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.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Ateneo Men's Volleyball Team

In my three years of writing for Ateneo at www.ateneo.edu (maintained by my dear friends Sonia Araneta and Gia Dumo), I've only written about the Blue Eagles, the Lady Eagles, the Blue Booters, the Blue Batters, and the Blue Babble Battalion. There was the odd article on the Blue Fins and the Blue Woodpushers, but it wasn't much. The two teams I wanted to write about were the men's and women's volleyball teams.

Some people laughed and asked, "why when they keep losing and they suck?"

I guess as an Atenean, I really support all our sports teams. In high school we didn't get to watch the Blue Eaglets because we weren't allowed to leave class. Oh, we'd get to see the PAYA and PRADA teams because they played at the high school covered courts. I think my first Blue Eaglets game was the championship of 1985 at Araneta Coliseum where all the senior classes were allowed to watch. That's like 335 strong cheering and hollering. We won that year.

Even when Ateneo was losing all those years I remained a fan. In college one time, there were only five of us on hand to watch the game. There were no cheerleaders and we were playing a strong UE team. We started cheering from the bleachers. It was the place where everyone stayed then and it was all we students could afford. La Salle was playing the next game and some of their cheerleaders were on hand to watch the game. Three or four of the greenies who helped re-organize their Pep Squad were from Ateneo High and we asked them over to help cheer. It was quite a sight and I don't think it will ever happen again. Guys in green and blue cheering their lungs out during the entire game. What I will never forget too is how the UE and Ateneo teams stood up to cheer and clap for us in a true gesture of sportsmanship that I have never seen since. My fellow Guidon member and editor Joseph Nocos took a shot of that and we both remember that quite fondly.

Since my grade school days, all I had ever known was winning. All the way into college my batch won back-to-back UAAP titles, were it not for some freak off-court occurences, then we would have gotten a third straight crown.

The program has always been about basketball. I'm certainly glad the the other sports are being brought up to speed.

But the volleyball teams.

I thought that it was compelling that they'd go into every match wondering if this is where the losing streak ended. How hard is it to put on a jersey and hear the catcalls and jeers from foes who know they were beat even before the game started? How difficult is it that people watch the women's team and no one bothered to watch them save for athletics officials and the women's team?

I knew they had gotten a very good coach in Ronald Dulay and it was interesting for me to see how they came out and played.

The more I watched, the more I became a fan of theirs. I'm not sure how the season will end for all, but what I can say is that these guys are winners in my book as they play with all that pressure and the odds stacked against them.

I nearly lost everything that I own the other day in a fire that gutted the neighborhood. I haven't gotten back to normal as the migraine headaches have persisted. I have not written about their past two games, but I most certainly will today despite my apartment being topsy turvy. I was late to the game but made sure to bring them sports drinks for the second straight game. I'm not the most moneyed person right now what with what's going on, but I still went yesterday and showed the team support. And guess what, they won! And in fact, that should have been their third this season.

AJ, Timmy, Pao, Mike, Mark, Macky, JR, Julborg, Ed... and the others keep on fighting. Kaya niyo yan. As we like to say in our school, Believe.

I didn't come to watch and get a story. I came to watch because I knew we were going to win.

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