Saturday, May 09, 2015

Wizards in Post-season 2015

Washington Sports is alive once again this season! Both the professional hockey and basketball teams of the Nation's Capital have reached the post-season. The Washington Wizards, DC's basketball team, has beefed up its roster during last summer and brought in veteran reinforcements like the future Hall-of-Famer Paul Pierce. Thanks to that and other factors like the maturity and leadership of point guard John Wall, the Wizards spend their second consecutive spring to play for the NBA playoffs. 

I was able to watch the first home game of the Wizards' playoff run vs. the kings of the north, the Toronto Raptors. The Wizards pulled away win a win this night, giving them a 3-0 advantage over the  Raptors. We were at nosebleed section and the arena was packed with fans donning the red, white and blue shirts that were given for free that night.

Wizards in Post-season


I'm still awed by the sight of tulips planted in the streets. From where I came from, we put tulips in refrigerators to maintain their freshness in time for someone to purchase and give them to their loved ones. I have bought these precious tulips from the store before and even when they are refrigerated and well taken-care of, never have I seen those tulips as lovely as what I see now in the streets of DC.

Street Tulips

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Last day of Peak

On its last day of peak, I told Bubbles I needed to take a few more shots of the beautiful Sakura trees. And so we did.

DC was still packed with tourists even if it was a Monday. The road to the Tidal Basin was moving slow and the sun was setting fast. And so we decided to just take pictures of the cherry trees near the Memorial Bridge.

Cherry Sunset

Rawlins' Magnolias

Like the Sakura Cherry Trees, the pink flowers of the Magnolia trees bloom for a limited time. Rawlins Park in 18th Street is lined with Magnolia trees and its bloom signals the peak of the beautiful season of Spring.

Rawlins' Magnolias

WB-IMF Spring Meetings 2015

Spring Meetings 2015

2015 Cherry Blossoms

I have taken hundreds of photos of the Cherry Blossoms but I still wanted to go out this year to take some more. And so I did. 

This year I did not go to the usual spots at the Tidal Basin. I decided to instead take photos of Sakura trees in not too busy areas like the Memorial Bridge and the ones near the Philippine Embassy. The photo below was taken near the Embassy. 

Sakura 2015

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Five Tweets I Decided not to Post about the Pacquiao-Mayweather Fight

As a die-hard fan, the past two days have been difficult for me to recover. After five years of waiting, Manny Pacquiao finally faced a formidable opponent in Floyd Mayweather, Jr. There was enough hype to push ticket prices to sky-high proportions. Pay-per-view rates went up 70%, while networks from the Philippines have decided to set aside professional differences and simultaneously provided delayed coverage (to give way to malls and restaurants who needed to make millions for this fight). I have been waiting for this fight all my (fan) life, and finally, last Saturday, they met. They fought. And of course, I don’t need to tell you again who won the fight. And after that, I couldn’t seem to move on.

They say that it is not good to write or say things at the heat of your anger. It normally blocks some of your thoughts, clouds judgement and unleashes words that are not meant to be said. To be honest I almost did say these things to my -100 followers in Twitter, but then I held off. I did say a few things but none of them were really hate words. Then after a couple of days, when I was back to my sane self, I decided to give my unsolicited, unwanted write-up of the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.

I know, it’s a bit too late. People have already provided opinions. I have no other new things to add given that I only watched in the comfort of my friend’s home. I do not have any insider information on what actually happened before, during and after the fight. I don’t want to write an uninteresting writeup. But then why stop now after I have endured to watch a rather uninteresting fight?? So here goes.

To give a different flavor to my short essay, I will just share the top five tweets and updates I would have written during the heat of Saturday night’s, but decided not to. This ended up with my justifications, realizations and reflections about that fight. So below are the top five tweets I would have written: 

5. “Mayweather, you’re a cheat!” – To be honest, I wanted to lash out this sentence just because. Remember as a kid when you were playing a game and then you kept losing because you were can’t get better like the other boys, then you just lash out “you bunch of cheats!” In Filipino terms, “ang daya naman.” I may have found them cheats, or maybe then I thought life was cheating on me for losing. That was the same way I felt when Mayweather was dancing around, dodging the punches and hugging Manny while getting the chippy points here and there. He didn’t actually cheat, but he mastered the art of pushing the legalities of the boxing rules to the limits. And I hated him for it.
On the other hand, we can also argue that Mayweather “cheated” into luring Team Pacquiao into a lopsided fight based on TMT’s self-imposed rules. But then again, it was agreed by both parties to be this way. And that is for finally agreeing to the highest offer of the split: 40% of the total earnings, giving Pacman the biggest purse of his boxing career. $120 million in exchange for all the demands? I’d also say “Be my guest!”

