Wednesday, May 11, 2005

An (Ex?)Activist Learns Golf

Red, my law partner, and I have decided to learn golf. This announcement will surely come as a surprise to people who once knew me as an activist of sorts, or at least, a proponent of alternative lifestyles. Whatever happened to the cause of the oppressed? But before they condemn me as a sellout to the establishment, let me tell them why I have taken this inevitable turn in my sports life.

First, I have come to realize that I will never become a basketball superstar. Thirty four years of shooting the hoops hasn’t gotten me anywhere. I have yet to win a championship in any of the leagues that I joined, not even in the neighborhood ligas in my boyhood Barangay Quirino 2-B in Quezon City. My best finish ever was fourth place overall, and it ended with me shooting and missing a couple of free throws that could have been the winning shots for my team. That’s a highlight by the way, because most of the time, I was warming the bench.

I still play basketball, most of the time with my kids in our garage. But my sons, Juancho and Hans, have gotten better at it that I end up losing in our shootouts, and get heckled at by these babies. "Tell me Tatay who's the hotshot?," they jeer me 'til bed time. Indeed, as Kobe Bryant knows by now, losing stinks. The message is clear. Basketball is going to be just a spectator sport for me. I can try jolens or I can try golf.

Second, in this country, golf is not a sport, it’s a trade. There is a story that the biggest corporate takeover in the last few years involving the acquisition of the controlling stake in PLDT, the crown jewel of the Philippine corporate world, was sealed in the golf course. And there have been countless times that golfing clients called me in the middle of their games about documents that I needed to immediately draw up to seal a transaction they closed while playing golf. There was one occasion that I had to bring documents for signing in the seventh hole, and I looked odd in my white barong and leather shoes, documents in tow, braving the heat in the middle of the green. And to golfing professionals, a deal as big as the PLDT sale is just one of many deals that can happen in a day. And you see them smiling at you as you come to the green in your business attire, deed of sale in your hand, wondering how much money you make running after golfing businessmen. You could actually hear Rod Stewart singing “Some guys have all the …”

Third, it feels good to whack a ball with a club. Try it with your broomstick and your left shoe. For the most part of my life, I have lived a non-violent life. What's the Mahatma Gandhi word ? -- ahimsa or active non-violence. Whenever confronted with over-bearing clients who think they are God’s gifts to my firm, I smile at them and bill them like they were indeed God’s gifts to my firm. I have managed to remain polite with associates who couldn't get their subjects to agree with their verbs. I have been patient with corrupt judges and continue to address them as “your honor” -- although sometimes, in my left brain the syllable “dis” is spoken allowed, as in “Your (dis)Honor.” Prosecutors, who come unprepared in hearings and ask for repeated postponements, take some heat from me, especially when my clients are languishing in jail. But at the end of each tirade, I manage to shake their hands, and tell them, it’s not their fault, but the system’s. These people deserve a whack. But my education restrains me a lot. So, you can imagine the catharsis I get whenever I whack a ball with a club, and it flies way up in the air without complaint, obedient as I have been to the “slings and arrows of outrageous” people. Imagination has its rewards.

In my mind, I still am an activist and a proponent of alternative lifestyles. Most of the causes that I fought for have been lost, some of them I believe, have been abandoned and left for me alone to carry on. I still feel for the oppressed. But age makes you a little less agile, a little less angry, a little less sad, a little more playful, a little more open to the ways of leisure, and a little more creative in your protests. And I don’t know how. But as I approach middle age, with club and ball in hand, I vow to keep the lost causes of my life. Who can possibly tell? Maybe golf can bring the championships I never won? I’d be okay, though, if at least, golf would come with the accounts that I never had -- the San Miguel takeover would be fine, thank you. But the real treat is when I hit the space between the ground and the ball, and the ball bellows as it flies up in the air with the faces of the assholes of my day.

14 comments:

Punzi said...

Pwede bang mag-apply na taga-maneho ng golf cart?

Anonymous said...

Golf is easily accessible nowadays. You don't even have to buy membership into clubs. You just have to pay 350 to 500 pesos for 18 holes. Great isn't it? Driving range charge about 150 pesos for 50 balls. As for golf clubs you can buy second hand ones for around P4000-P7000, depending on their condition. For a beginner, you just need about 5 clubs, not the whole friggin set.

marvin said...

Punzi,

Why don't you join us in our post work day visit to the driving range once in a while? We still don't know if we're doing it right. Maybe you can teach us.

Anonymous,

Somebody once told me that golf mught as well be the second most popular sport in this country. That's why the prices have really gone down.

rolly said...

If you could always imagine the faces of those "outrageous misfortunes" in lieu of the ball, I'm sure, you'd hit the ball as far as the green no matter if it was a par 5. Baka hole in one pa.

marvin said...

Tito Rolly,

That's assuming of course, I can hit the ball. Medyo mahirap pa, minsan strike three, and the ball is still staring me in the face. Lalong nakakapikon.

Punzi said...

My father and I swatted a few when I returned home last year. A little rusty but got the hang of it again. Still have difficulty with the woods pero sa irons ok pa rin.

Hire a pro for a few hours because if you learn it wrong the first time, it may be difficult to unlearn it. SMS me when you go out, I may join you. Sana malapit sa amin...

Anonymous said...

Golf courses use up acres and acres of prime land that could have been farms or resettlement areas. The greens take massive volumes of water and some very harmful fertilizers to maintain. Golf courses in and around Metro Manila drain the water away from residential areas. The fertilizers poison the water table.

I admire your determination to stay idealistic and compassionate in the cynical circles you move in. We all have to compromise--and relax-- in one way or another. But sometimes the compromises are too huge to be rationalized. Mag-tennis ka na lang.

marvin said...

Thanks Anonymous. Don't you have a name? You sound like somebody I know.

TECHGUY (hinde guapo pero medyo bastos) said...

Hi Marvin, I have worked with PLDT before, we as lower management to higher echelon were encouraged to learn and play golf in PLDT, those who
get along with the idea, get the VP level in no time, me, I left and went to Canada, cause i didn't like the idea of playing golf just to accompanied big honchos there, yes you are right PLDT deal are always decided on the green, and the big one was cemented on a helicopter ride, eventually i learned to paly golf here in toronto, ciao, teeing time...nice to be in your blog...

marvin said...

Thanks for the comment techguy. As the cliche goes, "If you can't beat them, ..."

TECHGUY (hinde guapo pero medyo bastos) said...

siyanga pala i email you lasy year regading Director Ludovice, he was my classmate in Caloocan High School, maybe as a lawyer you may have contacts in Ombudsman, thanks for helping me, to get an contact email in
Ombudsman regarding Director Ludovice
http://research.ombudsman.gov.ph/about/top_officials.html

Anonymous said...

Yes I have a name but I don't think we know each other. We were at UP roughly around the same time but I went on an applied science course.

I'm not an activist, not anti-capitalist. I lived 10 years next to a golf course which sucked the water supply from my neighborhood and the slums nearby. Poor people had to buy water from trucks just so that golf course could exist for the leisure of a few. So no, it's not the wisest use of resources that I know of and it stands for everything that's wrong with our country. I would never step on that frigging lawn even if I can very well afford it. If you want to play golf, that's fine. Just don't try to justify it so much.

marvin said...

Techguy,

I hope I was able to help you. I don;t remember if actually replied.

Anonymous,

I didn't go to UP, and I regret not having done so. Thanks for your views.

marvin said...
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