Limpag: Helping hands

Mike T. Limpag

THE football chat groups have been largely silent since March when the local events got canceled one by one. Save for an occasional forwarded message regarding Covid-19, there have been few messages.

Then, a few days ago, a referee forwarded a fellow referee’s appeal for help. Unable to earn during the pandemic, he was asking for help for his maintenance diabetes medicines.

The pledges came quickly. Barely an hour later, he got six months’ supply, thanks to a generous individual who I shall not name. Two days later, a photo of the exchange, with the referee all smiles.

That made me proud to be a member of this football community, which has, time and again, shown its heart. Over the years, various fundraisers have been organized by its members for various causes.

There were the events held years back for the survivors of supertyphoon Yolanda and the Bohol earthquakes. There were events too, held for a fellow player and a child of a teammate burdened with medical bills.

And who could forget Football 101? That epic attempt to establish the world record by playing a match for 100 hours consecutively non-stop. The fundraisers combined the passion for the sport and to help, and they were successful.

Events like these warm your heart during this pandemic, a piece of good news in the days of mind-numbing tallies of Covid-19 numbers and deaths.

It’s not only football that showed its heart recently. The Paclanders, a group who prowled the mannypacquiao.ph forums of years back, banded together to help Z Gorres after his plight was written by Superbalita [Cebu] sports editor Jun Migallen.

Paclanders are a unique bunch, thanks to how they started. For years, Pinoy boxing fans joined the numerous boxing forums abroad until one exasperated Mexican boxing fan told them, “Why don’t you build your own forum?”

So, Dong Secuya built one, which soon became one of the top boxing sites in the world with fans of all nationalities—Mexicans included. They called it Pacland, after the country’s famous boxer. Of course, warring camps within the Pacman’s camp coveted the online real estate but for years, Secuya maintained it, and got in touch with the Pacman himself.

Eventually, he had to transfer and Pacland was no more. But the group showed they never lost their identity, showing up together to help Gorres, who barely survived his last boxing bout which came a day before Pacquiao’s fight against Miguel Cotto.

Helping hands. It’s good to have them at this time.