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.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mine tangled thoughts: On Dili kamo nag-iisa (the charity football match for the victims of Typhoon Sendong)

Working the Skype interview with Internacionale de Madrid. Photo by Craig Burrows.

Mine tangled thoughts: On Dili kamo nag-iisa
by rick olivares

While talking to a few friends from football clubs, they said they weren’t really jumping through the hoops to watch the match between the Azkals-UFL Alyansa and Internacional de Madrid. “They’re a third division squad,” said one somewhat derisively.

“I think some people consider our national side a little second or third rate,” I countered.

I think some people are missing the point.

Match day – Saturday, January 7, 2012 – is titled “Dili kamo nag-iisa”. It is a football match for charity. It was organized to help the victims of Typhoon Sendong.

How different is that from a celebrity basketball match? None, right? The idea is to help. And I don’t think that any one is going to play matador defense here. People have to appreciate what is being done. Everyone working behind the scenes is not getting paid a centavo. And in this match, there’s an element of risk. If someone gets injured that will hurt his stint with his club not to mention the national team.

It is not simple organizing a match. Given the short amount of time to put this together, I believe that it’s already a minor miracle getting it done.

While I have several concerns actually but I will share one. I think Internacional’s arrival on Friday is cutting it too close. Assuming they even arrive on time, when they get to the hotel it is late in the afternoon then they have to brave the Friday night traffic to get to the hotel. I know the scrimmage is there but I do not like it. Then they play a match the following day? The quality of play could suffer there.

In a Skype interview with team captain Juli, I asked him about that and he said that he thought they’d be okay. They’re stoked for the trip and the match.

That’s great to hear then because everyone is working hard to make sure that it will be a memorable event.

Having worked with another local organizing group for the Sri Lanka and Kuwait matches, this one is somewhat different although there are some familiar people in familiar if not different roles.

I almost didn’t come on board for this. I was about to turn down being asked to work as media officer but how do you say no to an old friend and schoolmate like Ebong Joson? I don’t regret it. It gave me a chance to work more closely with other people I respect like the indefatigable Craig Burrows. There’s Ritchie Gannaban who has been able to spot things that we oft miss out. Rafa Garcia who I became fast friends with on that long plane ride from Manila to Kuwait last year. We have the lads from Soccer Central who have been a huge help. There’s so many more.

At the end of the day when I get home, I invariably find myself thinking, “I hope this helps the people in Mindanao.” It’s only now as I write this where I realize what this means to myself.

In fact, while attending the press conference where the Sipag program of Gawad Kalinga was launched, I had an epiphany. I shared it with Craig and Ed Formoso, another old friend. I said I’d mull over all the way to next week before making a decision.

The late Bill Shankly once famously said that football is more than life and death. And all I can say for the nth time is, “He sure got that right.”


Tickets to "Dili kamo nag-iisa" cost Php 100, Php 200, Php 400, and Php 500 exclusive of tax. 

Here are some links related to the event:
The Final line up of the Azkals-UFL Alyansa and Internacional de Madrid for the match

Internacional de Madrid looks forward to playing in Manila

An interview with LBC's Santi Araneta on the match and helping out

A Media Advisory on the match


  1. Very good insight! Yup, it's not about the Azkals going against Internacional de Madrid which is a 3rd division team, it's the objective of the match - it's for charity (to raise funds to be able to help typhoon sendong victims. =)

  2. "If you haven't any charity in your heart you have the worst kind of heart trouble" to cure it
    Help people, let's unite for one good cause, be a volunteer"save lives"!