Limpag: SEA Games noise

Mike T. Limpag

THE noise these days makes me wonder if the use of social media was prevalent in 2005, would the pre-Southeast Asian Games noise be just as bad?

There were some hiccups for sure, but they were minor since there was no new infrastructure built for the hosting. The biggest snafu that I can remember was that of a team getting ferried to a venue on a dilapidated jeepney. That was quickly resolved when Ceres lent a fleet of buses to ferry the games athletes.

Ceres is doing that again now after Philippine Football Federation (PFF) president Nonong Araneta asked Leo Rey Yanson of Ceres for help and he did by lending the fleet’s best buses. That helped solve the problem of the football teams, who had to wait for the buses provided by the organizing committee and didn’t have dedicated buses.

And mind you, they expect one.

Majority of the noise has been about football and of Philippine media reacting to it. The airport and hotel snafus? They all involved the visiting football teams. The training venue and food issues? Ditto.

You see, these players—and the media that follows them—have wide following back in their home country, and naturally the complaints they raise are amplified.

Take the case of the post-match press con venue snafu. It wasn’t Philippine media who first raised it but the visitors. Why? Simple, I suspect that just like what they do in every Seag, they went to the venue early to check the post-match press con to get the lineup, charge their gadgets, rest and what-have-you.

And when they saw the venue, it shocked them, hence the tweet that blew. The PFF was unfairly dragged, with some pro-government blogger writing that the PFF insisted on calling for an urgent press con there and not in the prepared press centers. She added that a post-match press con can be held at the press centers since it is scheduled.

Jeez, there was no urgent press con and it’s called a post-match press con because it’s supposed to happen minutes after the match ends. You want to drag some poor player and coach who ran for 90 minutes to a venue kilometers away then drag him back to the locker room so he can change and leave with his team?

Anyway, the issues have been answered and since the games are yet to start—save for a few like football—the news cycle until the games officially open will be all about preparations.

Once the games begin, the noise will be drowned out by the achievements of our athletes and I’m pretty confident we can be in the top three or even win the overall title. It’s the power of the host—and no, it’s not because we are supposed to make the lives of the visitors miserable so they can’t beat us.

Our chances of winning the overall title were put in place in boardroom meetings, when they plotted the events and included arnis and dancesports, two events which we dominate. Arnis is only included when we host it.

After Saturday, the stories will be all about our athletes and the odds they overcome and I hope it will stay that way for the next two weeks. I think we badly need it.