Sun Star Baguio | Panes: Blu Girls and Red Moons

By Joel Panes

Monday, October 6, 2014
OTHER than the notable performance of Blu-girls, the Philippines’ national softball team in the 17th Asian Games in South Korea which sought to crack the top three rankings, all sports opinion shall take a back seat for this column to write of the nearing appearance of 2nd of the four lunar eclipses which happens on “holy” days which our country and our popular faith fail to take cognizance of.

Of women’s softball, the Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines led by an equally gracious sports benefactor in its president Jean Henri Lhullier, CEO of the Lhullier Group of Companies approached this prestigious international competition with a different tack.

In the history of Philippine softball, no pre-tournament training and preparation by the Blu-girls was ever conducted overseas. This year, Lhullier put his money where his vision and desire for softball was.

Substantially bankrolling the Blu-girls expenses, the team was brought to the US mainland for training under the supervision of experts in University of Las Vegas in Nevada. This was a first of firsts.

Secondly, this was also the first time Philippine softball tapped into the pool of Fil-American talent. It enlisted talents like Dani Gilmore, 5’8” of Oregon State University and Morgan Stewart, 5’8” of University of Washington. Together with four others at least standing 5’5” inches, taller and experienced Fil-Ams had bolstered and complemented the national squad this year.

The tight outcomes of the Blu-girls’ softball games in the Asian Games showed that the combine and intensive training holds much promise. In the preliminary round, the Blu-girls humbled host South Korea (3-1); lost to Japan (2-10) and China (2-8) but swamped Thailand (13-0). Against Chinese Taipei, the national softbelles fell short (4-5) but managed to qualify for the semi-final round.

In the semi-finals match, China in the battle for third kept the Blu Girls at bay with six (6) hits and scored three (3) runs against the Philippines’ none. At the end of the 7th inning, China walked away with the bronze medal.

Ultimately, Japan with Olympian Yukiko Ueno on the pitching circle replicated their championship performance during their US stint.

ielding only two hits against Taipei, the 32-year old led Japan to the pinnacle of this year’s Asian Games’ softball championship. Chinese Taipei salvaged the 1st runner up honours.

While Philippine softball’s expectation falls short of attaining its coveted institutional goal of landing at least third place and appears to be blanketed together in collective mediocrity of the country’s athletic performance in this year’s Asian Games, the quest to be recognized among Asia’s top three softball powers remains in very good and competitive hands. Jean Henri Lhullier has done a gargantuan job.

For Philippine softball that means better things are clearly on the way.

From these mountain highlands which owes much of what growth Cordillera softball had in the last few years, our heartfelt congratulations to ASAPHIL!

Kudos to its president Jean Henri Lhullier, its board of directors, secretary general Danny Francisico, the coaching staff and Philippine Blu-girls! Mabuhay kayong lahat! Mabuhay ang marangal na diwa ng Pilipinas!

Besides softball and other sports perhaps deserving of a humble opinion, there are some events in the horizon just as, if not more significant. I am not an astronomer but was a softball coach and a baseball varsity who appreciates the immense value of signals when playing the game. The Book of Genesis writes, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years (1:14)”

We as dummies should first dismiss the thought that the bible was written in English but Hebrew. The first English bible was printed only during the 1380s and this was nearly a century before Israel was reborn as a nation. Israel who owes the sole distinction of receiving the divine oracles was prophetically rebirthed in 1948 and their re-establishment in the Middle East map ushered the return of the ancient scriptures which are not within the scope of the papal imprimatur.

Hence today, we are enlightened. Hebraic scholars can now authoritatively say that the word “signs” in Genesis 1:14 comes from the word “oth” meaning a signal or an omen. Also, the word “seasons” come from the word “moed” and it means a divine appointment.

Should this series of lunar eclipses be therefore construed as signs in the sky?

Students of modern day prophecy are unanimous in saying that these rare celestial events hold a very special meaning – a warning flag. Jewish sages have long taught that a lunar eclipse is a bad omen for Israel while a solar eclipse is a sign against the world.

Looking at April 14, 2014 when the last full lunar eclipse was recorded there was sometime thereafter the firing of thousands of missiles by Hamas from Gaza into the territory of Israel. Whether or not that was merely coincidental is for the reader’s spirit to decide.

Looking back at the last annular solar eclipse occurred on April 29, 2014, there was sometime consequently in June, the ISIS which the US President once called a junior varsity. So far, this radical Islamic faction has already invaded parts of Iraq, raped and sold Christian Kurdish women as merchandise and grotesquely beheaded thousands of men in its path including 2 American and 2 British nationals. I have often asked myself whether the Philippine government has prepared itself for this eventuality should it arise.

Whether all these are merely coincidental, again the reader must discern and decide. Coincidence, someone once said is the work of God when His Spirit decides to be anonymous.

There are volumes that can be written without being sensational. Still, “sports” will always be one of heaven’s best gifts to mankind to exercise his dominion and grace. If however there is any truism to the wisdom of the ancient Jewish sages, I yield. This column yields.

For the moment, do grab a bible and please read the 2nd chapter of the Book of Joel. On October 8, look up and behold the skies. Let’s be relevant and see you next Tuesday.

Source: Sun Star Baguio