I could hardly watch the Shenzen World University Games. Perhaps it was out of self-loathing and envy. Sometimes, I rue the fact of having been born in a country almost ignorant of athletics. Had I been European, I would have been exposed to formal athletics training early on and developed gradually to a more respectable sprint hurdler while competing for an honest-to-goodness athletics club. Who knows? Maybe I would have been running 13 seconds in the sprint hurdles with proper training and exposure.

Despite my dreams of athletics glory, the fact remains that I am a mere (hand-timed) 14.9s hurdler at my best. Thanks to my two-year hiatus, Han Solo routine and a full-time desk job, I have degenerated into 16.5s hurdler – again, hand-timed.

I am competitive to the core. I wouldn’t be in the sport if I weren’t. It is a fact that I suck in the sport I love best. This, in turn, hurts me the deepest. The odds of qualifying for the World Championships or the Olympics are humungous, to say the least. To add insult to injury, the athletes who excel now are just about my age. Then, a deluge of what-if scenarios flood by, hounding my head.

Instances like these are debilitating. I’ve longed to be the best, or at least count myself as among the best. If I cannot be at the pinnacle of my sport – even at the local level – what’s the use of going about a difficult routine, when I channel my energies into more productive pursuits?

At nearly twenty-six years old, I don’t have much time in my athletics career. Soon enough, I’d have to take my other career more seriously than the former. Until then, I’ll be doing my utmost best to at least win the Philippine National Championships and run fourteen seconds.

I do not need to state my ultimate goal.

As they say, aim for stars and reach for the moon.


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