Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Boredom and Escape

I am so bored.

Boredom is the most unpleasant feeling for me, for it's a state that's neither here nor there - a feeling of being in limbo. Normally I feel inspired and passionate (although it often doesn’t show) about everything and everyone. These past few days however, I seemed to have lost it. I attempt to write blogs about topics that interest me, but I never finish. I try to write, but after getting to the middle, I stop. I am drained, at a loss for words. I start another one and get drained again. In school, I hardly have the motivation to listen to class and socialize with people. I submit my assignments at the last minute, purposely turn up late for class, and distract myself with anything except listening to the teacher.

I just feel that everything is useless, that all I’m going through is such a waste of time. I feel that the more I learn in school, the more stupid I become. Even the profound and interesting truths I learn in school seem to just choke up my thought process. I have several great teachers this semester. But because of what I have learned from them, I feel more and more attuned to the real world and drift farther and farther away from my imagination. Oh, and how important imagination is to my life! The power of my imagination is what has always kept me going. It's what keeps me up late at night and what makes me rise from my bed in the morning. It is my most treasured skill, the thing that makes me the person that I am. And it is getting farther and farther away from my reach. What is the use of understanding the real world more thoroughly when it is at the expense of my imagination? This is probably why I am feeling like this now. Because I am stuck in the mundanity of the world - petty conversations, assignments, little teenage problems, quizzes, traffic. I have lost my sense of wonder. I detest school now because it’s making my mind mature and grow up, making it conform to the real world. Maybe that’s why I’m doing poorly in my studies, because all the knowledge I’m acquiring seem to put barriers to the freedom of my mind. My studies place frameworks, guides, and compasses that direct my imagination and my thinking to the practical and the intellectually feasible. I feel all the knowledge impedes me instead of liberating me. I feel that I’ve lost my freedom.

I am really so bored.

I want to escape right now, anywhere but here. I just can’t take it anymore. All my life I’ve taken the conventional path. I went to a Chinese Catholic school for most of my life. Then, the next logical step was to take up a conventional course in a reputable Catholic university. What’s next? The corporate world and business? I’m tired following such a linear path. When we were eating dinner a while ago with my family, my dad observed that how we arrange our things whether in the bag or on the table reflects the personality. He commented that my brothers all opted for order. I then said that I hated order and organization. I feel that it constrains me. He then said, that’s weird. You really are a free spirit.

Yes, I believe that I am a free spirit. I hate being imposed on or having to follow rules. In fact, it gives me great pleasure to break rules and do things out of the norm (as proven by my highschool and college disciplinary and academic records) That’s why I am experiencing this unease right now. Because everything feels so settled and so organized with my life right now. Everything feels so conventional and straightforward. I am living a perfectly ordinary life… and I know I am meant for something much more.

I want to do so many things right now. Things that exclude staying in school studying time-wasting subjects or ‘enlightening’ subjects that stunt my imagination. Things that exclude anticipating the results of a long test I surely failed. Things that exclude forcing myself to socialize in orgs, in classes, group dynamics, petty things that people my age often do. Things that I do not connect with. Things that I do for the sake of reaching the logical next step of my ordinary, boring life.

Sometimes I feel like I am a fish out of water which has already adapted to the land, but a fish which still yearns for the water but hasn't discovered it yet.

School is taking up so much time. Right now I just want to immerse myself in stories, whether in the form of print, television, movies, or games. I want to escape from this ordinary world, do things that will spice up my life a little bit, like travel to distant lands, try new things, get lost in a foreign land and just be alone, dwell in the realm of imagination, ponder about the mysteries of life that truly matter. I want to change my name and assume a different identity in some unknown country. I want to work, earn money then spend it like crazy. I want to draw and paint, to capture the beauty of the world on canvass. I want to write a story that will weave in a grand tapestry everything I ever loved about stories. I want to be invisible, I want to travel through time. I want to fly. As long as it is anything out of the ordinary, anything to escape this boredom.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my life and my friends and family and education. I just feel that my life is such a monotonous straight line with no low points or high points. I just want the line to curve a little. I want to add a little chaotic excitement to the order of my life. I’m restless because I am so sure that I am meant for something greater or at least more interesting, and I just haven’t discovered it yet or I am prevented from seeing it because I am chained to the mundane comforts of this life.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Spirit of Champions

Let me take a break from my usually profound blog entries, and focus on my current obsession – UAAP basketball. Last Saturday, I watched the Ateneo-La Salle game at the Big Dome with friends. Well, what can I say, the game lived up to all the anticipation and excitement (for Ateneo fans at least, hehe).

