Dave! Beckham! Beeeecks! I finally got my once-in-a-lifetime right to scream his name over and over, as he was just there, a few meters away. Hippie headband and beard—yep, that’s Becks all right.
The earlier rain did nothing to dampen the spirit of The Dream Cup 2011 (LA Galaxy vs Azkals) last December 3. Not even hale or December traffic could stop us from seeing ex-Manchester United (among others) player David Beckham. As little kids, soccer equated to this international legend, and not watching the game live was like snubbing the sports deity. While I could only afford to scream from the bleachers, at least Phil Younghusband got to take it to the next level and score in the same game as his childhood hero. Now if we could only snatch that signed jersey as Phil falls asleep.
The game ended with the score 6-1, in favor of the LA Galaxy. While many term it as a “loss” we really shouldn’t consider as such. While I’m no expert in football lingo, I don’t suppose a friendly match should have that derogatory term “losers”. A display of competitive diplomacy is expected, and this was achieved quite well. As added bonuses, most of the Philippine Azkals got to play against Beckham, the Philippines is finally in the radar of global football, and Phil, James and Angel got special mention for being top players. I’d say it was bloody good match that gave the Azkals their much-needed lift, support and inspiration—so no losers here, just a starstruck nation and one heck of a sleepless Saturday night.
Despite occasional viewing obstacles, seeing Beckham play was really a fantastic sight, with his effortless, well-targeted kicks and graceful form. The row of boys behind us couldn’t stop yelling “Awesome kick, man!” and “Did you just see how he kicked that ball?!” that I wanted to join them or perhaps hand them commentator mic for the evening. Even boys drool, would you look at that.
Not to be outdone, the Azkals played just as impressively. The Younghusbands, Angel Guirado and Anton del Rosario played boldly and at par with the Galaxy and were inspiring to watch. Chieffy will always be the crowd favorite, and so never ever say anything bad about this guy or you’re sure to get whacked by that blue Pilipinas balloon. I finally got to see Carlie play, though I suppose the spectators never knew his name and simply referred to him as one of the white boys. He’s Spanish, by the way. Entiendes?
Better late than never—Coach Weiss decided to substitute players during the second half. That was the moment that I waited for, and with glee, players I wanted to see on the pitch were gradually called to play: Jason de Jong, Misagh Bahadoran and Lexton Moy. While the sole scorer of the game remained to be Phil, it was just wondrous to see this guys at the pitch: de Jong’s bravado, Bahadoran non-stop energy and vibe and Moy’s excitement translated to field fierceness.
While complaining outdoors happens to be my forte, seeing even a speck of Becks turned my cynicism into a football high. Don’t think this night went seamlessly though: There were bugs flying everywhere, people kept on walking and obstructed my view everyone second of the game, and I nearly died of dehydration. Pacquiao nearly caused a riot, while Vincent Ferrer’s mom wanted the whole world to know she was missing him by her side.
However, I waived all the loathing in my higher pursuit of watching the LA Galaxy play versus the Azkals live.
It’s not only the Azkals who had their dream come true. Since high school, we’ve been yapping about Beckham this and that, and last night I finally got to see him play. Now I understand why he’s such a football sensation. It’s not because he’s cute or married to Victoria or that’s he’s popular—he’s the real deal in football, man. It’s his talent and skills combined that makes even boys watch in awe. He’s the inspiration for many kids to pursue football. He’s not just some myth; he’s the reason Jazminda got all football crazy in Bend it like Beckham. He’s David Beckham. That’s just it.
So, who will be gracing our country next? Ryan Giggs? Wayne Rooney! Oh and if there is a next time, better bring in the fish and chips!