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, August 1, 2011

Erik Spoelstra on coming home, NBA Fit and how it applies to the Miami Heat

This appears in the Tuesday, August 2, 2011 edition of the Business Mirror.

Erik Spoelstra on coming home, NBA Fit and how it applies to the Miami Heat
by rick olivares

When Erik Spoelstra flew in via Philippine Airlines from Los Angeles (with a one-night stopover in Hong Kong), the Miami Heat coach had quite a few things in mind.

In his third trip back to the Philippines since taking a high profile coaching job with the Heat, every trip back to his mother’s homeland has had all the makings of a homecoming. “There are the relatives is rarely see,” he thought. “And a several hundred thousand others who have opened their arms to me.”

“He’s become a symbol of the capabilities of Filipinos all around the world,” noted NBA Asia’s Senior Director of Business Development, Ed Winkle of Spoelstra.

And there was NBA Fit, the program that he has committed his life to. “It’s not just a commitment,” he cleared. “It’s a life that you commit to.”

It was a warm thought. But Spoelstra also had to brace himself with a slew of questions about the previous campaign of the Heat that ended in defeat to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals.

In perhaps the most high profile coaching job in the NBA now that Phil Jackson retired from the Los Angeles Lakers, Spoelstra in Manila for a week for the second year of the NBA Fit program, related that there are a lot of key learnings in the pro league. “I think it’s just as important that one practices what he preaches. In a stressful and demanding world, you have to make the right decisions in what you eat and drink. It’s so easy and tempting to reach out for junk food but it doesn’t help you. That helps you become mentally and physically sharper and focused to deal with the NBA grind.”

Spoelstra, a fitness buff, joins the Miami Heat workouts, something that assistant David Fizdale recounted during their visit last year, “resonates well with the players. He can back up the talk.”

The third year head coach of the Heat underscored that the previous campaign of the Heat where superstars Chris Bosh and LeBron James joined resident star Dwyane Wade in Miami, was simply the beginning of a journey. “There are things you learn during the season – how to block out the ‘noise’ from the outside, how to deal with adversity, how to motivate people… and that goes for myself and the coaching staff. Not just the players. But it’s going into a season with a clear goal of what you want. Once everyone commits to that then everything else follows. But the journey isn’t over. It’s just beginning.”

The NBA Fit is the league’s global health and wellness program that encourages physical activity and healthy living for children and families. It is fully endorsed by the Department of Health.

“We had such a great response to last year’s program,” added Winkle of NBA Fit. “People like the program and it helps that we have an excellent role model in Erik at the forefront of the program.”

NBA Fit, sponsored by Gatorade, Air21, Energen, Head and Shoulders, Alaska, Sanofi-Aventis, and Philippine Airlines, will hold a development camp and celebrity challenge at the Araneta Coliseum on August 5, a clinic at the Mall of Asia on August 6, and Fun Run at the Bonifacio Global City on August 7. 

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