With a shout, with a song, we will help these Blue Eagles along
a call to action by rick olivares
On Sunday, the Ateneo Blue Eagles will play their first game of the new UAAP season.
It isn’t the team that was projected from a year ago, two years ago, maybe even three. However, there it is.
Let me tell you to rally around this team like you’ve never done before.
It’s been culled, battered, and well, batted adversity in different iterations that is unfortunately all off the court. Yes, those are those nasty curve balls that life seems to throw at you when you’re expecting a fastball down the middle.
There’s the saying that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and maybe that can be applied to this batch of Blue Eagles. Think about this…. despite everyone they’ve lost for whatever real or bullshit reason, they finished third in the pre-season summer league. And that…. is pretty impressive.
Moreover for the true blue this is a team that is a throwback with more than half the squad coming up from the juniors ranks. When was the last time that happened? With the 2002 UAAP champion team.
But make no distinction. Wherever these kids came from, they are wearing our colors. They need our support and cheers. And so will our coaches.
We’ve got two coaches who will tap into a wellspring of knowledge — Tab Baldwin with the experience of his globe-trotting and ability to turn programs around and Sandy Arespacochaga who gave every ounce of his being when he donned the blue and white and still did while moving to the sidelines. Both will be passing it on to those hungry Eagles.
We aren’t the favored team here. Our ancient foes from Taft are.
There was a time — at least during my time — when we knew nothing but championships. Many others knew only the big empty feeling of the title-less years. Of course, those of recent vintage experienced a five-peat.
The days of us being seeded as a contender, well, they are over; at least for the nonce. You know the worm has turned when National University is not considered a dark horse contender but is an actual and perennial contender while it is the Blue Eagles who are lumped in that sentences for "this year's dark horse squad" blah blah blah.
Look at the Blue Eaglets…. time was the finals was like a birthright. Now, we’re struggling to make it in the face of renewed recruitment and manpower build-ups of others.
But that’s good. It’s all good. That’s the result of raising the bar. And we raised that bar. And now it is about how we cope, adjust, and well, give it that one big fight.
We may not be the favored team this season. But nothing will have changed. Everyone will be looking to knock our heads off. Actually, I kind of enjoy that. In fact, when they cheer “Beat Ateneo” I fricking love it every single time. At least they have us in their cheers. And isn’t it so much better when that cheer dies as a squawk in their throats?
We may not be favored to win it but we sure will give it that old college try.
As the old cheer goes, “With a shout, with a song, we will help the boys along under banners of white and fair blue…"