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    Dear Kababayans, I hope your February has been a great month! Now that we  are in the month of March and that days are getting longer along with the time change, I hope you guys take the time to enjoy the season! Warmer temperatures are right ahead and we are all thankful for it! Last month David [...]

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Erwinism: When the Shot Clock Expires

Erwinism: When the Shot Clock Expires thumbnail

By Erwin D. Maramat

“I know we can’t all stay here forever so I want to write my words on the face of today and they’ll paint it.” ―Shannon Hoon, ‘Change’, Blind Melon

We were barely at the door when my wife blurted out, “Oh my God, Kobe is gone!” With a Cheshire grin, I glared at her and said, “No need to get alarmed, it’s probably just another hoax. You know how people are, they come up with such distasteful rumors to solicit attention.” There’s something wrong about that statement I wish was not true, but as it turns out Kobe Bryant’s untimely departure was real and I was shaken to the core upon unearthing the truth stuck on the screen of my phone which was as indelible as a bad dream. Fan? No. Hurt? Yes…I think the whole world fell silent for moment.

I don’t like Kobe. Not only is he arrogant on the court in my opinion but not so many years ago he was also embroiled in a controversy that I would rather leave you to seek and judge for yourself. I don’t like Kobe, but I don’t necessarily hate him, for one, I don’t know him on a level to qualify such judgment. I at just a spectator of the game at best and I hate the fact that all the teams and players I have ever rooted for fell to him when he was an active player in the NBA because he was excellent and pushed himself to be the best. This was made possible because of what he coined as ‘Mamba Mentality’ which utterly means that he works harder than everybody else to be not just the best but one of the greatest players to play basketball.

There was 4.1 seconds left on the shot clock when Kobe stepped off the court in a Lakers’ uniform, and with the clock winding down, it was clear that he was retiring for good and he did in a blaze of glory. Most fans were reduced to tears because they stood by him, win or lose. It wasn’t long before LeBron James surpassed him in all-time scoring and devastating as it is sad that just a day after that coincidentally at forty-one, he left the world leaving his best of fans in a state of shock.

Fare thee well so long

Hate to say goodbye to you

I can tell you’re gone

By the way I’m missing you

Don’t you realize you’re everything to me?

―Stone Temple Pilots, ‘Fare The Well’

I was in disbelief at what I was reading; Kobe and everyone on board plummeted to their doom. Fearless as he was,  I could only imagine the horror in his eyes and everyone on board as he tucked his daughter in his arms awaiting to succumb to the inevitable and it is not the fear for his own life, but the agonizing thought of vulnerability to protect her precious girl. I tremble in fear at this thought, for I too am a parent. The tragedy spoke volume of life, for one, it was apparent that all the money and the title in the world cannot save anyone when their time is upon them.

Who would have thought that such an ordinary day in the lives of people would end in misfortune? But we do take ordinary days for granted. In fact, there we look forward to seeing it end in most days. I realize that every waking hour is a gift that we as humans cannot overlook, because we just don’t know if we’ll be getting another one.

It had me ruminating about how short life is. It saddens me to think how we, as humans, take our relationships for granted and casual in doing so knowing that down the road it is bound to end whether we like it or not. It is tragic how we treat one another over petty squabbles, and we waste much of our time in pursuit of trivialities. We put so much value in things and neglect the connections we have for those valuable to us. We burrow deep down ourselves to bury the virtues that makes us unique so that we may tailor fit our images the way others expect it to be presented. I once came across a beautiful quote, ‘we only day once, but we get to live every day. But we deprive ourselves of life, because we fear rejection and we love to stay were we are comfortable; sometimes that’s not even the case; we stick to positions barely enough to sustain us because there we were told that there is no other way.

It makes me think about how when we are gone, our deeds we have left continues to live in the hearts of people. It had me reflecting about the power of passion we have harnessed becomes the fuel to get us where we desire and that we become the very same fuel that drives inspiration in people. All the words we surround our names with bears little weight when we are gone, and when we are gone, the world will move on. Some tell tales of themselves in hopes that they will be crowned hero; some are made legends by the virtues they selflessly enact.

It leaves a lingering afterthought of how living our lives become an interpretation of its beauty. It leaves the impression that the records we make, and break are not set in stone, but the memories we create with our loved ones are deeply imprinted in their hearts. Everyone has their eyes on the trophy. Everyone is obsessed with glory and the enduring royalties that go with it and who doesn’t want to bask under the warm light of success, I for one dream of such, but life in itself and when in our hands is all the trophy that we need. We sometimes neglect the fact that we have won something amazing simply by being here.

‘The moment you give up, is the moment you let someone else win.”

—Kobe Bryant

More than a can-do attitude, Kobe possesses the will to go beyond his limitations and for this reason his attitude is akin to winning. Where others yield, he blurs the line and go farther than any of them and those who understand the commitment to winning comprehend the power of perseverance. The minute you let your guard down, someone hungrier will pass you.

It leaves us the thought that there is a small window for us to work on being the best of who we are and doing the most of what we love and even a smaller window to share it with the ones we love. Greatness is evident in Kobe’s achievement and passion is vivid in his work ethics.

“Life is not always about winning; more than anything, it is the realization that you are victorious for living a life of freedom merited with love by those who hold you dear. It is the one trophy that goes in your heart’s trophy case—living is worth dying for.”

—Erwin D. Maramat, Erwinism

Nothing could allude to the truth that in the eyes of death, we are all equal. No amount of wealth, power or title can dispel mortality. It’s worth musing over the fact that if we love someone, it is a must to let them know how much they mean to us and it doesn’t take that long in a day and we have 31, 536, 000 seconds to say and prove it in a year, so what’s the excuse of not doing so? In a blink of an eye, those few seconds leading to the penultimate chapter of our lives may count the most.

Pain doesn’t tell you when you ought to stop. Pain is the little voice in your head that tries to hold you back because it knows if you continue you will change.

—Kobe Bryant

The shot clock is winding down and the deafening cheers of the crowd slowly fades into silence. Rising in crescendo, the ominous sound of consequence that falls on you and as you dribble you hear the leather ball beating on the floor in unison with your heart, and your heart—your heart is ablaze, burning with desire that your dripping sweat cannot quench. Everything stands still. The air in your lungs ebb and flow like an untamed ocean. Deep in the eyes of your defender, you sense both fear and relief, for the dying seconds will determine between you two who will be hoisted on shoulders and who will hang his head in defeat. The ring calls for you. The choice is yours.


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