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, October 31, 2010

Bleachers' Brew #233 Priceless

This column appears in the November 1, 2010 edition of the Business Mirror.

by rick olivares


My two sons and I let out a loud whoop after Jermain Lens blasted a close range shot against the hapless Feyenoord goalkeeper to give PSV Eindhoven an incredible 10-0 lead in a Dutch Eredivisie match. We kind of forgot that it was late in the evening and that we were not at home but in a hotel in Kowloon, Hong Kong.

I was half waiting for the hotel concierge to call and tell us to keep the racket down when there was a knock on the door. It was our neighbor in the room next to us. His eyes were bulging not out of anger but more out of a state of disbelief and horror. “I think you’re watching the same massacre as me, ja?” he said in a German accent. “This is a dark day for Feyenoord football.”

I nodded and answered a meek “yeah”. The German threw up his hands and made a face. “Sorry to disturb you but what a goal, ja?” I smiled in agreement. He patted me on the shoulder, grunted a “good night” then sauntered back to his room. Bullet dodged, ja?

Football does bring the world together.

It was a priceless moment on a cold night in Hong Kong watching a football match on television with my two sons while sharing a mega bag of Calbee Hot ‘n Spicy potato chips with some sodas and a can of Coffee House.

My kids were on semestral break and a break is what I sorely needed from work. Right before we left, a few of my friends called up. I thought they wanted to talk about how Cain Velasquez whipped Brock Lesnar. I was close. They wanted me to purchase for them a copy of the November issue of Playboy that featured UFC Octagon Girl Arianny Celeste. Ten orders to be exact.

If customs in Manila saw Hef’s mags in my bag, I’d be honest and declare, “Well, Arianny Celeste is hot.”

Why stop there? Maybe I should ask why Cebu Pacific stopped their dancing stewardesses from making air travel safety precautions more interesting. I thought that in our flight back home, we had some really pretty and vivacious flight attendants.

Ahem. I am going overboard with all these raging hormones. This was after all a Parental Guidance trip.

I have traveled a lot and far often. As for my children, I realized that bringing them along at a very young age isn’t exactly the most fun thing to do. For one, you have to constantly mind them and it takes some of the fun out of going around. And two, all they wanted back then was to buy their toys and go back to the hotel because they really don’t care for historical landmarks or other tourist spots.

So I decided to only more bring them along when they were old enough to appreciate different cultures. And I was right because when we went to Singapore last summer, the trip was even more enjoyable. Traveling has given them a greater awareness of the world around them. Literally expanding their horizons has given way to ambition.

And now we were in Hong Kong. With all the sight seeing, the Disneyland trip (they enjoyed Universal Studios in Singapore more), eating Vietnamese and Mediterranean cuisine, and shopping, they marveled at the attention that sports was getting in all forms of media.

My two boys love football. The eldest roots for AC Milan while the youngest favors Arsenal. Being in a country where the global game was the number one sport was not lost on them. From the magazine stands to what was shown on television to what was sold in the malls, they enjoyed the change of pace.

“This is great, dad.” gushed my youngest son inside the giant adidas store in Tsim Sha Tsui. “Now I’m not sure what to get anymore.” The store was stocked with football kits of over two-dozen different clubs.

They were surprised at the sports pages of a couple of English-language dailies that I buy when I’m abroad. Over four pages of stories, stats, and information. No ads.

I’ve used their burgeoning interest in sports to expand their reading habits especially apart from the computer. I’ve also learned to use things they enjoy and are familiar with in explaining new concepts to them.

Such as “diversification.” I pointed out why the menus of say fastfood stores like KFC have items on the menu that you cannot find in other countries like the Japanese Curry Packet that my youngest son instantly loved in Hong Kong. “You have to speak to the local market in terms and conditions that they can understand and digest. In this case, it’s food that fits their taste and culture.”

Switching channels in our hotel room, we were just in time for Game One of the World Series.

“You mean like this one?” quizzed my youngest son.

I was shocked, flabbergasted, and upset.

The game – the duel between pitching aces Cliff Lee of the Texas Rangers and Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants – was being broadcast in Mandarin.

“Yes, like that one.” 

Here's that game between PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord Rotterdam

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