“What is it they want from the man that they didn’t get from the work? What do they expect? What is there left when he’s done with his work, what’s any artist but the dregs of his work, the human shambles that follows it around?” WILLIAM GADDIS
By Alex P. Vidal
In 1992 when I won the Nike Marathon Media Fun Run at the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand in Iloilo City, there were two runners who actually finished ahead of me: Erwin Chiongson and Julius Padilla.
Erwin, who sprinted to the finish line like a zebra, breasted the tape unmolested first. He was followed by Padilla, then utility personnel of DyRI Radyo Agong (now RMN Radyo Mo Nationwide). I was satisfied with a third place.
But, lo and behold, a commotion erupted in the finish line while we were clearing the cobwebs. I saw our friend, event organizer and Cebu Freeman columnist Raffy Uytiepo, shaking his head while Erwin was arguing with race organizers. Not far was Julius, who was a picture of disbelief.
They were disqualified. I was declared the winner!
Race organizers asserted the fun run was for working media practitioners only and Erwin, they insisted, was a bodybuilder and owner of Winner’s Gym. Julius admitted he was not a full-fledged reporter but a “trainee” of the radio station. “It’s OK importante naka exercise ‘ta,” he gamely submitted.
Erwin insisted he was also a journalist because he contributed sports columns in the defunct Western Visayas Daily Times. His assertions, however, fell on deaf ears.
In fairness to our friend, Erwin, race organizers did not specify that sports contributors were not qualified. They were guilty of estoppel for allowing Erwin and Julius to sign up for the race only to disqualify them when they won.
But that is already water under the bridge. Uytiepo, an amiable and dyed-in-the-wool marathoner and sports scribe rolled into one, remained to be our friend and is still active in sports until today.
I admit I could never beat Erwin and Julius in any marathon again.
After reviewing some journals and videos related to the FIFA World Cup, we stumbled into a feature story about France’s Zinedine Zidane, author of soccer’s dirtiest foul in history.
The way soccer fans all over the globe ribbed Zidane for headbutting Italy’s Marco Materazzi in the chest during 2006 FIFA World Cup Final in Berlin, Germany, can be compared to the way fans denounced the act of cannibalism by Mike Tyson when he bit off part of Evander Holyfield’s ear in their rematch billed “The Sound and the Fury” on June 28, 1997 for the WBA heavyweight championship at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Zidane’s widely-condemned foul on Materazzi was blamed for France’s failure to win the World Cup in that year as he was sent off in the 110th minute of the game, thus he wasn’t able to participate in the penalty shoot-out won by Italy, 5-3.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this bout has been stopped at the end of round number three, the referee in charge, Mills Lane, disqualifies Mike Tyson for biting Evander Holyfield in both ears, the winner by way of disqualification and still the WBA champion of the world, Evander ‘The Real Deal’ Holyfield!’ Holyfield won the WBA’s boxing championship, prize, money and trophy because of Tyson’s disqualification,” ring announcer Jimmy Lennon declared some 25 minutes after the violent brawl.
Tyson, who claimed he only retaliated after Holyfiled headbutted him, was obviously frustrated that he could not nail down and intimidate Holyfield and was believed to be himself scared enough that he deliberately got himself disqualified.
Zidane’s and Tyson’s bizarre attitudes shocked the world since they were considered to be the greatest in their sports.
If they were notoriously labeled as “dregs in soccer and boxing”, Bruce Bowen of NBA’s San Antonio Spurs also joined them in the rank in terms of infamy and sports hooliganism.
Bowens, 42, was considered the dirtiest NBA player in league history. NBA writer Kelly Scaletta described Bowens as “everything that Ron Artest was or Scottie Pippen was with one twist that can only be described as malicious.”
He first joined the Miami Heat in 1997 before going to Boston Celtics in 1999 and Philadelphia 76ers in 2000 before returning to Miami Heat until 2001. He played as small forward for the Spurs until 2009.
Scaletta observed that Bowen had a tendency to slip his foot under opponents feet when they went up for a jump shot. When the players came down they would ruin ankles and knees.
“Such a move can devastate a player’s career and Bowen’s habit resulted in several players, including Steve Francis and Vince Carter, getting injured,” Scaletta stressed.
“Even when it’s not resulting in injuries, the fear of an injury can throw a player off his rhythm. Bowen, even without the move was one of the great defenders in the leagues history and didn’t need to resort to the habit.
That tendency, along with the same kind of great but dirty play that the other great defensive wings on here had, earned him the top spot on the list (of dirtiest NBA player in league history).”