More Than A Game

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The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi is officially over. For the past two weeks it provided the world something to watch. It was an entertainment to some, a distraction to others, and an inspiration to many of us.

There were notable moments in that Olympics. One instance of spirit of sportsmanship for me was when Russian Anton Gafarov crashed hard during the cross-country skiing competition, but he still tried to finish the race with a broken ski. He was really struggling, until someone came to his rescue and replaced his broken ski. It was not his Russian team but the skiing coach of the Canadian team.

Or who can forget the crushing upset of the US by the Canadian in the finals of women’s ice hockey? The American team was leading all the way, but Canada made 2 goals in the last 3 minutes of the game to equalize, and eventually winning it in overtime.

Or maybe you were just watching what Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir outfit would be. Besides their colorful reporting and commentaries on the sideline, they really were a fashion statement.

Being originally from the Philippines, one of the indelible moment for me, was just seeing a fellow Filipino compete in figure skating. Michael Christian Martinez, was the first Filipino figure skater, and even the first one from a southeast Asian country to compete in this specific Olympic event.  Coming from a country that never sees snow, just like the Jamaican bobsled team, he inspired us.

Filipino figure skater

Last Friday, as I was making my way to the Endoscopy suite of the hospital to do my bronchoscopy procedures, I passed through the Radiation Oncology department. In its waiting room was a television that was showing the live action of the semifinals of US vs Canada men’s ice hockey game.

Of course we all know now, that Canada won that match. For the Americans, better luck next time. It was said that President Obama lost a wager of cases of beer to the Canadian Prime Minister. There was even a funny news item that the unofficial bet on this game, was that the loser got to keep Justin Bieber. Darn!

Anyway, as I passed through that waiting room, I stopped for a moment to watch the game. It was already 4th quarter with only a few minutes left, and Canada was leading 1-0. I watched with hopeful anticipation that something exciting would happen. But no more goals were scored, and Canada won.

As I was intently watching the game, even for a brief period of time, I happened to look around and observe the people sitting in that patient waiting room. One, was a frail woman on a wheelchair. Another one, a cachectic-looking man hooked to a small tank of oxygen on his lap. And then another one, a middle-aged woman with a brightly colored bandana covering her bald head.

None of these people were paying attention to the televised hockey game. They were oblivious to the exciting action on ice unfolding in front of them. They don’t seem to care about the battle going on.

Why? Because they have their own battle that they were fighting. A fight that was more than a game. The stakes were more than medals made of cold metals. Where losers don’t get another chance.

I hope they win.

(*photo from yahoo news)

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