Basketball aficionados are going gaga today over the unfortunate event that happened last night at the Philippine Arena. This is the first time that a basketball game (and a FIBA qualifying game at that) turned into a brawl. Well, emotions got the better of the players who certainly decided to set aside sportsmanship. As my 12 year-old son puts it, “If you see a brother being unfairly treated and worse, being hurt, would you just merrily sit, watch and shrug your shoulders?” Well, the little man (errr… he’s 5’4 now, bigger than I am) has a point. From what I witnessed, it was a case of defending one’s brother (yeah, teammates are a family) over the hot-temperedness of the guy in the other team. It was just sad that almost everyone got involved in the fray.

Seeing the players turn loose like mad cows gave me goose bumps. Why didn’t anybody see this coming? But then again, when you deal with high-strung emotions, the referee’s whistles would certainly fall on deaf ears.

What came out of this brouhaha is fascinating to say the least. Given the proclivity of Filipinos to find humor in things that could have spelled gloom and doom, it is not surprising at all that memes in the social media especially on Facebook just exploded left and right. The Filipino mind is so creative and the hands are skilful as well— in editing skills, turning the whole scenario into an anime’ fight with Naruto background music, sound effects and graphics that even go beyond PG 13 restrictions. Oh, well. Our ability to find humor in depressing and deplorable situations is simply incomparable. We certainly know how to amuse ourselves.

I leave it to the rest of the world to render their own judgment over what happened. Everyone has something to say about it, and we certainly cannot expect people to be on the same fence as we are. I look at it as a spur-of-the-moment incident, probably brought about by series of provocations prior to the “explosion.” It certainly was not premeditated by either side. Everyone in the court, except the referees, were pulled like magnets to turn the already physical game into a fistfight with matching flying kicks, air walks, pushing and shoving, wrestling and what have you.

So, what lesson can we gain from this national embarrassment? However which way we look at it, our country’s image has suffered yet another black eye in the eyes of the international community. The brawl was a shameful incident that will be the talk of the basketball world for a pretty long time. Why? You don’t get in your news feed stories like this on an ordinary day, so the buzz is expected until the investigation of the incident is completed and erring parties are sanctioned.

I would say then that in all things (sport events, family events and anything else with people involved), expect the unexpected, BUT ( a big but) hope for the best. I am not saying we be pessimists, only that before being engaged in anything, we should consider worst-case scenarios  especially on events where emotions can run high. As they say, “to be forewarned is to be forearmed.” Having been used to watching basketball (without thinking of anything unsportsmanlike in the behavior of the players), we naturally would react with wild disbelief when an aberration of what we consider normal simply erupts.

But of course, life goes on. The sun will continue to rise, even as the earth will continue to spin on its axis. Dishes need to be washed, while the laundry piles up. At the end of the day, many will exclaim, “basketball is life!”

When the next game is on, time will grind to a halt.

But the cameras won’t.

Because the humor stays.