By Jason J. Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
Welcome to another edition of The Layup Drill. This month, we write about the effects of the coronavirus and the potential issues it may have on sports, Team Philippines baseball gets a boost from the New York Mets, and the creator of the famous “Konami Code” has passed away.
Sports affected by coronavirus
The coronavirus, a pandemic that has caused concern, especially in Western Washington, is forcing sports to amend its schedules. There is uncertainty as to when and how the virus will be stopped from spreading, but sporting events worldwide are scrambling to prevent further infection. The long-term concern is that the disease, which has caused death in over 3,000 individuals across the globe, may cancel the Olympics this summer in Tokyo.
The concern with the Olympics is its proximity to China, where the virus originated. If the coronavirus is not contained, the Olympics would likely be cancelled rather than delayed. A decision would have to be made by late May. Already, the Olympic Torch relay, a tradition of the host country running with the torch throughout the country to eventually light the symbolic Olympic flame, has been scaled back, but has not been cancelled.
The Olympics are set to begin on July 24 and run through Aug. 9.
The Tokyo Marathon took place in early March with empty streets and signs that requested the public to “refrain from watching.” The event was to have around 38,000. However, organizers decided to reduce the entries to just the elite runners and wheelchair athletes. Thus, only about 200 runners competed this year. As a result, the number of volunteers required on the course was reduced. In addition, Japan’s soccer league is being postponed until the middle of March. Also, baseball is curtailing the number of public exhibitions it is having prior to the start of its season.
UFC women’s strawweight champion Weili Zhang is set to defend her title on March 7 in Las Vegas. However, she was told at the beginning of February that she should leave her home in China and go to Thailand to avoid the risk of contracting the virus. She went to Thailand and then spent another two weeks in Abu Dhabi to train before eventually heading to Las Vegas in late February. The upheaval from moving around prior to her first title defense has been a problem. She complained to her mother back home in China about how tiring it was to travel and train with the uncertainty of where she would be spending her time. Her mother told her not to take her training too seriously because of the number of doctors and medical staff back home in China working all hours to help stop the spread of the virus.
Recalling this fact, Zhang refocused her energy back into training.
Tebow to join Team Philippines
Tim Tebow, who made his fame playing college football with the Florida Gators where he won the Heisman Trophy, then in the NFL, and then as an ESPN college football analyst, will play for the Philippines National Baseball Team. Tebow, whose parents were missionaries in the Philippines, was born in Makati, Philippines.
After his NFL career in August 2016, Tebow decided to give baseball a try and is currently playing in the minor leagues of the New York Mets farm system. He was approached about possibly playing for the Philippines national team and was receptive to the offer.
After receiving the blessing from the Mets, Tebow announced that he would play for Team Philippines in the 2021 World Baseball Classic (WBC) qualifiers. The WBC is the “World Cup” of baseball with countries from all over the world competing. The tournament occurs every four years.
“I’ve just really had a love for the people [of the Philippines] for a long time. To be able to represent them will be really cool—really, really cool,” he told reporters. Tebow will play on March 20 for Team Philippines against the Czech Republic, as part of a qualifying game to see which teams will play next spring.
The United s won the last WBC classic in Los Angeles. Next year, the finals will take place in Miami.
Creator of “cheat code” dies
Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right B, A, Start.
Putting that sequence into your Nintendo controller was a “cheat code” for multiple games, including Contra. Known as the “Konami Code” as the sequence was used on multiple Konami games, it was a part of a gamer’s “bag of tricks” to get an upper hand in video games.
The creator, Kazuhisha Hashimoto, passed away in February. Konami made the announcement, calling Hashimoto “a deeply talented producer who first introduced the world to the ‘Konami Code.’”
The code first appeared in 1986 for a Nintendo game, Gradius, which gave players access to a number of “power-ups” to make the game easier to play. Hashimoto first created the code because he thought the game was too difficult to play.
The code came to prominence in the 1988 game Contra where the code gives the player 30 additional lives.
Throughout the years, the code has been used on multiple games giving players an opportunity to master the game without actually having to master the game. The codes gave the players the chance to try out new facets of the game and hours of entertainment.
As esports becomes much more mainstream, it is nice to remember a much simpler time when cheating in a video game was encouraged, if not a requirement.
Jason can be reached at email@example.com.