Crowded place. Splendid banners. Huge fandoms. People’s cheers jammed the four corners of the arena. And then two teams were shown, then applause and chants filled the walls. Hundreds were shouting ‘Animo La Salle’ and half of the thousands were one with the community that shouts ‘Go Ateneo! One Big Fight!’

Sharp serves. Good receptions. Excellent sets. Powerful attacks. Kill blocks. Excellent digs. Hundreds of great teams can do it all, but for me, only one team can do those with an unknown ingredient which can capture the hearts of the people. For some, they are just typical student-athletes. For them, there is nothing extraordinary. For the non-believers, they are not great. But to those people with hearts that they have caught, they would always be the best squad.

Yes, they are not the most powerful and unstoppable team. They are not the greatest of all. They are not perfect. They have been through the worst. They swim depths. They climb the highest mountains. They were stuck in the ground. But the best thing about them? Never did they give up. They kept on fighting even if they don’t have weapons anymore. They continued blocking even if they don’t have shields anymore. They stayed in the battlefield and continued to clash with the strongest teams even how wounded they are. They kept on flying high, even if their wings are already impaired. That is the team with the strongest hearts, mirroring their mantra, “Heartstrong”. They bounce back higher and come back stronger every time they hit the ground. And it says it all. They would always fly high and fight strong.

 

“And here are the starters for the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles!” We have heard that for zillions of times, but no matter how frequent I will hear those words, my feelings will never turn upside down. I just can’t help it but feel exultant and proud of those ladies wearing blue and white. Every serve, receive, set, dig, and spike, I feel really proud to be an avid fan and supporter of this team. They are more than just our favorite squad, but they are also our inspiration. They made us realize that even if we’re in the bottom, we can make it to the top. They made us realize that even the best fall down sometimes. For the hundredth time, I am so proud of what this team has become.

 

Happy. Unity. Heartstrong. They are taking it one point at a time and one game at a time. At their recent achievements and the star players they have produced, they remained humble. No matter how high they fly, they kept their feet on the ground. Despite of their high standings, they have never stared down at their opponents. Heart of a champion it is. These, and all of the other things make the Ateneo Lady Eagles a great team to idolize and support. Every applause, cheer, shout, and banner is worth it, as long as

it’s for them. They never failed to amaze us. They never failed to touch our hearts. They never failed to make us proud.

 

So here’s to the team who remained strong in the midst of being weak. Thank you Lady Eagles for teaching us what victory means. Championships and awards will never measure one’s strength. Those smiles inside the court, the hype aura, your humility, and your fighting spirit are all that matters. As long as your happy, we are too. As long as we can see you fighting, we will never stop believing. As long as you’re giving your best, we’ll continue to cheer for you in the top of our lungs. Win or lose, we will never give up. Because all of you never did. You kept your hearts strong, and your faith stronger. And the best thing? You are doing all of these for the greater glory of God. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.

 

Amidst the rolling of the drums, the banners of the standouts, I will never regret that between the green and the blue, I chose the color of the clear sky. I will never regret that between the loud cheers of the different sides, I chose to be one with the crowd that shouts, GO ATENEO! ONE BIG FIGHT!

And that was when it all started…

Started to bleed blue.

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