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, June 3, 2014

A furiously green football camp for the media (and plugging in my internal hard drive)

With Mark Zambrano, Ryan Fenix, Chieffy Caligdong, Tating Pasilan, Mario Eala, Ritchie Gannaban and Patrick Deyto!
This appears in

A furiously green football camp for the media
(and plugging in my internal hard drive)
by rick olivares

I remember a long time ago when I heard this European football player rant against a writer for not understanding the game. And like every other thing that I is worth something, I filed it away in my brain’s hard drive thinking I’d put that to good use someday.

Football has been played for over a hundred years on these Philippine islands and yet it was only recently that it finally gained media prominence. But that is fine. As the saying goes, “better late than never.”

With that in mind, we brought football media to participate in a scaled down version of a camp that was sponsored by Gatorade and conducted by the Chelsea Soccer School/The Younghusband Football Academy with the participation of some UFL clubs. The media, my colleagues in the trenches of reporting, were to learn the basics of the sport from passing, heading, shooting, and dribbling under the tutelage of national players Nate Burkey, James and Phil Younghusband, Chieffy Caligdong, and other coaches. These are players the media get to see on a regular basis and to learn first hand from them would make it more meaningful.

We also got adidas and LGR to provide them with personalized kits and boots (and gear) to complete the camp experience.

The camp also coincided with the launch of the special limited edition Gatorade Green Fury with Lionel Messi on the label that is specifically for the football season.

I used to say that the Blue Bolt flavor was my favorite but Green Fury just went to the top of the class (with its Kiwi flavor that doesn't leave a sour taste in your mouth).

While writing the script for the most excellent hosts of the event – Chiqui Reyes and Marielle Benitez – I put in another thing that I filed away in that aforementioned internal hard drive.

When Erik Spoelstra first came over to the Philippines in his official capacity as head coach of the Miami Heat, he gave a clinic that we sponsored for some college basketball players and coaches. We never told Coach Spo any script or reminders about what to say but there was one thing he said that not only stuck in my mind but in the others as well: “You hydrate before the game and not during the game.”

And it’s true and I also remember colleague TJ Manotoc telling me that it was something that he began to follow in earnest after hearing Coach Spo relate that extremely valuable tip.

Phil Younghusband totally related with that. During the first Smart Club Championship, he didn’t hydrate at all and he paid for it by being hospitalized for close to three days due to dehydration and severe cramping.

And for as long as I have been planning events for my media colleagues alongside my Mindshare officemates, hydration has been a part of it.

I came up with a modified version of Shooting Stars where we matched up media alongside Jr. NBA players and NBA veterans where they had to made buckets from pre-arranged spots on the floor. However, before shooting, they had to drink a small cup of Gatorade. Again it was reinforcing the need to hydrate.

Personally, for someone who has pushed for Gatorade’s support for football, it is extremely gratifying to see it all happening. With nothing more than a love for the national football team and a long-standing friendship with the Younghusband brothers, we plunged into it before they became household names and with the naysayers proclaiming it a waste. My response was and still is, “Oh ye of little faith.”

And now on a global scale, the brand is working with players Leo Messi, Sergio Aguero, David Luiz, and Sergio Ramos as well as teams like Boca Juniors, AC Milan, Arsenal, Barcelona, and a club dear to my heart, Liverpool. It can bring a tear to a grown man like me.

But all good things come to an end. The camp closed with a 15-a-side scrimmage! Imagine that! Hahaha. That was one for the books but everyone got a chance to play alongside the Younghusbands, Chieffy, Tating Pasilan, Burkey, Alfred Osei, and Natasha Alquiros! How many can say they got to do that?

And the camp and this night is something the media folks will remember for a long time.

For sure, this is another thing I will file away into that internal hard drive of mine.

Levi Verora (formerly of Rappler), JP Manahan of Soccer Central, Mia Domingo of Inboundpass, Ryan Fenix of interaksyon, and Diego dela Paz of Full Court Fresh/Business Mirror.

Highlights of the night:

Bob Guerrero's save of a Nate Burkey long bomb

Levi Verora's header off a Burkey corner kick for the match's first goal. A stunner! 

Phil Younghusband winning Leo Messi's Argentina jersey.

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