4. “What a boring match!!!” – I don’t actually watch Mayweather fights because I was told they are the most boring fights ever. After watching Mayweather in full 12 rounds, that was when I realize what my friends say about him being boring. Like I said in the previous failed tweet, he did play by the rules. But then, the rules are not really meant to make boxing exciting and fun. If we ever need to blame somebody for boring fights and fighters like Mayweather, boxing rules should be changed. Like for example, there could be added point deductions for clinching more than two times per round. People have started changing rules in other sports like baseball and it would make more sense to start doing the same for boxing. We have to save the sport to save those behind them: fighters, promoters, networks, arenas like Las Vegas, those employees, etc.

Barbaric as it may seem, boxing is a rough sport and people would pay more to see more blood. That is the mere reason why Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is already overtaking the boxing box office sales. You want to take out the boring side of boxing, then alter the rules. If not, then you would still produce undefeated snorers like Mayweather and Rigondeaux.

3. “Mayweather you running and clinching a**h*le!” – This tweet would simply be stating the obvious from the first day they agreed to enter into the ring on May 2nd. To violently comment on Mayweather running around the ring and clilnching is like complaining that Michael Jordan is shooting more than blocking shots in any one Chicago Bulls game. Everybody knows how Mayweather plans to fight and plans to win. And as expected, he stuck to his game plan. At the same time, everybody knows how Manny Pacquiao fights like a punching maniac and how his punches go from different angles. They have two unique game plans. The only difference is that last Saturday, one fighter stuck to the game plan and flourished, the other was not very successful.

This is not to put the blame on Manny for not exerting more, but then based on boxing statistics you can see who failed to do his homework. It could be the reported shoulder injury and the said Nevada Commissions ban for Manny to use the painkillers and vitamins. Then again, we go back to tweet number five. 

2. “Mayweather robbed me of my money!” – I wanted to tweet this after watching a (expectedly) boring fight. A hundred bucks for pay-per-view vs. the usual seventy and all I get is this?! But then again I came back to my senses and read back tweet number five.

1. “Pacquiao should have won that fight. Judges are blind!” – Pacquiao felt he won the fight because Mayweather did nothing. Evander Holyfield felt Manny did a pretty good job and should have won the fight. They were both partially correct. Yes, Manny did great and he deserved to be a winner. But then again, this is boxing. Manny Pacquiao is no doubt the better fighter, but Mayweather came out the better boxer.

Mayweather is a boxing Olympian. In the Olympics, the objective is not how strong you punch, but how accurate you connect. In a very short 3-round match, you need to practice not endurance, but jabbing accuracy. With helmets and very soft gloves, the intention is how you really score, and not how you go for the kill. Mayweather is an Olympian. Manny Pacquiao is a warrior. That is why Mayweather won the scorecards, but Manny won and will always win the hearts of fans around the world.

It was a sad, sad day for boxing fans from the Philippines and around the world. We have grown so fond of Floyd Mayweather’s irritating antics that the quest for finding a match has been a worldwide crusade. At some point in time  But then when that time came and the fight of the century happened, Manny fell short of a victory and supposed boxing “villain” still lurks with his devilish grin and now with a unified title around his waist.

But then, life goes on. I will always and forever be a big boxing fan, a big Manny Pacquiao fan. I think it will be difficult to develop a fighter like him and I’m afraid I will never in my lifetime see another Filipino fighter of this magnitude. Manny fought a great fight May 2nd. The result may not be what most wanted, but then the mere fact that Pacman has touched many hearts and minds with his skills, determination, and his story of success and faith, that in itself is a big W for us Filipinos. Maraming Salamat at Mabuhay ka Manny!

What now of the storied rivalry of MayPac? Will we ever see them in the same ring again? Probably not. Will we want to see them both in the same ring again? Probably not.