Can sports beat COVID?

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Somebody recently quoted on TV that “Sports can create hope where once there was despair.” I hope that is true, and that our young people will look to engaging in sports as their way of evading the scourge of our generation, this incomprehensible COVID-19. Of course we know that its name was given by medical personalities who probably combined the name of the coronavirus and the word disease, and attached to it the year it surfaced. And we also know that it first showed up in China that has been silent about its effects ever since it developed into a pandemic.

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But even Nelson Mandela, whose quotation that was, optimist through he was, would have been aghast at the number of people whose lives have been claimed by this virus, and of the ones continuing to be infected by it until now. And it also looks as if one of the worst hit, if not the worst of all, is the great country known as the United States whose people, immigrants from other countries, have shown a lot of contributions to the development of life, making the country a leader in various aspect of progress. But it seems it is only with this raging pandemic that they, like all other countries, both the highly developed and undeveloped ones, are just as confounded by this vicious disease.

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Everyday, the reports get more depressing. Yesterday, there were supposedly 138,000 deaths recorded in the U.S., a medical guru describing the situation as “exploding”. That, after 3.5 million more were reported as infected. What usually is happening in times of grave problems is happening there now – people blaming each other for the rise in cases, and also their government for “not doing enough”. What is worrying, too, are reports that people who could be infected are still going around freely, probably uncaring who and how many they transmit their virus to.

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But there are also reports coming from other countries that have done better in confronting COVID-19. Africa, for one, is said to be doing better in approaching the pandemic, and who knows? Others may also be making do with any means of healing or preventing the virus from spreading. But the pandemic is also creating heroes. There is the news about two men who had allowed themselves to be guinea pigs in the testing of the proposed vaccine against the virus. Well, as they appeared on TV, the two looked well enough, but who knows what the next few days will tell us?

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But what we believed was good news when a report came out saying that younger people are less prone to infection, was belied shortly after with announcements that children under 17 years old have also been infected. It seems even hospitals are now in a quandary because of COVID-infected patients. They cannot turn them away, as that is their mission, but what do they do to protect other patients, as well as their staff? Nowadays, it is very sad to hear that a relative or friend has been hospitalized, because even if it is for some other, generally curable ailment, who knows where the viruses are hiding, or floating?

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That was why we at the DAILY STAR were so relieved to hear that our dear friend Dodong Bascon has already left the hospital. No, Dodong was not a COVID victim, but I am sure the prayers and good wishes of all his friends helped him to get better. And it made us very happy, too, that even when in the hospital , he would still ask for his copy of the DAILY STAR! Where have you ever seen a patron like that? But how can he not recover with all the tender, loving care and prayers of his wife Menchit and their children and concerned friends like the STAR people?

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Meanwhile, when we heard that a bridge in the province had broken down, we at the office were also worried, thinking it was the famous Bago Bridge. Fortunately, it was another and we were so glad that Bago Bridge, a landmark of our province, is still there as strong as ever. When I was a child I heard that Bago Bridge was about to be destroyed by the Japanese during World War ll, but a certain American soldier heroically saved it from destruction. I think the name of that soldier was Theodore Vinther, and after the war, there were moves to name it after him.

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But that did not push through, and Bagoeños got their way to retain its original name, and that is good. As for Vinther, if that story about his having saved it is confirmed, I hope the officials have installed even just a marker there in memory of him. My mother used to tell us that she remembered the time when Bago Bridge was inaugurated and there was even a song dedicated to it that she taught us. Maybe, if I think hard enough, I can recall it. It was in ilonggo and had a very wistful tune.*

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