2008: The Year of the Filipino (In Sports)
At first glance, some (read: most) may see this title and say, "Seriously? The Philippines? In sports?" To those, I reply: dead seriously.
America is more racially diverse than ever. For those living entirely without media access, we just elected our first African-American president. Is the imminent domination of athletes with Filipino heritage that much more far-fetched? I think not.
To the many (read: few) who may only know the yo-yo and karaoke machines as Filipinos' most significant societal contributions, you are about to be served with a delicious helping of knowledge. Enjoy.
Leading off with a devastating, face-altering (shown above) jab to the face is none other than the Philippines' most famous son, Manny Pacquiao.
Despite moving up in weight far above his previous fights, Pac-Man used literally blinding speed and power that caused Oscar De La Hoya's left eye to swell shut.
De La Hoya's stoic non-response to his trainer's plea to throw in the towel after the eighth round said more than enough. The Golden Boy had simply been dominated by the diminutive Filipino.
Score: Filipinos, 1. Everyone else, 0.
Tim Tebow? Really? Him?
Don't let the "FLORIDA" t-shirt fool you. This is, in fact, Tim Tebow of the Florida Gators football team. He's the stud who was the first ever to win the Heisman as a sophomore and rush and pass for 20 touchdowns each in a collegiate season.
OK, so everyone knows that...
But despite his traditionally Anglo features, did you know he's Filipino?
Kind of. Tebow was born in the Philippines while his parents were stationed doing missionary work there. Moving back to the US as a toddler, Tebow spent the three summers before his first collegiate season back in the Philippines working with orphans.
If that weren't enough, Tebow returned yet again during a couple of collegiate spring breaks. Rather than creating "Tebow Gone Wild" at Daytona Beach, he chose to go to the Philippines to help orphans.
Is this guy for real? Tebow may not be Filipino by blood, but I'd say he's well deserving of the honorary Filipino title. Sweet.
Score: Filipinos, 2. Everyone else, 0.
Every Team Needs an Ace
That's right, folks. The awkwardly posed teen you see standing in what appears to be an entirely brown room representing the rich color of the Philippine soil has Filipino blood.
Disclaimer: The above statement was true, except for the soil part...
Tim Lincecum, out of the University of Washington, has been the lone bright spot in the otherwise not-so-bright San Francisco Giants' past two seasons. The winner of the 2008 NL Cy Young award, Lincecum's prodigious talent has nowhere to go but up.
Other teams beware: This Filipino flinger will dominate you.
Score: Filipinos, 3. Everyone else, 0.
Filling in the Gaps
At linebacker for our all-Filipino team, we have none other than three-time Super Bowl champion Tedy (one d) Bruschi!
Just look at him. Imagine: You're a running back that just found a small hole or a receiver running a short route across the middle...unfortunately for you, No. 54 just used his natural Filipino cat-quick reflexes and instinct to plug up the hole at the last second. BLAM! (getting up slowly...)
He's so tough, he doesn't even wear a regular helmet. Need proof? Look at the picture—it's a small, thin, black piece covering just the prime meridian of his scalp and his left ear. Those happen to be his only two weak points.
Score: Filipinos, 4. Everyone else, 0.
Whenever Natalie Coughlin comes to mind, the first words I think of are "gold medalist," "champion," "world record holder," and "one-quarter Filipina."
Hailing from the mean streets of Vallejo, CA, Natalie eventually gave in to the peer pressure and joined the most infamously menacing pool gang—the Big Tunas.
Unfortunately for Natalie, the saying "you can take the girl from the menacing pool gang, but you can't take the menacing pool gang out of the girl" is true, and she has subsequently been found at Bay Area YMCAs hustling patrons for money in backstroke drag races across the pool.
Whatever the case—she still dominates.
Score: Filipinos, 5. Everyone else, 0.
Author's note: I'm pretty sure only my first sentence was based on fact.
You Can Never Be Too Safe
The team is nearly complete. We have a boxer, a quarterback, a pitcher, a linebacker, and a swimmer. Done...until an epiphany came.
That's where Ernie Reyes Jr. comes in. Some may recognize him as "Donatello" in the first onscreen version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, while others may recognize him for his leading role in the Oscar-snubbed "Surf Ninjas."
Like Pacquiao, what Reyes lacks in height, he makes up in heart and good ol' fashioned moxie.
Sure, Ernie hasn't come out with a blockbuster movie in a while...but he has to keep a low profile to prepare him for his newest role: a dominating bodyguard for a dominating team of athletes.
Final Score: Filipinos, Dominate 2008. Everyone else, Got dominated.