29 June 2014

PBB’s Idiotic Football Juggling Challenge

Those of you who watched last night the supposed Eviction Night when nobody was evicted – duh! – would have seen this football challenge that Big Brother gave the housemates. They were desperate to win because they had apparently been surviving for the past fortnight on vegetables. Win the challenge and they would finally get meat back in their diets.

And as Toni Gonzaga explained the mechanics of the challenge, I finally somewhat understood what I had been watching on-and-off in the 24/7 stream of the same show. Daniel Matsunage, Brazilian-born that he is and a semi-professional football player in the UFL, had been busy teaching the other housemates some basic football skills.

If I understood Toni right, the housemates all had to do a football-based dance choreography which basically entailed each of them touching the ball without it dropping to the ground. When everyone had touched the ball at least once, then the dance would culminate in the ball being shot at a goal brought inside the PBB House’s activity area.

Anybody who wishes to learn the game of football quickly finds out that the ball almost has a mind of its own. Getting to know the behavior of the ball is like getting to know an uncommunicative person. You have to spend hours upon hours with it to coax it to tell you more about itself.

The housemates were given five tries to win the challenge. They would not have won it even with a thousand tries! I have seen some idiotic challenges given by Big Brother to the PBB housemates; but this football challenge has got to be the grandmother of all!
The skillful player is one who has made the ball his slave. In contrast, the player who has not entirely learned the ball’s behavior becomes its slave.

One of the best drills to fully understand and master the ball’s behavior is this thing that the Brits call the ‘keepy-uppy,’ which is basically trying to keep the ball from falling to the ground by prodding it upwards with any part of the body except the hands. For as long as I was in the game, I and those I played with just referred to the drill as ‘juggling.’

No different, really, from the circus juggler who tries to keep balls up in the air; but with his hands. Juggling with the hands is not an easy thing to learn already. Juggling with the feet, on the other hand, is an altogether different proposition.

Which brings us back to the PBB Challenge. Not gonna happen!!! The housemates, if they only knew, might as well have simply resigned themselves to a diet of veggies for another week and spared themselves all the trouble.

One of the show’s staff must have thought, hey it’s the World Cup! Why don’t we have a football challenge!!!???


I used to allot anything from half an hour to an hour of training time to juggling alone for the new recruits of my teams when I was actively coaching; and weeks later, a few won’t even be able to manage a mere ten touches without dropping the ball.

And we used to train daily, including holidays and Saturdays. Juggling is that hard to learn!

Meanwhile, the housemates only had three or four days to do a few drills; and this is not to say that all of them were really fully committed to learning. Did the production staff really think that good-morning-ma’am-sir-thank-you elevator girl Cheridel Alejandrino would suddenly learn to juggle the ball in, what, three or four days?

Every one of the remaining housemates was clumsy with the football. But then that is hardly surprising because now that Axel Torres and Michelle Gumabao have been evicted, nobody among the remaining housemates looks particularly athletic.

The only one who had even some remote potential was Joshua Garcia, who was not as clumsy as the rest probably because he was into folk dancing in school. Besides, he is from Batangas. We breathe the same air. Wink.

Bless Daniel Matsunaga for taking the task to heart, even as he kept complaining in the confession room how hard the task was. Because, as the football player, he would have to assume the burden of the keepy-uppy, this also meant that he was doing most of the work. By the week’s end, he had to wrap his legs and calves with cloth bandage just to be able to continue.

The housemates were given five tries to win the challenge. They would not have won it even with a thousand tries! I have seen some idiotic challenges given by Big Brother to the PBB housemates; but this football challenge has got to be the grandmother of all!

Worse, since Daniel Matsunaga has been nominated for eviction, he may even find himself tonight saying goodbye to everyone else. Like I said, all that trouble for a challenge that they were not going to win in a million years.

And if he does get evicted, well, at the very least he can start tuning in to Balls Channel and watch the World Cup!!!

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