Lim Em Beng: great athlete, true sportsman | Inquirer Opinion

Lim Em Beng: great athlete, true sportsman

/ 09:33 PM May 12, 2013

I’ve played a lot of basketball in my youngster days—the “solo-shooting” variety on home goal, the one-on-one, the sandlot game and the intramurals in school. This revelation would surprise my more recent tennis buddies. I got hooked on tennis at the old Columbian courts, when the club was still on Taft Avenue, and I was age 36. Before that I was just your average or intramurals athlete.

With that as background, let me proceed to the real topic—Lim Em Beng. Like everybody else, I was familiar with Beng’s exploits, watching him play basketball on TV, wearing the De La Salle uniform with the now-retired number “14.”

Last April 19, we had a sports awards night at the La Salle Taft Auditorium. Outstanding athletes in all the different collegiate sports were given a plaque of recognition for exceptional performance over the years.

Beng was the recipient for basketball. Beng has cancer, but he was there to receive his award. Upon receiving his prize, Beng was beside himself with tearful emotion. Gamely, the man joked about his physical condition, saying something like “I will have to win this game, also in the last few seconds.”

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During the awarding, I was constantly thinking about being in ignorance of the exploits of our athletes in football, track and field, and in the rest of the so-regarded “other” sports, which were lost in the overwhelming “shadow” of basketball. We would learn of their exploits only that awards night.

Beng seemed to read my mind, because he suddenly asked why the exceptional athletes in the so-called “other” sports did not receive the recognition that basketball players usually did.

That Beng received an award for basketball was expected. That he so tearfully showed appreciation was truly touching.

But that this prized basketball player, so accustomed to receiving every conceivable form of accolade, found it in himself to make such a thoughtful and selfless statement was incredibly admirable.

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With that gracious gesture Beng, the exceptional athlete, rose to another level.

Lim Em Beng, the great athlete, showed himself to be a true sportsman.

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—BOBBY G. KRAUT, Pasay City

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TAGS: Basketball, De La Salle University, news, sports

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