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.

Friday, October 10, 2008

On being courtside

People ask me what is it like to have the best seat in the house -- courtside -- during basketball games. The truth is... it's awesome.

I relish it because I get to sit at the baseline on the sidelines, I get to go to the dugout, the press room, on the court after the games, chat with the table officials, the refs, the commissioner, the players, the coaches, fans, ball boys, event security, and the pop corn vendor. Yes, the roving vendors who sell hotdogs, popcorn, and whatnot. You should hear their zen-like thoughts about the game, "Parang maling timpla na popcorn yung laro ni (place name of player here) -- sobrang alat."

Ironically though, despite being close to the action, there's a certain serenity to it all. In case you wonder if the players on the court hear what is being cheered or shouted at the stands, well, for the most part they don't. Because if they do, that means they're not focused on the game at hand. Ditto with us media folks on the side. You'll find us engrossed not just in the game but what goes on all around. We look not just at the players but the bench or even the refs and the officials. Amongst ourselves, we get to discuss and compare notes on the spot. Occasionally though the players, like everyone else on the court, hear the crowd more so during deadball situations. Certain cheers also get their adrenaline pumping.

There's this feeling of calm being detached from all the hollering. There is the urge from time to time to give the refs a piece of your mind but for the most part, we're quiet. Sometimes, we're able to pick up snippets of conversation, questions, or even trash talking (Bader Malabes taunting Chris Tiu, PJ Barua telling Rico Maierhofer that he's a second too late in the rotation, Dylan Ababou telling Jeric Fortuna to pass the ball). It's actually amazing. Kinda like being wired that
sometimes you won't believe the exchanges that we see and hear on the court.

But all in all, it's been fun being on the court for the last two years. A great great experience.

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