I was the most active member of our Catholic community for single young professionals, Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon – Quezon City, for several years and I attended nearly ALL of the activities except the annual Unity Games… because they involved sports played under the sun.
People who know me also know the things that I simply don’t do. I don’t stay under the heat of the sun. I don’t run in the sand under the scorching heat of the sun. I don’t like sports, except swimming. The list is long.
That was me before. This year, I have been trying to open up more consistently to physical activities, for the sake of my health and my sanity. I invested in good quality athletic gear for my workouts. I practiced shooting baskets with my nephew, who taught me how to do it properly. I actually inquired about badminton rackets in Sports House once, after years of resisting the game.
When my friends who facilitate teambuilding activities asked me to help out as marshal, I dreaded all the sun and the sand that I would have to endure for one afternoon. Disguised as someone else in my cap and ponytail on (I also never wear a cap and almost never leave the house wearing a ponytail), I slathered on sunblock lotion on my face, arms and legs, but forgot to protect my lips.
It was held at beautiful Punta Fuego. We rallied the sales and distribution team of a multinational corporation with one tiring activity after the next. The sun was unforgiving and fried us all. I felt my lips cracking and immediately regretted not bringing my lip balm with SPF 15. Worse, we were like Disneyland cast members who were not allowed to complain or to show tiredness. We had to be perky and solicitous to the employees so they would not hold back from participating in the activities and enjoying themselves.
I helped set up flags and mats and bombs and pails. I played judge and looked at my team’s creativity, resourcefulness, and unity. I wanted to run back into the locker rooms and take a quick shower every ten minutes, but it was not me running on unlimited energy that afternoon, and I had to stay and stick to my sweating shirt.
When, after the last activity, the company president thanked us for our unique events, and when individuals on my team thanked me for being a good marshal, I felt light and exhilarated. Dinner at Josephine’s in Tagaytay never tasted as good as that night, when I put in a hard day’s work and was fed as part of my keep.
If there is a next run, I might wear my disguise again, shed my corporate image which I had long given up anyway, and plunge into the deep, to discover more sides of myself that I thought did not exist.