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.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Air Up There: On Tiger Woods & Philippine volleyball

This appears in the Monday, February 2, 2015 edition of the Business Mirror.

The Air Up There: On Tiger Woods & Philippine volleyball
by rick olivares

No one stays on top forever. If they are atop the pole position for an extended amount of time, then that’s not only an aberration but also something special. Even as time and the ravages of age take its toll, we are still shocked to see the results.

And right now, the Class of 1996, is on their heels. After Los Angeles Lakers’ icon Kobe Bryant saw his third season in the last four years end rather prematurely, another titan of the 1990s continues his shocking fall from the top. I am referring to Tiger Woods.

Since he crashed his SUV into a tree and got embroiled in a much-publicized divorce, Tiger Woods has lost his aura of invincibility. His fall from grace (his repeated reports of infidelity and spats with fellow golfers, caddies, and sportswriters) was sudden and painful to watch. As some pundits said, it was instant karma. One Woods’ Thai side would have recognized. Except maybe he wasn’t in touch with that side as the trappings of fame took him.

Woods, for the first time in three years, is out of golf’s top 50 rankings in the world (he once dropped to #58). While he has bounced back several times before, I wonder if this is the end of him as a golfer. I am not writing an obituary on the career of one of the greatest golfers of all time – see, he went from supposed to be the GOAT to merely one of the greatest. Far from it. I think that the demi-god status once accorded to him is long gone. He’s become another good golfer with good days and bad days with hopes there are fewer of the latter.

He used to win not only with surprising regularity but he was also so dominant. Now there are questions about his health, his not getting enough practice, his swing, and not to mention his choice of clubs. Everyone and their brother are looking for an explanation to the decline in his game that coincided with that car wreck.

Entering his first tournament of 2015, the Phoenix Open, I thought this was the tournament where he would bounce back and do great. Maybe not win a bunch of tournaments as he wins one then losses the next few before he takes home another trophy. The Tiger Woods that took the world by storm in 1996 has been long gone. Tiger hasn’t won a Masters in 10 years and a major since 2008. He’s has been stuck at 14 majors – four shy of Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 – since that US Open victory. Since that glorious 19th hole playoff win at Torrey Pines where Tiger limped past Rocco Mediate there have been 19 winners.  

He entered Phoenix ranked #47th in the world. With a prognosis for a strong tournament, Woods instead bombed out as he missed the cut by 12 shots; a loss that will in all likelihood drop him to #53. But as difficult as it has been for Woods, I love the fact that there is no quit in him. He opted to skip watching the Super Bowl and instead will practice as he heads for the Farmers Insurance Open. Like everyone else, I’m still on my Tiger-watch, to see if he could scale it back to the summit.

And speaking of staying on top, the embattled Philippine Volleyball Federation wrote FIVB, the sports governing international body to ask for an explanation on why there are two accredited volleyball national sports associations.

FIVB released a statement last January 27 recognizing the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. as the new NSA over the controversial PVF. FIVB President Ary Graca granted provisional recognition pending compliance over a few other matters including the finalizing of the new board of directors.

PVF, through its president, Karl Chan, wrote Graca, two days later seeking clarification on the status of LVP and PVF. “We are greatly disturbed,” wrote Chan. “That FIVB did not inform us of its intention of affiliating another Philippine volleyball federation apart from the PVF. Worse, FIVB did not see the need to hear the side of PVF about the issue.”

“With all due respect, we deserve an explanation,” added Chan in a letter that dripped with disappointment.

I previously mentioned that the problems of the local leadership could have been resolved much earlier and without more rancor amongst the different parties had the Asian Volleyball Confederation and FIVB simply send a memo stating who’s in and who’s out; what the problems are, what is this supposed debt, and who is on the firing line.

Instead, this row has turned ugly and has been played out in traditional and social media. In fairness to the PVF, yes, they deserve an explanation. But they too must explain why it is only know they have decided to do something now that they are embattled.  

1 comment:

  1. Suddenly, the 4 majors and 3 Pga tours to break-even with Nickalus and Snead, respectively, become seemingly unattainable for him. Age is a bitch in sports.