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.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A New York Cosmos State of Mind. My submission to the Cosmos Opus.

Here is something that I submitted to the New York Cosmos. They've got this project called the Cosmos Opus where it also includes the thoughts, memories, and anecdotes of fans. If successfully chosen to be a part of the book, the contributor gets a signed copy of the book. Here's what I submitted.

My name is Rick Olivares and I am from the Philippines. As a child of the 1970s, my only connection to American sports was through those Life and Sports Illustrated magazines that my grandfather purchased at Clark Air Base, the biggest American air base outside continental USA. Those magazines and a well-thumbed almanac that my mother gave me were my only connection to the Cosmos. I started out with baseball and the New York Yankees because when you talk about Major League Baseball's history, the Yankees are front and center. And obviously, not soon after and largely because of Pele and Franz Beckenbauer, I discovered the New York Cosmos.

And there began my lifelong love affair with the club and soccer. 

Those 1970s Cosmos teams were the first true galacticos. Not the ones that later played for Real Madrid. Imagine this... there was Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia, Carlos Alberto, Johan Neeskens among many others... I picked up my first pair of soccer boots because of the Cosmos. I learned the bicycle kick because of Pele. Both the Yankees and the Cosmos made me also fall in love with New York City. Along with Marvel Comic books, they were my version of today's popular The Lonely Planet Guides to the Big Apple. Then I began to root for the city's other professional sports teams -- the Islanders and the Giants. I promised myself that one day, I'd live in New York (and I got to do that).

Back in the Philippines, I would go up to the old Army & Navy Club near the US Embassy just to buy the New York Times and the military newspaper Star & Stripes to get info the Cosmos. I saved my daily allowance for the long commute and to buy all of that. If there were pictures, I cut them out and posted them on my wall that became a shrine to my sports heroes.

The first game that I got to watch was unfortunately, Pele's farewell match where he played for both the Cosmos and Santos, his old Brazilian club. When he scored, I yelled like a madman. When the game ended, I cried like a baby. 

When the old NASL folded, I remained a football fan. This time rooting for Liverpool FC. 

But my fascination for the Cosmos never waned. Older and with more purchase power, I bought the DVD of Once In A Lifetime and some Cosmos kits. Anything with the New York Cosmos in it, I bought. When news of the Cosmos' reorganization spread, I was extremely delighted because this was an opportunity for me to really connect with the team what with the benefits of travel and technology. When Pele and Eric Cantona made the trip to Singapore the other year, I was supposed to go but was kept away on other business. It was something that I rue to this day. I vowed that I'd catch them in Asia the next time they come over. As for the new team, I eagerly await their return to the pitch.

And when they do, I'll be back in New York to rekindle this love affair I've had with this team and this city.

It was cool to get acknowledged by the official NY Cosmos twitter account. 

Some old stuff on the Cosmos on Brew.

On other football stuff, I played seven-a-side football yesterday and crumbs! My body aches all over. Haven't used those muscles in a long while and I was huffing and puffing. Could still turn on a dime and tackle a bit but I am woefully slow now (yes, I am getting old). I did get to hammer home a pair of goals but the last was disallowed. Sayang, it was a good one though as I dribbled around the keeper and slotted it into the empty net. That should serve as inspiration to do it again.

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