Pages: Good news section

John Z. Pages

LAST Saturday, Feb 29, 2020. I stood before over 200 athletes, parents and coaches in SM City Cebu. The gathering was the annual “Cebu Sports Awards,” now on its 37th edition and jointly organized by the Cebu sportswriters and San Miguel Brewery.

In my opening remarks, here’s the full-length (and updated) version of what I told the esteemed group:

“The world today is filled with bad news. If you stare at the newspaper’s front page, the headline screams: 2 MORE COVID CASES RAISE PH TOTAL TO 5. When you flip to Page 2, the depressing words appear: 320 HOUSES DESTROYED IN MANDAUE CITY BLAZE. When you scan further to the news section, the story’s title reads: DOH RAISES ALARM ON RISING DENGUE CASES. Move to the Business Section and more alarming news awaits the reader: CEBU’S AIR TRAFFIC TO, FROM NORTH ASIA BOUND TO PLUNGE.

It’s all bad news.

“In newspaper stories, on Facebook, on CNN, listening over the radio, on social media — everywhere you read, listen and watch — it’s mostly bad news. From the scary Taal Volcano tragedy the other month to the horrifying Covid-19 daily eerie reports, it’s mostly dispiriting reports.

“But amidst all this bad news everywhere, there’s one section in the newspaper that’s different.

“It’s the Good News Section.

“Sports.

“Why? Because sports promotes triumphs; it speaks of ordinary people accomplishing things that are extraordinary. Sports makes people smile and say, Yes!

“Sports is good news.

“And who are the people behind the positive in this world full of negatives?

“It’s you, our dear athletes. Because of your achievements, we are able to write stories that will enliven our readers.

“You, dear athletes, provide the good news. Because of you, we’re able to read such happy headline stories like “DBTC BAGS 4 SINULOG CUP TITLES,” an article of how footballers younger than 13 are able to win. One headline reads: DIDAL IS SAC-SMB’S ATHLETE OF THE YEAR. It announces the top choice of 20-year-old Margielyn Didal, who recently won bronze in a Tampa, Florida skateboarding event. She won gold medals in the 2018 Asian Games and the 2019 SEAG. Another story is entitled, PINOY BOXERS KO THAI OPPONENTS.

“Dear Athletes, you inspire all of us. Your positive impact is profound. Your struggles to overcome obstacles and your triumphs move us to clap and cheer and feel good.

“Thank you. Congratulations! And continue the hard work and perseverance to do well.

“You might be the only good news that people read about today.”