Size matters
by James “ Kojak ” Hughs

When I write a column for this newspaper, I feel it is important to be as accurate as I can be in the facts and logic I present. To meet this standard, I spend long hours doing research. While researching one article, I found myself on an internet site devoted to statistics on mortality rates in the Philippines. The page was filled with numbers reflecting the reasons why Filipinos die. Diseases, accidents, suicides, murders, and all the things that cut short the lives of our brothers and sisters. In the middle of all these depressing numbers was the following statement: “The average Filipino is 5’ 7" tall ????


Why is this fact on this page? Why is it considered “important” enough to be included in a site devoted to Philippine mortality statistics? In case there is any doubt in your mind, a person’s height has nothing to do with his mortality or even his ability to succeed in life.

While attending a Foundation University basketball game I noticed a player who was at best 5’ 4". He was the shortest member of the team. The other players taller than him; they dominated him in a game that favors a tall player. Why did he even try out for the team? HE IS SHORT. What the hell did he think he could do in a tall man’s game?

Then they began to play. HE WAS FANTASTIC. He was all over the court, not only was he a fantastic player but he inspired his team members with his spirit. If you think this is an exception, you would be wrong. Philippine history and the history of the world is filled with Davids that triumphed over Goliath. No matter what career field you chose, your success is not limited by your stature but by your determination.

The basic motto of Special Forces (Green Beret) is “Run till you drop; crawl until you pass out”. You never give up. You turn handicaps into advantages. You never accept failure, but find the path to success.

SPORTS Manny Pacqiao (holder of 8 titles and one of the greatest fighters of all times), Danny “the Giant Killer” Padill ( a new rising star in boxing),Pernell Whitaker (Gold Medalist and holder of six boxing titles), Bruce Lee ,Tyrone Bogues & Spud Webb(stars of the NBA, and little Spud was famous for “dunking”) WARRIORS Genghis Khan (conqueror of China) Napoleon, Alexander the Great ,David Ben-Gurion (rebel warrior and President of Israel), Ghandi , Yasser Arafat ( Palestinian rebel leader), Audie Murphy (most decorated WW II soldier) Vincente Lim (Philippine WW II hero) Leon Kilat (Lightening Horseman, hero of Bacong) Lawrence of Arabia, SINGERS Lady Gaga, Prince, Paula Abdul, Dolly Pardon, Paul Simon, Sammy Davis Jr ACTORS Dustin Hoffman, Michael J Fox, Vanessa Hudgens, Reese Witherspoon, Tom Cruise, Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Al Pacino MUSICIAN Beethoven, Igor Stravinsky, ASTRONAUT Yuri Gagarin (First man in space) Gus Grissom ARTIST Rodin (sculptor) Picasso, Toulouse Lautrec, LEADERS Joseph Stalin, American president James Madison, Martin Luther King Jr.

All of these people and many more were shorter than the average Filipino. That did not hold them back. You do not measure a person by the number of centimeters from their nose to their toes, but by the size of their heart, the mass of their determination and will. Not being tall is not a handicap unless YOU make it one. Look around you. The Philippines was created by people just like you. Focus on the positive not some imaginary negative. Look for ways to succeed not excuses to fail. NEVER GIVE UP.

ADDENDUM One of the greatest western movies ever made was SHANE, starring Alan Ladd. Alan Ladd was a very handsome “A” list movie star, but he was very short. You will notice he is never filmed side by side with other actors because they were all taller than him, including the leading ladies. They would put him on boxes to make him appear taller. They even dug a trench so the leading lady could walk beside him and not tower taller than him.

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