Team sport boosts national pride

We are again reminded by France’s 2018 FIFA World Cup victory that national team competitions bring a nation together.  It is the best way to boost national pride, morale, and unity.

Just last weekend, Filipinos around the world watched Manny Pacquaio’s boxing match with Lucas Matthyssefor the WBA welterweight belt in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  But it is obvious that the thrill and excitement brought about by the Pacquiao fight cannot be compared with that of the France versus Croatia finals soccer match.

Pacquiao knocked Matthysse of Argentina in the seventh round and it was his first knockout win since stopping Miguel Cotto in November 2009.  Though many Filipinos celebrated Pacquiao’s win, it is obvious that his victory did not bring as much joy and pride compared to his previous wins when he was not yet involved in politics.

Earlier, Pacquiao the boxer was a role model and the champion of the poor and the masses.  His involvement in politics, particularly at the national level in the Philippines, have seen Pacquiao the senator support the “war on drugs”where thousands of poor people have been killed.  Critics who have voiced their opposition to the drug war of the Duterte administration point to the fact that the drug war is enforced mostly against the small-poor people— no big drug lords have been taken to court or imprisoned.

I wonder how many Argentinians cried when they saw their compatriot Matthysse get floored three times before being knocked-out.  Did they even care to know that Matthysse had a boxing matchwith Pacquiao?

But for sure,I know how Argentinians reactedwhen Argentina was eliminated at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.  National pride is what we witnessed in every game that was played during the World Cup.  Win or lose, we feltevery nation’s heartbeat, sentiment, and sense of patriotism.

I admire the fighting spirit of Croatia when they defeated Argentina in the first round and how they fought with their hearts in a game that ended in favor of France.

Ante Zizic was inspiring too.  A second-year center from Croatia, he was given permission by the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA to fly home to watch his native country take on France.It is clear that the gesture of the Cavaliers was an appreciation of the national pride involved including Zizic’s sense of patriotism.

For France, their victory was made sweeter by the fact that it affirmed that immigrants contribute to boosting national pride and unity and that the contributions of immigrants bring glory to the nation that they call home.

As midfielder Blaiseputs it: “The diversity of the squad is in the image of this beautiful country that is France. . .  For us, it’s superb. We are proud to represent this beautiful jersey and I think the people are also proud to have a national team like that.”

Blaise and the 23 others on the French team are children of first generation immigrants from Africa.  It was reported that there are 50 French-born players who played for other nations such as Senegal, Morocco, Portugal, and Argentina.

The recent World Cup and France’s victory have shown and reminded all of us that there is no place for anti-immigrant and xenophobia, racism, and narrow nationalism in this world.

And for us Filipinos, we should not limit ourselves with individual achievements like in boxing or billiards.  We should strive and support the quest for collective glory that will boost national pride, compassion, and unity.

Jojo Liangco is an attorney with the Law Offices of Amancio M. Liangco Jr. in San Francisco, California.  His practice is in the areas of immigration, family law, personal injury, civil litigation, business law, bankruptcy, DUI cases, criminal defense and traffic court cases.  Please send your comments to Jojo Liangco, c/o Law Offices of Amancio “Jojo” Liangco, 605 Market Street, Suite 605, San Francisco, CA 94105 or you can call him (415) 974-5336.  You can also visit Jojo Liangco’s website at www.liangcolaw.com.

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