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Skipped Training; Hiding from Sir

Naturally, if anyone skipped training over the three decades that I was coaching a high school football team, he was more or less obligated to think up a creative excuse or risk being told not to bore me with something somebody had used before. I was never the sort one could sell a dummy to, anyway.

Probably the all-time most inventive – not to mention ludicrous – was this excuse: nag-alagâ ng batâ; nadulas sa ihî ng batâ; injured. Go figure!

But this story is not about the excuses that the rascals thought of – which were too many to recall in the first place – but rather this one hilarious episode involving a couple who skipped training and a case of mistaken identity.

Most of the guys who skipped training but did not have what they all knew I would consider a legitimate reason would have the common sense to stay away from the field. Anyone spotted could always be summoned to the field by way of a hooked finger and asked to explain.

So, for all intents and purposes, the field and a perimeter of a few hundred yards around it was a no-fly zone, strictly to be avoided. The truth was, if one wanted to avoid me, I always made it so damned easy for him to do so.

As a general rule, I would be on the field between 4 in the afternoon up to about 6 in the evening – or a bit later during the summer months. The only times when I was not there was if I was in a meeting or if I was on a business trip.

To get back to the two guys, though, the incident happened early in the nineties. One of the two was this guy everyone in the team called Timbâ. I’m not sure if the other was Ronie; but it probably was because the two were more or less the Batman and Robin tandem of the team.

The two had skipped training and had gone uptown. On board a jeepney and on their way back home, the two suddenly stiffened when a tall man wearing Rayban shades got on board.

Si Sir!

What do you do when the last man you want to see suddenly boards the vehicle you are riding?

So the two instinctively did the sensible thing and sat back to hide behind the other passengers. They even angled their bodies away from the man; probably even raised an arm to hold the handrail and cover their faces. Albeit, they would sneak a glance the other way every now and again to see if they had been spotted…

But what would Sir be doing uptown at this time of the afternoon? Dapat nasa field!

After a few glances and whispered consultations, the two eventually decided that it was not me, after all. Safe!


My younger brother Roy used to work at the Lipa City branch of UCPB up until the early nineties before asking for a transfer to the main office and subsequently migrating to the United States.

I will not go to the extent of saying that he is my spitting image – or I of him – but there is, naturally, a familial resemblance. He is roughly the same height as I am and, wearing the same type of Rayban glasses that I myself often wore, it was easy for anybody seeing him for the first time to mistake him for me.

Of course, I did not hear of the story – and I did so from Timbâ himself – until years had passed after the incident. It made for a good laugh.

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