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.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bleachers' Brew #228 Fanatic

This appears in my column in the Monday September 27, 2010 edition of the Business Mirror.

Ateneo Blue Eagles fans are some of the most fanatic in all of sportsdom. Actually, that’s an understatement.
by rick olivares

As you wake up in the morning you flick on your computer. Once you’re done with showering, you check your email, ESPN, some news sites before you save the best for last -- the local sports sites and blogs for news, info, and gossip about the Ateneo Blue Eagles (and everything else about UAAP basketball).

Over breakfast, your kids drink their chocolate milk in those Jollibee tumblers that have “Ateneo Blue Eagles” all over it. You talk about the game last night, the game later, the game tomorrow, the game next weekend, or the next tournament. You tell war stories of yesterday’s champion teams and of a Dark Age that is now ancient history while sipping coffee from a mug with another Blue Eagle on it.

Breakfast is done, you go to your room to change. You open your closet and the wardrobe is blue and white with a sprinkling of other colors. Conspicuously absent is anything colored green.

You wear a blue shirt, slip on a blue baller ID with Ateneo Blue Eagles etched on it, and you’re off. Before you bound out of the house, don’t forget your Ateneo jacket. It’s like American Express – don’t leave home without it.

You save up on your leaves to use them on game days. If you cannot go on leave, you set outside meetings that actually are conveniently scheduled are games or near the venue. If you’re at the game clandestinely, you make sure you are not seated where the television camera can see you lest you get shown on screen and your boss or tattletale officemates might rat on you.

On weekends you watch with the family.  If the team wins, everyone eats out (buffet style) and it seems that the food never tasted so good (even if it’s of the fastfood type). You already saw the game live and you still rush home to watch the replay. If the team loses, you forego eating out to go home. You don’t talk to anyone, eat a little, maybe not even, then go to sleep. The following day, you’re catatonic. It’s as if you lost your home, your job, or your girl. It’s the worst feeling ever.

Officemates. By the time the college basketball season rolls around, the lines are drawn by team colors. You trade jokes, barbs, and buy Krispy Kreme doughnuts of your school color to give to your officemates when the Blue Eagles emerge victorious. When Ateneo loses, it’s your turn to eat humble pie, er, doughnuts. Losing has never been sweeter, I swear.

The wallpaper of your computer is the Blue Eagles. The avatar of your messenger is your favorite Blue Eagle. Your status message reflects the state the team is in. The ringtone of your mobile phone is… thank God, it’s not an Ateneo cheer but the Alan Parsons Project’s “Sirius” that the Chicago Bulls once made famous. Wait a minute… you mean it’s not? It’s actually “Go Ateneo”?

The family you come from is true blue. That means your father, mother, siblings, cousins, nephews and nieces. When someone from another school – most usually it’s from that school along Taft – marries into the family, it’s the Blue Roast all over again.

During the course of the season, you wish that the season would speed up to its conclusion so you can get back to a normal life and pick up on the work that has piled up since July. But when the season is done, win or lose, you try to figure out what’s next. Life suddenly seems… empty, incomplete, not as vibrant or exciting. But look at it this way, there’s always the recruiting wars to talk about and the summer leagues. That should more than keep you busy.

Ateneo Blue Eagles basketball – it’s not just a passion. It’s a way of life.

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