Manny's Unconquerable Mind?
The sports writer Greg Bishop has some surprising facts to share about Philippine boxer Manny Pacquiao in an article for the New York Times, "Out of Chance Meeting, a Formidable Pairing," which is something of a human interest story about the fighter and his American trainer, Freddie Roach.
I don't keep up with professional sports despite having played basketball and baseball as a kid, and later a year of judo and a semester of badminton at university. My older brother can recall specific details of athletes' achievements that he saw on television or read about, but he's got brains to spare for that sort of thing. I save my brain space for history and literature because I don't have as much volume, apparently.
But that's what interested me in the article by Bishop, who makes Manny sound like a wunderkind:
The boxer has taken months off, recording music and running for political office, and he returned to each camp stronger, as if the training never stopped . . . . [He] possesses an innate ability to block out the world, to box for millions of people but not feel their collective weight. Inside the Thai restaurant [near Roach's gym], with fans pressed against the glass outside, Pacquiao strummed his guitar, surrounded by his entourage yet very much alone. This complex world suits a complex man. Pacquiao dabbles in darts, basketball and billiards. He has a photographic memory, learned to play the piano in one week and, when he is not training, often sleeps only three to four hours a day.My first question: Is this hype? Or does Pacquiao truly have a 'photographic' memory? Did he really learn to play the piano in one week?
My second question (actually, my fourth): How is the name "Pacquiao" pronounced? Apparently, "pa'kjaw." (But how is that pronounced?)
And about his ability to go without training and return stronger, I also wonder (hence his wunderkind status). Is he some sort of superman? A Nietzschean Uebermensch?
I recall from the early 1980s reading a newspaper article -- I think that the paper was the San Francisco Chronicle -- about a scientist working in his Bay Area laboratory who would take two weeks off every summer to climb Mt. Everest. The peculiar point was that he never trained for the climb. He would simply fly to Nepal, join his climbing team, and ascend to the highest point on earth as if out for a mere stroll. Fellow scientists who studied such things told him that what he was doing was impossible. But he did it anyway.
I've forgotten the man's name. Wish I had Manny's unconquerable mind so I could recall.