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‘The ball is round’

I’M NOT EXACTLY sure now when I first heard this. But I have three ‘periods’ of my life where I really dealt – or played with, those rubber (?) balls. And

THOSE ‘PERIODS’ WERE in my: Elementary, High School, and College days; nay, not in my primary school days – those times, I was either in-the-tail, kaon ixoixol, of my late mother (GRhs, God Rest her soul) – or my elder brother Pedro or Yambao, or ‘Yambi’ (GRhs, too).

I was only able to ‘manage’ my life when I was in Grade 5; then Grade 6 – after my Grade 4 Schooling in Tinongshan Proper. And the ‘ball’ connexion’?

WELL, IT STARTED this way. After Tinongshan, I came back to Binga for my Grade 5. I had my Grade 4 in Tinongshan because in Binga (named then as Baloy Primary School), there was only one teacher – Miss Umel, all my respects – wherever she’s now (amr – wsn); and she was handling Grades 1, 2, and 3.

CIRCA 1955, THE Binga Elementary School got established; and it was already ‘a quite complete’ one – six teachers for the six grades, with one Head Teacher, and a School Principal.

IN THOSE DAYS too, it was a time for schools to compete against each other – most notably in ‘ball’ games – Basketball, Volleyball, and Softball. I was one ‘tapped’ for Basketball, because of my height, they said.

WAS IT IN one of those sessions with our Coach where I first heard that Expression/EXPR ‘the ball is round’? Like earlier said, I can’t recall exactly. Anyway

[AFTER MONTHS OF being in the ‘Team’, my mom said to me in one of those rare serious talks: “my son, anak ko, maybe it’s better if you stop your Basketball xxx”. We both fell silent; but one other later, later night, she said: “observe those pupils playing (basket) balls – they don’t do well in their lessons sometimes.. they’re tired; or, too occupied, xxx”. I just kept quiet; but I promised myself: Yes, I’ll observe.

[ONE DAY, I told my Coach, I wanted not to play Basketball anymore – one reason was I was a shy-type one, i.e. when I ‘don’t make the shot’. A kind soul he always was, Coach smiled, winked a little, and said: ‘Yes, Morihei’!].

NEXT STOP WITH the ball thing: in High School – at the Immaculate Concepcion School (ICS); in Bokod Central, Benguet. It was one reputed C.I.C.M school in those days.

I NEVER BECAME a Basketball athlete, but I was a great fan; and enthusiast – especially when we had ‘athletic meets’; for reasons like: those ‘meets’ were for different schools, different ‘ethnics’, and so forth.

TO SPOT-ILLUSTRATE: there was that Bokod, Itogon, Kapangan (BIK) meet, held once a year – and to us, those were exceptional and exciting ‘moments. Pourquoi?

[IN MY PARTICULAR case, I was from Itogon, but those folks in Bokod were close relatives of my parents and grandparents. Besides, those from Kapangan were of a ‘different’ tribe: Kankana-eys; though there were Ibalois too]. And,

AFTER EACH OF the games – or ‘matches’, came the Conversations, the likes of: “Everybody thought STHS (Kapangan) will emerge Winner; why Sacred Heart (Itogon)? Or, “ICS (Bokod) was already ahead; why.. what happened? et cetera

AND THE REPLIES came: “The St. Therese (Kapangan) Coach kept tight Watch, we saw it; right?” Or, “one SHHS player got sprained; maybe that’s why!” Or, [but] this one:

“THE BALL IS round! They win, who win. Nobody knows.. and none can foretell!” [Much, much later]

IN COLLEGE TOO, let me talk of our P.E. classes. [I chose Basketball. Often, we heard that EXPR too, in our “little” class games. Ah-ha..

‘THE BALL IS round!’ And we may indeed pursue asking it now; viz. Is it:

ALWAYS? MOSTLY? OFTEN? Sometimes? – in every game, match, contest, event and so on? [What about in our Phil. Elections, cum reflections?].

AH, WHAT FOND memories the EXPR indeed brings! Ayo, Ayo, Ino!

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