Watching the Game

The NBA season is now in full swing, and you probably know already that I am a basketball fan. I enjoy watching as much as playing the game. (Read past post here.)

Iowa has no NBA team though. So if I want to watch a live NBA game, I need to drive north to Minneapolis that takes 3 hours, or go east to Chicago that takes 5 hours, or south to Oklahoma for 7 hours, or west to Denver for 9 hours. Those are the nearest locations I have. Of course I can always stay at home and watch it on TV.

We have decent college basketball teams in Iowa nonetheless. In fact, college basketball games may be more energetic and intense, as the players are younger and more fearless. But I am not in to college hoops. At least not that much.

I have seen a live NBA game before when we were still living in Florida. That was fifteen years ago. I got the chance to see the Orlando Magic twice, and for free too, courtesy of a friend of a friend who had season tickets.

However that was not my first time to watch a live professional basketball game. When I was still in the Philippines, I had a former classmate in high school who became a journalist. She invited me to watch a Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) game, as she had reserved seats as a sports writer. We were so close to the action as we were seated at the back of the scorer’s table. That was a real treat!

All those experiences were from a long time ago.

That’s why when the NBA came in town here in Iowa, I cannot resist the opportunity to see a live basketball game again. I bought tickets even if it was just a pre-season game.

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The seats that I got were near the court side that I can easily read the names of the players on their jerseys. It was close enough that I can even hear the coach during their huddle.

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But since it was a pre-season game, it does not have the intensity of a regular season game. And it definitely does not have the fever pitch excitement of a playoff or championship game. Although Giannis Antetokounmpo made a couple of spectacular dunks in that game.

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Anyhow, the more wild and high-flying action was during the intermission.

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Overall, it was a good enough experience for me.

In my opinion, nothing still beats the elation of playing the game yourself, rather than being a mere spectator. Even if the basketball game you were playing was just in the streets and you were bruising it out with your friends, or strangers from the other street. Those were the days I really miss.

(*photos taken with an iPhone)

Who is Tiagong Tigas?

I was watching an NBA game on TV the other night, when a flash of insanity (or genius) hit me. And it’s not even a full moon.

I wondered if NBA basketball players would play for the Philippines, would they take on a more local-sounding name?

Back in my childhood days, during Toyota vs. Crispa rivalry, and during Robert Jaworski’s heyday, an American import played for Toyota. His name was Andrew Fields. However we joked around that his adopted Filipino (Tagalized) name was Andres Bukid. As you know, San Andres Bukid is a district in Manila.

So here’s my list of Filipinized names of current NBA players:

1. Tiagong Tigas – James Harden (Houston Rockets)

2. Juaning Pader – John Wall (Washington Wizards)

3. Dong Tampisaw – Dwayne Wade (Chicago Bulls)

4. Esteban Sabaw – Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)

5. Gurang Kaladkarin – Goran Dragic (Miami Heat)

6. Atincupung, Ging-ging – Antetokounmpo, Giannis (Milwaukee Bucks)

7. Kebong Pag-ibig – Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers)

8. Jimeno Mayordomo – Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls)

9. Damong Luntian – Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)

10. Tonying Pumarada – Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs)

11. Kembot Lumakad – Kemba Walker (Charlotte Hornets)

12. Dekdek Bulaklak – Derrick Rose (NY Knicks)

13. Tiagong Biyak – Tiago Splitter (Atlanta Hawks)

14. Rodeng Bakla – Rudy Gay (Sacramento Kings)

15. Pablong Saksak – Paul Pierce (LA CLippers)

Can you think of anybody else? I like to hear from you.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Houston Rockets

(*photo from the web)

Life in the Fast Lane

We live life in the fast lane. Everybody is in a hurry-up mode. We have express lanes, express trains, express checkout, express mail, express delivery, instant coffee, instant noodles, instant messaging, fast foods, fast banking, fast cars, and anything you can think of, including express weddings, instant diploma, and fast money. All of these are designed to save us time.

Who has time, and who wants to wait anyway?

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The other day, I was really in a hurry. As I was preparing for the day, I hastily brushed my teeth and skipped the flossing (I know my dentist will not be proud of me) and was able to save about 2 minutes. I skipped breakfast altogether and shaved off another 15 minutes.

I zoomed down the Interstate pushing my car speed a little over the speed limit (OK it was only 5-9 miles/hour above the limit), and swerved through lanes, and was able to save about 3 minutes of commute. I arrived just in time for the early morning Grand Rounds. I snatched a banana at the foyer before entering the auditorium and ate it while listening in the meeting.

What followed the conference was a very busy day with lots of patients to see. During lunch I grab a fast-food type of meal in the hospital cafeteria and ate in front of a computer in the doctor’s lounge, while doing some of my paper works, office tasks and hospital documentation. I believe I saved about 20 minutes doing my work while eating (or inhaling?) my food, in my down time.

Call it fast (like Flash) or call it efficiency, but I did finish all my work in time and I was able to go home on time. Again I zoomed down the highway and again cut down 2 minutes of travel time. I am thankful that traffic in Des Moines does not crawl like in Manila, New York City or Los Angeles, where precious time are wasted sitting idle in traffic.

My wife asked me for an errand and so I stopped at the grocery store, on my way home. I was lucky for a car was pulling out of the parking lot and I slipped into its spot which was near the entrance, and thus probably saving 1 minute on searching for a parking slot. After getting what I needed at the store, I headed to the express checkout lane and saved 2 more minutes.

I arrived home safe and sound, after a fast and furious day. All in all, I saved 45 minutes during that day.

Now, what did I do with all those minutes saved? I spent it all – all 45 minutes, and then some more, another 75 minutes – in front of the TV! I usually don’t watch television much, but it is the NBA playoffs. At least, that is my excuse.

But this kept me thinking. Isn’t it ironic that we always complain that we don’t have enough time and yet we waste whatever time we have, recklessly? I think it is not as important how much time we save, than what we do to that time.

I really should spend my time doing more things of significance, like practicing that piano duet piece with my daughter, or work on my third language, so I don’t have to call the Spanish interpreter so often at work, or maybe just fix the long overdue pesky dripping bathroom faucet.

I will. After the NBA finals.

(*photo from here)