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.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Reflections on 2012 Part 1

Chatting with Loyola's Mark Hartmann at Changi Airport while waiting for a flight back to Manila. I have been campaigning for the return of MH to the national team. 

Reflections on 2012 Part 1
by rick olivares

Reflecting on the year that was, there have been many memorable ones. There’s the incredible finish to the 2011 UFL League, the Singapore Cup campaign of Loyola, UAAP Season 75 and the five-peat by the Ateneo Blue Eagles, and the Suzuki Cup. There are many more, of course, that are non-sports related. But since Bleachers Brew happens to be a sports-blog then I’m going to mostly mention athletic events.

I am nearly halfway done through year one of my self-imposed deadline to move into an entirely different milieu or career if you wish, I thought of two recent things that I spent time mulling over.

The first is a battlefield tour that I am undertaking with some friends. As a history and military buff, I have long yearned to see some of the great battlefields of our time. Last year, I was supposed to go to Normandy and Rouen as a side trip of a trip to France that did not push through for some terrible reason. Normandy for its many medieval battles and being the site of the invasion of France by the Allied forces during World War II. Rouen is altogether another reason.

As a youngster, I was infatuated by two persons – Gregorio del Pilar (who became the subject of a commercial I conceptualized for PLDT during the Philippine Centennial) and Joan of Arc.

The French saint was one of those who I got interested in after reading those book of saints as a youngster. Rouen was where St. Joan was burned at the stake. I must have read a couple of books about St. Joan while growing up. And that is one reason why I befriended New York indie pop rocker Michael Grace Jr. while I lived in the Empire State because of his similar interest in the late French lass.

Anyways, we are planning two battlefield tours – the first being here in the Philippines and the second in Europe (where we hope to go to Normandy and of course, Rouen). Both over two years’ time. The European trip is more costly and I’ll have to really save for that. The Philippine tour will take us from Tirad Pass to Besang Pass then to Bataan and Corregidor. We’re looking at March of 2013 to do get around to doing that.

The second thing I was mulling over was a side story during my recent coverage of the Azkals to the Suzuki Cup. During an off night, Bob Guerrero, Craig Burrows, and myself went to Nana to catch Group B play in one of the sports bars where there were all these hospitality girls.

Honest! We went there to watch and not to do anything else.

Anyways, in one table next to us, there was this girl engaged in torrid saliva swapping with this Caucasian tourist. After a while she went to the comfort rooms that were adjacent to where we sat (by the bar and close to the television sets) that was just a couple of feet away.

I was surprised that the girl was really into kissing the tourist. I remember a former officemate of mine who fell for this girl in one of those Quezon Avenue bars. He told me that the girl said that they never kiss guys. They can do what they want to their bodies but their lips are sacred and saved for only people who they truly love. It was a story I never forgot.

Now I have no idea if the same thing applies to Thai prostitutes and I guess I will never know.

I am not sure if Bob or Craig followed what was going on (but I do remember remarking to Bob about what was going on) but what followed was equal parts fascinating, shocking, and revealing.

Anyways, the lady went to the sink, splashed cold water on her face. Then she took a long and hard look at herself in the mirror in front of her. Earlier, she had this smile (but not a wide grin mind you) on her face. Now in front of the mirror it had been replaced by quiet introspection. I can only surmise what was going through inside her head. It took about a minute then she splashed more water on her face then combed her hair some. When she stepped out of that area, her face had changed to her “business face”. She was all smiles again and went back to her table to resume her sucking face.

I was mesmerized/engrossed by what I had just witnessed. I recounted this story to a few friends of mine. Every time with a shake of my head.

This takes me also back to a time when I was still working in the creative section of ad agencies where I did a public service ad (read scam ad) on music piracy and prostitution where I interviewed some of these ladies of the night in order to better understand the situation.

I certainly wish that I’ll be able to purge this from my mind because I still see the expression on her face when she looked at herself in the mirror. It’s a powerful image.

Following Loyola from their UFL to the Singapore Cup is truly gratifying. At the end of their campaigns, they were eventually a victim of the scheduling that continues to plague local football. Even with their fourth place finish, it was still a smashing success for the Sparks.

Is it coincidence that both Loyola and the Azkals’ runs were ended by a Singaporean club and national team? If their recent win in the Suzuki Cup is any indication, our barometer for conquering the region is the Lions. When push came to shove, on the biggest stage, Tampines Rovers and Singapore rose to the occasion.

There’s so much story to both these runs. In fact, I didn’t write everything. Maybe one day all the stories can be told. 

With Jacques Palami, Roy Moore, and Bob Guerrero at Golden Bar in Nana, Bangkok where we watched Group B play of the Suzuki Cup and the ladies of the night ply their trade.

1 comment:

  1. I am also campaigning for Mark Hartman to be included to the National team...give this guy a chance, he can do a lot...