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.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

At the FIFA Coaches' Seminar at Philsports

Last weekend, Coach Aris Caslib invited me to give a talk in the FIFA Coaches' Seminar regarding coaches and the media. I had to think about it for a moment before saying yes. Even when I was cut off by the previous PFF admin for exposing its irregularities, Coach Aris always made time (without the bosses knowing) for interviews with his players and of course, himself. They were not clandestine meetings as back then the team would practice in San Beda. But I am always willing to help out. My initial concern was, "can I do this coz it sounds somewhat intimidating?" 

Backtracking a bit, I was in Bacolod for a couple of days and planned to go back to Manila over the weekend but I had to do some work in a shoot in Marikina and take part in the seminar. I got sick in Bacolod mainly due to the changes in weather. Once I got back to Manila I was in horrible shape. It's a good thing I didn't join Pachanga for the morning practice or else I would have been weaker. Well, I didn't have the proper boots to begin with but it sure would have been fun to take part in some of those drills. 

Once I got home, I felt horrible and I still do. My eyes were closing from the pain and I remembered how former New York Yankee pitcher Andy Pettitte would shut himself down during rain delays or such to conserve his energy. I did the same in the morning and on the way to the Philsports complex in Pasig. I suppose it's a zen thing where you block out everything including the traffic. It worked and it got me through the two-hour session (titled "Football and media" that is all about looking at the fourth estate from a different perspective read: opportunity) including the enjoyable workshop. I got intimidated for a moment as I felt I got sized up but once the session got rolling then it was all good. 

Most teams, coaches, and athletes look at the media either as a friend or an enemy and it does happen in a cyclical manner. In my talk, I spoke about looking at the media from a different perspective and how they can make it work for them and the clubs they are a part of. I spent some time working on this (I skipped hanging out with Coach Nonoy Fegidero one evening just shooting the breeze about football and I skipped dinner with a close friend as well) culling experiences and learnings. I asked some other people for their feedback and put together a short 20-slide presentation that should be insightful. The workshop was a little more challenging because the audience (these coaches) have pretty much experienced everything.

I'd like to thank PN Sivaji, FIFA Instructor and AFC Elite Instructor for making it easy for me. Coach Rob Servais, Football Manager with Executive Training Programme in Japan for the challenging questions and opening a door for something in the future. Coach Bob Salvacion for keeping the session light. Coach Marlon Maro for sharing those experiences that should contribute in future dealings with the national team. Coach Dave Booth for keeping me on my toes. Coach Simon McMenemy for sharing all the backroom work that was done in Manila, Vietnam, and Indonesia that has for the most part was unknown by most. It was great seeing you instead of chatting and emailing. It was great serving alongside you (and the others like Diding, Brax, and Roroy not to mention team management who made it all possible). Dinner's on me next week, Coach! Of course, all the other coaches of course who participated -- coaches Gil, Heidi, Marjo, Percy, Joel, and the others who I do not know. It was an honor and great experience. 

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