Going ‘Like Mike’

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In 2002, the US film “Like Mike” featured a 14-year-old kid who dreamed of becoming an NBA superstar who had his wish come true when he found a magical pair of Air Jordan shoes.

It gave him the athleticism he needed to go up against the likes of Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, Gary Payton and Allen Iverson, which eventually had the kid’s team going into the NBA playoffs.

Dreamy?

The movie is far – really far — from reality. But such absurdity happens in real life, too.

Take the case of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) Foundation, Inc.

The group, which is different from the original Phisgoc envisioned to lead the country’s hosting of the 30th SEA Games on 30 November to 10 December, seems to have found a way to make our athletes perform better.

Now they can jump higher and run faster in the biennial meet.

But Phisgoc Foundation’s idea of boosting the confidence, morale and athleticism of the country’s up and coming sports heroes is not what everyone is expecting to come from intensified training or experience-gaining from international competitions by the athletes.

For the Phisgoc Foundation, the answer to winning lies on its purchase of uber-expensive training and competition apparel.

In the quotation of prices the Phisgoc Foundation submitted to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), it shows that the supplier is charging astronomical amounts for the athletes’ training and competition uniforms.

How pricey?

Well, just for the athletes’ polo shirt alone, the brand apparel is charging P5,150 while a roundneck shirt costs P2,480 each. For the track jacket, it’s P6,310; track pants P7,400; shorts P5,100; backpack P3,190; running shoes P3,950; and cap P2,400.

If that’s not dizzying enough, the pair of socks was pegged at P2,700 each.

For just one whole get-up of an athlete, it already costs P38,680.

Imagine that.

And they aren’t designer clothes.

If you add it all up, the government will have to cough up more than P55 million to outfit the SEAG-bound national team while an additional P59 million is needed for Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) officials and those who will compete in the Southeast Asian Para Games – that’s a total P114 million of people’s money for shoes and apparel alone.

Phisgoc chairman Alan Peter Cayetano tried to justify them by saying that all these are custom-made and are of Olympic-standard.

It’s like saying the apparel alone can magically win the athlete the coveted gold in the biennial meet.

Sure, the government is making sure that the country’s athletes will be taken care of, but the sky-high prices do not really justify the level of support the government is giving to its athletes.

It’s just absurd. Totally absurd.

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