind pseudonyms or dummy accounts.
It is okay to say that ‘this player or those players should be on the national team.’ This is perfectly okay, but to bash those who were called to the national team and say that they are undeserving, that for me is below the belt.
That the national team, if it wants to be successful in international competitions, the fans’ choices should be followed.
Okay, a fact check shows the Top 3 teams in the world in the women’s side are the United States, Brazil then China. Also in the top 10 is Japan, then you have Korea at no.14, Thailand at no.17, Kazakhstan is number 21, Chinese Taipei at 37.
Continuing the breakdown of Asian countries ahead of us, India is 49, Hong Kong is 53, Iran at 59, Indonesia at 61, and Vietnam at 76.
The Philippines is ranked 117, together with a lot of other countries. And my point is that the inclusion of the favorite players of fans will not automatically make us successful. Do you believe at the Southeast Asian level, we can easily overtake Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand, what more at the Asian level?
Allow me now to get into individual players’ bashing, especially after the recent Premier Volleyball League, won by Chery Tiggo over Creamline, the fans of the losing teams started criticizing the other players for very small things, using cuss words.
Truth is, players are friends off the court.
Not all fans though. Some are level headed and call for a more appropriate behavior of their co-fans.
I got in touch with the two of the more popular players now, Jaja Santiago, and her sister Dindin, both playing for Chery Tiggo.
Jaja says she takes everything positively as far as online comments are concerned, learning even from the negative ones. Dindin does not even look at them during important games like being in the championship, but like Jaja, she takes everything positively, too.
I just hope volleyball fans take note of these observations and change their behavior.