As always, the sea of blue and green on opposite sides of the Coliseum cheered fervently for their respective teams. The deafening cheers and capacity crowd showed that more than a mere basketball victory, school pride was at stake here. By half time, the green sea was drained while the blue crowd was overflowing with passionate energy. The Blue Eagles showed why they deserved to be on top (and to be champions) through a dominant, systematic manhandling of the feeble Archers. By the end of the game, I am just so happy to be on the blue side, so proud to be part of the crowd that sings “Win or lose it’s the school we choose!” More than anything, I guess this is what watching a live UAAP game is all about - crowd unity, school spirit, and Atenean pride.

From the way the Eagles played in that game and throughout the entire season, a championship almost seems inevitable. The Eagles’ success this season can be attributed primarily to these six players. Each of them exemplifies the spirit of true champions. Ateneo this is the year! I rank the players from top to bottom according to importance to the team.

Nonoy Baclao – He is the most important player on the team, as he anchors the dreaded Blue Eagle defense. More than his celebrated blocks, it is his ability to alter shots of opponents that makes him such an integral component of the Eagles defense. On offense, he always seems to be at the right place at the right time. Missed a shot? Don’t fret. Trapped by the opponent? No need to fear. Baclao has the ability to redeem a botched play and score when the team needs it the most. He may not be a flashy player, and he just makes his contributions quietly, but take him out of the team and I doubt if the Blue Eagle would even be thinking about Final Four, much less the championship. He is the difference maker that turns the Eagles from good to great.

Chris Tiu – The captain… the heart and soul of the Blue Eagles. Not only is he their leader on the court but off the court as well, giving timely advice to teammates and leading by example. His level-headedness during games and his basketball intelligence inspires his teammates to do their best and play a tough yet clean brand of basketball. An amazing shooter, he has also developed the rare ability of altering his shots in mid-air and making it look easy. His quickness is also underrated, both on offense and defense. His playmaking ability sets the pace for the Blue Eagles offense, and his nifty passes are as beautiful as they are effective. He can be trigger-happy at times, as evidenced by his poor field-goal percentage, but he more than makes up for this by taking the big shots at the most crucial moments.

Rabeh Al-Hussaini – Much has been said about the emergence of Al-Hussaini. Even more might be said after Al-Hussaini wins the MVP award by the end of this season. His transformation from an unmotivated, oversized pushover to an unstoppable beast boggles minds and makes believers out of cynics. Definitely the story of season 71. However, his monstrous contributions hide the fact that he is often soft on defense, and that he still has the tendency to take shots outside his comfort zone. Still, his rise from whipping boy to go-to-guy makes us realize two things: one, the greatness of Norman Black in training big men; and two, how great this big man can still become with one more playing year.

Eric Salamat – His surname definitely fits him, as we could not help but utter words of thanks whenever Salamat steals another ball and fiercely speeds to the hoop for a picture-perfect finish. Salamat is vital to the team because it adds a whole new dimension to the offense of the Eagles: fastbreak points. Moreover, his fearlessness in attacking the hoop and confidence in taking long-range shots prove that there really is substance behind his swagger.

Ryan Buenafe – This superrookie has already lived up to the intense recruitment wars that ensued the moment this NCAA Juniors MVP and triple-double machine became eligible for college. He has excellent basketball IQ that complements his superb upper body strength and wicked crossover moves. Combine this with his above average defensive skills and we have a player who can contribute across several statistical categories on any given game. However, he has a penchant for taking ill-advised shots and his crucial turnovers sometimes negate his contributions. Still, the future is shining bright with Buenafe on the blue side.

Jai Reyes – He is the most consistent shooter for the Eagles, providing firepower whenever the Eagles offense becomes stagnant and adding fuel whenever the Eagles wax hot. Despite his diminutive stature, he is never afraid to take the big shots. A decent playmaker and an exemplary ball handler, Reyes is a living proof that in basketball, size (or the lack of it) could never trump a big heart.

To be continued, and made more profound… soon...