Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Manny's Unconquerable Mind?

Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach
(Image from New York Times)

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.

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At 6:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I've heard that people can learn to play piano in failrly short order and I've sometimes heard of people with porno, er photographic memories, I never heard that either were very much good for boxing.

But that,"[He] possesses an innate ability to block out the world..."

He'll make a damn fine politician.


At 6:51 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Hey, I'm great at blocking out the world. Why ain't I some damn fine rich politician?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, Jeffery and JK, I also have an Unconquerable Mind.
Oops -- sorry -- I have an uncomprehending mind.
I think there is a difference.


At 7:24 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I guess you could say knowledge never conquers it, Uncle Cran.

Good to see you back, by the way. Is the harvest in for winter?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simply blocking out the world isn't enough, one also must go to City Hall and put one's name in the hat.

If blocking out the world was all it took, we'd both be running the world. (Of course I'd model my administrative duties kinda like that Italian guy Berlusconi but since you're married you'll probably have to accept Cran as your VP).


At 9:39 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Uncle Cran as VP? Isn't that some kind of nepotism?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:33 PM, Anonymous Phil said...

Is he some sort of superman? A Nietzschean Uebermensch?

You'll know this when he becomes president of the Phillipines.

At 5:57 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Phil, we'll just have to see. Thanks for visiting.

Jeffery Hodges

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