Payu’s Moment of Zen: The National Pride


You can learn a lot from the Olympics.

I was staying up late the other night watching Kaeo Pongprayoon fight for the gold medal, in the Men’s boxing 49kg category at the Olympics. Unfortunately, after a long hard fought battle for three round, everyone thought Pongprayoon would have came out on top. From the spectators naked eyes, to the slow-motion cameras capturing the fight. It was cleared that, though China who had the upper hand in the first round. Clearly was fading by the third round, missing the punches where of Pongprayoon connected two to three punches each time he went in. Had this been a real fight with all full rounds, who knows what kind of shape the Chinese boxer would have been.

But it wasn’t meant to be, the judges award the win to China surrounded by the booed of the spectator who saw the fight.  Pongprayoon had fought adversaries to get to the gold medal round, where of the Chinese coming in seeded first had one less fight than Pongprayoon. Yet through out the course of the Olympic, he and the team did not let their predicament  gets to them. He showed up the Chinese gold medalist (who’s godfather also happen to be Chairman of AIBA, the boxing governing body) and made him looked silly. He won the heart of the nation, and despite the disappointment Thailand embrace him as if he had won the gold. Not bad for an Olympian that was underfunded, and wasn’t considered as the medal contender, let alone a shouting distance away from the gold.

On the night of the men’s USA basketball gold medal game against Spain, not a lot of people paid attention to whats going on down the road. The men’s volleyball team of Russia, the underdog who have not win at the Olympic since the ’80s. They were playing the Brazilian team, the tournament favorite and had beaten the Russians in all of the recent previous meetings. They met each other in the gold medal round, and it seem by the third set that Brazil would win it all. However, something happen: The Russian went point for point with Brazil to end the set as the winner. Which brought them to the forth set which they won again, a closed one. Which brought them to the fifth deciding set, but by that point Brazil was mentally destroyed and loose the game 9-15. Russia won the gold, by refuse to give up when every thought it was over. It showed the different temperament in the two teams, the Russian fought for every point in every set like it was the set point. The perseverance of the Russian team really made you want to root for them, even if you weren’t from there. And you see how proud they were of being able to wear their country’s uniform. At the day and age where we have more professional athletes at the Olympic, it’s good to see to see the hard fought gold instead of an easy predictable route to the top of the podium.

People choose their sports for a lot of reasons, and some even get a chance to represent their countries. How many really reflect on what it mean? do you play harder because you have a chance at the medal only? It is only count when it’s at the world stage? You should play every games with all you got not to win something for your country, but to compete on behalf of your country is the more important above all else. Win or Loose, when you put on that uniform it should mean something.. or else it just “another team” you play for.

As lacrosse take another step closer to the Olympics, are we gonna wait until that day come (or when the World Game come) to give it your all? It is a real shame if that is the case. 

Articles on Lacrosse and the Olympics:

The Summer Olympic Sports of the Future

Why isn’t Lacrosse an Olympic Sport?

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Payu is the President and Founder of Thailand Lacrosse Association, a dedicated international game grower. Payu played the game for 13 years in the U.S., started a men's club team in NYC, before bringing the Creator's game to the Kingdom of Thailand. In addition to that, he founded lacrosse program in Singapore and Malaysia. He's now in his 4th year as the International editor of Lax All-Stars, some say he never sleeps (and we believe it, from his constant 24/7 posting).


  1. great post! The Russian Vball team was on a mission and were fun to watch all Olympics. I was a big fan of all the Field Hockey… it’s great at the Olympics and it’s clear every athlete is an amateur!