Year in Review: Brawn, Burnout, Balls, Bills

We are going to ring in a new year in less than 3 hours.  2011 has been full of adventures, fun, and different kinds of emotions.  Not everything’s good but it’s just the way you look at it, right?  We’re still alive so that’s wonderful.

Credit for Tigger's image goes to http://www.tiggerman.com. Text and modifications are mine.

This year tested my strength and patience in many different ways.  The homefront is good as we speak but let’s just say there are “adult” issues that we have to go through at some point.  I handled it the way I knew how so I guess I’m ready for whatever curve balls will be thrown my way again.  I can’t say I’m totally strong and unbeatable but you know, I’m always ready.

Perhaps one outstanding memory of 2011 is my experience with Typhoon Pedring.  Flooding isn’t strange to me having lived in the Philippines my entire life.  However, I don’t wish to go through it again, in the same vein that I wish the devastation caused by flooding don’t happen in Milenyo/Ondoy/Pedring/Sendong magnitudes again.   Mahirap.

Speaking of hardship, is it just me or is 2011 a hard year, financial-wise?  I don’t know what happened.  However, above it all, I’m thankful that I’m still employed.  I receive a modest salary that pays my bills, takes care of my debts, puts food on the table, and allows me to enjoy little forms of luxuries.  I’m hoping that 2012 will be breezier!

A little of my money this year went to tuition fees for my Spanish classes.  I stopped at level 9 this month and I don’t know if i’m going back soon.  It’s been fun and even if I am not as sobre saliente as anyone in my course level is expected to be, I learned a lot already.  I have new friends beyond the halls of Instituto Cervantes.  And yeah, I think I can survive in Spain already if I go there.  IF. 🙂

Lastly, I got to say that I’m always thankful for new things I learned and dabbled into, and for 2011, it’s football.  I started totally clueless and yes, I will admit that for the most part, it’s boy-watching and getting dragged by hype.  However, games after games, I can say  that it is something that I love to watch and follow; play, maybe not anymore.  I may not be as hardcore as the others (many of whom are my friends now!), I may not dissect games as thoroughly as they do, but I understand it now.  They say it’s easy to be a backseat coach and more than 10 games later, more than half of which I’ve seen live, I can already give my two-cents’.  The most important of all is how it ignited more my pride for the Philippines.  I won’t go into “defending” the Philippine Azkals because it’s futile – haters will be haters, and I choose to stay in that sphere where the team is appreciated and just respect those who do not like what has happened to football in the Philippines.  Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that, homegrown or foreign-bred, when they play for the flag, whatever the outcome, it makes me very proud.

I can still vividly remember how amazing it was when Stephan Schrock scored our lone goal versus Kuwait in the World Cup qualifiers.  Or when Joshua Beloya scored 2 goals at the tailend of the game versus Laos in the SEA Games.  Our national team is still very young so it needs all the support it can get.  Of course I say the same for all sports.  As for me, when it’s game time, it’s not anymore personality-driven.  It’s the Philippine team.  What I mean is, (and I’m speaking as a terrible near-sighted person) when they go to the pitch, I no longer recognize who’s doing what.  I just see “follow” the color of the jersey and squeal and jump in delight when they play well, and react the same way when they don’t.   That’s just for the national team!  When we break them down, we get our professional football league , and that’s where more raw action can be found.  Most recent highlights I could think of were the UFL championships.  I was lucky enough to be there when Meralco Sparks rose from a 3-0 disadvantage to advance to the finals by snatching the win from Kaya FC with 3-5.  It was heartbreaking for Kaya fans and supporters (like me) but I couldn’t deny it was a fantastic game.  The championship game was notches higher in intensity with the win of Air Force Raiders versus Meralco Sparks.  They were both amazing teams but you got to hand it to the Air Force (all homegrown, mostly Ilonggos), their goal-keeper Tats Mercado, and perhaps, a stroke of good luck.  Each goal intercepted, each play formed, amazing.  We can only look at each other in awe.  My friend Christian was even teary towards the end and I couldn’t blame him for it.

I could go on and on about this.  I really might do this again for a new UFL season is kicking off in a few weeks.  For now, I can say it’s been a great year.  I wouldn’t trade my football-related experiences for anything (I mean, meeting LA Galaxy team captain Landon Donovan up close, for one, is something already).

Overall, 2011 has been a great one.  Is it the same with you?

Next: Year in Review: TV and Movies / Books / Races / Travels / My Lovelife (whether you like it or not :)) <– Kidding on this one.

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