Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Doug Kramer on the Brotherhood

Rick: The theme of the campaign is “brotherhood.” What does this mean to you?
: For me “brotherhood” means “through thick and thin magkakasama tayo." You’re more than just teammates. Over the course of a year or even during your entire college stay, you spend more time with your teammates than even your family. So you develop a bond. You learn to trust each other in life in and outside of basketball. And when the game’s on the line, you rely on each other to cover everyone’s back. You look after each other no matter what.

Rick: Does being a brother to another player mean more than just being a teammate to you?
Doug: Being a teammate means basically you’re just there to play with him. But being a “brother” means you’ll always be there kahit mapaaway kayo, kahit may problema siya. Kahit wala yung confidence niya sa game – you try and help him regain that. Basically it means helping each other out no matter what.

Rick: Growing up – not that you’re old already – was there a “big brother” for you? It could have been a teammate, a coach, a classmate, a professor, a friend or even family member.
Doug: For me, in these last few years, more than anyone, it was coach Norman (Black). He was both a brother and a father figure to me. He really helped me one on one especially in my third year when I was struggling. He really took time out of his schedule to help me grow. Not just in terms of basketball skills but also by following up on my studies. He really helped me get through and achieve my potential.

Rick: “It’s not about me but we.” It’s adidas’ creed or team concept. Do you subscribe to that and if you do, why?
: I believe in it. For you to take part in a team sport you have to believe in it. Basketball is not about an individual. Everyone has to chip in. You cannot score 100 points a game and be successful. It takes more than scoring to win a game. There’s a reason why there are five of you on the court. You have to help out in playing defense and rebounding. In setting up plays or even by just contributing to the hustle stats. If your goal is to be individualistic where you’re after awards or scoring records, you’ll be recognized for that feat, but they’ll respect you more when you jell with the team and through that turn the team into a winner.

Rick: Was there a “brotherhood” moment for you during your time in Ateneo?
: During my last year we had a lot of instances and opportunities to show our camaraderie. Sobrang brotherhood. How far we’ve grown as a team or as a band of brothers. I’ve never been closer to any team than the one I played on in my final year. After losing our first game of the eliminations even the championship, walang nagsisihan. We consoled each other in the dugout and promised to carry on what we’ve learned in our time together. Even for us who graduated, we would attend the games to show support. We knew we gave it our all during last year’s finals. And it was a successful season for us despite the outcome. We were proud of what we accomplished in spite of not meeting the ultimate goal.

On Playing for Air21:
: It's okay naman with Air21. Very professional. And everyone gets playing time so you know you're going in no matter what. You just have to be prepared. I haven't been taking too many shots. I try to play defense and get some rebounds. But I hope to have that breakout game soon.

On Having former UAAP rivals like Arwind Santos and KG Canaleta (among others) as teammates:
: No matter what the problems one has they all come to practices and the games plugged in. We don't really mind each other's problems unless they bring it out. We don't have kantyawan of any sort about our playing days. We joke and tease each other about other stuff, but the college stuff... well hindi naman.

On pro hoops:
: It's a job now, man. You miss playing for Ateneo and all the cheering, the big crowds. Yeah, if I could do it all over again, I'd play for the school once more.

On playing his former teammates in the pros:
: So far Rico or any of the others haven't given that "welcome to the PBA" treatment if there is one. It felt strange at first being on the court with them and they were wearing a different uniform.

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