I was one of those who laughed at the effort to change the women’s national team nickname from the Malditas to the Filipinas. I thought it was comical. How would commentators or writers call the team? The Philippine Filipinas?
Comedy aside I thought it was inappropriate for a sports team to claim for its own, the name Filipinas, the name by which every Pinay is referred. Baseball players, weightlifters, or any other members of a national women’s team is a Filipina, the women’s football team claiming it as their own seemed ill-advised.
That was then. The events that happened since what for some was a divisive moment have made me change my mind. Especially in that final game in the Fifa Women’s World Cup against Norway.
I know it’s not an accurate count but I believe Coach Alen Stajcic when he said of the 34,000 in the stadium, 30,000 were Pinoy fans.
That they weren’t really football fans were obvious with the way they cheered for almost every move the team made. And that’s the beauty of it. They weren’t there because the Philippine women’s football team made the World Cup, they were there because the Philippine team was there in the World Cup.
I’ve seen numerous posts of Kababayans saying how fun it was watching a football match live for the first time. They did it because the Philippines was there. The Filipinas.
They didn’t ask for fans to drop the nickname, they just said they’d rather be called Filipinas.
They didn’t appropriate the name Filipinas to be the women’s national team nickname, they just want to be called by the name which we call women in our country. The Filipinas.
I think we are a great representation of what Filipinos are, and we are far and wide.Sarina Bolden, first Filipina to score in the Fifa Women’s Word Cup
The 30,000 who went there, some of whom couldn’t tell an offside from a throw-in. They were there because of the Filipinas, a team that brings a touch of home everywhere. Sarina Bolden said it best. In the whirlwind 18 months when they’ve been everywhere, there’s always a Filipino community.
Not a Filipino football community, but a Filipino community who’d support the team because it brings a touch of home.
The Filipinas is not a nickname. It’s an identity. An identity this team showed the whole world that we can be proud of. From Hali Long crying during the national anthem, to the gals—and guys even—who cheered for the team, not only during the matches but everywhere they went. As the saying goes, there’s a Pinoy in every corner of the world.
And for that Pinoy or Pinay in that far off corner in the world, he or she doesn’t see a team of footballers; he or she sees a team of kababayans, a team of Filipinas.
And these Filipinas represent us well.
P.S. Hali Long and Inna Palacios will be in Cebu for a meet-and-greet at 4 p.m. at the Dynamic Herb Stadium.