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, March 15, 2015

A mother’s plea about her son’s situation (the kid is a student-athlete)

This appears on

A mother’s plea about her son’s situation
by rick olivares

Here is a mother’s impassioned letter to me.

I would like to tell you about my son…

My son plays for his high school’s varsity basketball team. He loves the game so much that he dreams of playing for a big school and hopefully, in the PBA or even the NBA. Libre naman mangarap, my son tells me. I laugh at it but it is possible naman no matter how hard it seems.

The first time my played for his school and put on his game jersey, I was so proud of him. And he felt proud too. Sometimes, I have to remind him not to forget his studies. Yes, ma, he always reassures me.

Lately, my son has become sullen and withdrawn. Nung una, akala ko may love problems. Siguro may liniligawan tapos hindi siya sinagot. But it’s not. It turns out that it is worse.

When we watch my son’s basketball games, I would notice how the coach gets mad at his players when they make mistakes. I know that is normal but as a parent, you feel hurt as well. But it’s part of the game. Except that it happens too often and the situation has become worse.

My son plays for a high school basketball team that is considered to be a very good one. And there is pressure on them to win and to continue to win. I think it’s bad that given the boys are all in high school they are being taught the wrong values.

The coach and his assistant have become very abusive. Not only to my son but even the star players. If you noticed that the star players have not played well. They feel stressed out. The slightest mistake grabe kung pagalitan. Hindi naman kagustuhan ng player magkamali. Hindi naman sila professional basketball player. High school lang sila. Kahit PBA player nagkakamali.

My son has been told by his coaches that they will take away his scholarship. Halos araw araw siya sinasabihan na if he continues to make mistakes they will take away his scholarship. The past two months, as soon as he leaves the house for school, he calls me up on my cellphone to say that he wants to go home na. He is so afraid for practice because his coaches always get mad. It has affected him so much that for the past three nights, hindi siya makatulog.

The mental torture that he undergoes has taken a toll on his health and even his grades. His self esteem and confidence is shot. He is happy only when he is home. In fact, he doesn’t watch basketball on TV anymore. Dati, basta mayroon PBA or NBA game on a non-school day, he watches. Not anymore. They have killed my son’s ambition and drive. School officials don’t seem to care because the basketball program brings in so much prestige and donors to the school. The parents are all afraid to talk. No one wants to talk.

Maybe you can write about this and spare not only my son (and his sisters) but also other children the agony of abusive coaches.

Doesn’t that make your blood boil? As a parent and a father, I too have kids who play varsity sports. I am quite thankful that they aren’t exposed to these kind of coaches although I know quite a few of these types (there are even some who are in the pros pretending to be nice people when they are not).

The parents refuse to divulge their names (although I know who they are) for fear of reprisals because their kids are still in that school. There are many others who have reached out including an African teen who is the subject of not only verbal abuse but also racial slurs from his coach (from a school not in the major collegiate leagues).

Rest assured, I have reached out to the proper authorities who are in a position to do something (both in the senate and in congress).

Will advise on updates about this pressing matter.


  1. Im worried even more about the kids whose coaches AND parents treat them like that. I'm sure may mga player na ganun ang situation.

    I'm also afraid to ask from which school the kid is from

  2. nakakalungkot lang isipin na hindi na tama yung tinuturo ng mga ibang coaches. Coach should growth oriented, hindi goal oriented, just like what Coach Tim Cone said. For me, this is the most important aspect sa pagcocoach. To be a mentor not only in basketball, but in life. Kasi kahit hindi nananalo, as long as they are growing and learning the right way, mas precious yun kesa manalo ka ng championship tas puro naman pressure ang torture. I am dreaming of becoming a basketaball coach, kahit assistant lang, kahit volunteer lang and reading this only makes me want to pursue this dream. Just to change the culture. sana magkaroon ako ng opportunity to help and teach. Basketball should be played not to give glory sa mga sponsors, or anyone else kahit sa sarili mo, but to give glory to God who gives us all the skills and talents and strengths. This is the right way to play the game; and everything will follow.