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Italian Technology in That Little Body

Philip was apologetic when I got to the field late this afternoon, explaining that he was unable to attend the alumni game last Saturday because he had been sick. My word… Like an explanation was needed…

The way he was coughing, I half-expected his lungs to come out splattered anytime all over the lush green grass of the football field. It was that bad.

In fact, my first instinct was to ask him if he felt well enough to train. I can appreciate bravado, but there can be a thin line between that and foolhardiness. And today, it sounded more like the latter…

Besides, I could picture in my head the millions of invisible viruses that were being expunged into the late afternoon air, and worried about the rest of the lads. To be fair, though, the coughing seemed to subside as the afternoon wore on.

Half the high school lads did not come in, and on any other day, I would have suspected a Dota or Counter-Strike party in some Internet café somewhere. Earlier in the day, though, some colleagues in the Integrated School had expressed alarm at the number of absentees from classes.

It’s that time of the year: sakit season! Now that the hysteria about the AH1N1 has begun to subside, people have started coming around to the fact that the ‘flu – in whatever incarnation it decides to show up – simply comes to visit every year as a matter of course.

And not just the ‘flu… While the AH1N1 hogged the headlines, the knowledgeable continued to warn that dengue and malaria were more tangible threats despite the exotic allure – to the media – that the former had.

Current weather conditions are perfect for viruses to flourish! Immediately after Feria, we had to endure a whole week of freaky summery weather. That was last week, when temperatures soared everyday at midday into the mid-thirties Celsius.

Then the rains started to fall, and not because of any Pacific-borne weather systems. Just plain old-fashioned evaporation induced rains that would be preceded by frightening thunderstorms. Exactly the sort one would have expected, before weather went haywire, around May.

This afternoon, I worried, in particular, about little Enzo, tough half-Italian though he might be. The way he spoke was decidedly nasal, and when he kept pressing his eyelids shut, I was alarmed enough to ask if he was alright.

His eyes hurt, he told me. Uh-oh…!!! Experience told me he might be coming down with something. Now that’s alarming! Packed inside that little body is A-grade Italian manufacturing technology, as pulido as a Ferrari.

Whatever this bug is that’s going around, if it can bring down Enzo…

Once scrimmage started, though, the little man went about his business just like he does each and every training day: with an inexhaustible amount of energy that is almost unbelievable given that he is so small. Anong sipon?

He was climbing all over Nestor – about 5 inches taller – to win a header, sprinting after every lose ball, harrying the defenders into committing mistakes. I guess we will all have to wait and see tomorrow, won’t we?

Maybe the Italian technology that Enzo has in him includes an anti-virus system enriched by meatballs, tomato sauce and strands upon strands of flowing pasta…

[FOOTNOTE: This story was first published on 6 July 2009. Enzo graduated from high school last 31 March 2011 along with 13 other teammates. He was his team's top goalscorer along with his striking partner Joseph Victor Medina. Just like when he was younger, he would not only score goals but chase after defenders to force them into making mistakes. During one game of the 2010-11 season, he traveled with the team with a bit of a cold and little sleep; but still covered more yards than many of his teammates. I encouraged him to get a Filipino passport. Who knows? Maybe one day he will be good enough to wear the blue of the Azkals if not the Azzurri of Italy.]

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