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, April 14, 2012

Feliz aniversario, Santos FC!

On the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of Santos FC (April 14, 2012), I have to write this. When I was growing up, there were two football teams that I loved -- the New York Cosmos and Santos. Obviously, the common denominator was Pele. There was no cable television so I couldn't watch any games by Santos. But on the American Armed Forces channel, they would sometimes show the North American Soccer League and the marquee team the Cosmos. Well, there was Pele, Carlos Alberto, Giorgio Chinaglia, and Franz Beckenbauer. I was also a huge fan of the Der Kaiser. However, it was Pele who I along with every other kid of my generation who we wanted to be on the pitch. As for Santos, I thought that that the black and white pinstripes were the coolest. I love the color black and the logo that in some way, reminded me of the Oakland Raiders.

But as a kid then, the access to information especially about football was so few and far in between so I can't really say I was fanatical in my devotion. I guess, I was more fanatical in my devotion to the X-Men as I inherited my uncle collection of those early Stan Lee and Jack Kirby issues. What really made me even more interested in Pele, Santos, and football were two pop music icons of the time -- Bob Marley and Sergio Mendes. 

During this time, I was into KISS, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Aerosmith, and the heavy stuff of the time. This was my pre-punk and new wave phase. I had some friends like Dominic Gamboa (Papadom of Tropical Depression fame and who was a couple of batches ahead of me in Ateneo) who introduced me to Marley and reggae music. Back then, I bought and read as many Creem and Rolling Stone magazines as I could afford. There was the picture in Rolling Stone of Bob Marley playing football while wearing a Santos jersey. The connection intrigued me and I began a love affair with reggae music that lasts up to today. As for Sergio Mendes, it was my dad who greatly influenced my listening to other genres. He introduced me to The Sound of Philadelphia, soul music, and Sergio Mendes. My older cousin, Michael, was not a rocker like me. He preferred jazz, swing and European music. I did see this album (see below) at Michael place in ParaƱaque and during a family reunion, he showed me the album and played a track from the album -- I'll never forget it -- 'Love City'. That was the single from the album. Michael showed it to me because he also knew that I loved football. The cover grabbed me. And so did the back cover (see the pic below of Mendes and his crew wrapped in bandages). And who was the 'doctor'? None other than Pele. 

Not soon after the NASL folded up and Pele retired, Santos disappeared from my consciousness. The void was filled by Liverpool FC. It sure helped that my love for The Beatles introduced me to this club (although the Fab Four were not football fans). That and the stellar play in midfield by John Barnes and later Robbie Fowler turned me into a massive Liverpool fan. And to this day, I root for the Reds. 

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