The Philippines Basketball team is playing at the FIBA World Cup Basketball in Spain. The Filipinos celebrates any moment they have to shine on a world stage, this world cup basketball is historic for the nation. If you are a student of history, theology and spirituality, perhaps you can see why I see how sports weaves the possibility of forgiveness, redemption and revenge.
The Philippines is a basketball-crazed nation ( the highest in the world per Capita). even though they have not qualified to play on the world cup the last three decades. Why?, for many reasons; one of them is Filipinos are short people in the game favoring taller people. Evolution in the past perhaps understands how adding another feet to verticalness would make living near the equator more challenging. Evolution (climate change?) now perhaps might be the reason why we qualified for the first time in the last three decades, maybe.
FIBA, the governing body for world basketball, for the first time allowed one naturalized citizen to play in any team. Andray Blatche, a 6’11 ft American N.B.A player was naturalized recently to help the Philippine team compete. The Phlippines lost 2 games with less than 5 losing points margin out from the last 3 games.
I wonder why and how the Philiippines’ basketball team qualified to compete again after all these decades. Is having a tall American player anything to do with it? Is it because the nations’ former colonizer is hosting the game ( of course not ) Perhaps, Colonialism makes sense.
I think the Philippines is on this odyssey so there can be forgiveness given to the two former colonizers – Spain and the USA- if the Philippines wins against Spain ( highly unlikely ) maybe they will forgive and get their revenge, and If they win against the Americans ( also highly unlikely) maybe they will not just forgive but would feel validated and recognized as a fellow crusader as well. The odyssey continues until one day they can feel no longer inferiors and perhaps better than (former) colonizers.
So this basketball crazed nation’s spiritual odyssey is taking the “redemptive purpose” from what was given to by Catholic Spain and Protestant America. So, the game of basketball is what?