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, November 21, 2017

The city councilor is dentist and a volleybelle

The city councilor is dentist and a volleybelle
by rick olivares

Love of the game. It’s starts from there. The dreams? They come later.

For Sta. Rosa Councilor Ina Clariza Cartagena, as a youngster, she fell in love with volleyball. “I played the game as a youngster and fell in love with it all the more watching the game on television,” she recounted. “I would watch teams like Ateneo, La Salle, and UST play. And seeing those schools and their teams play, you start to dream.

Cartagena played for Holy Rosary College representing the school in the Southern Tagalog Calabarzon Athletic Association (STCAA). Although her team didn’t win any titles, as the team’s libero, she was awarded by her school and the league. “We never got to play in the old Shakey’s Girls League but aside from STCAA, we’d also participate in city meets.”

While she loved the game, she chose a different career path in college. Enrolling at the University of the East College of Dentistry, Cartagena found herself digging root canals instead of serves and spikes.

And yet, life took another turn when as soon as she got out of school, she ran for city councilor and won at the young age of 22. The volleybelle-turned licensed dentist is now a government official. “I have also enjoyed serving our community,” bared Cartagena rather shyly. “I guess it was also my father’s influence who served for 30 years here in Sta. Rosa. I was a member of the local SK (Sangguniang Kabataan) and I enjoyed the experience.”

No regrets playing collegiate volleyball?

“No, naman,” she laughed. “I think I know my limits. If I decide to get out of public service, there’s always by dental practice to go back into. But I will always watch and enjoy the game.”

With the inaugural season of the Rebisco Volleyball League being played at the Sta. Rosa Sports Complex, Cartagena is thrilled not only for her hometown but also her former high school team. Taking time off her schedule to cheer for her former team, Cartagena offered, “It’s good to know that volleyball as a sports has really taken off. And here in Sta. Rosa, our team is not only competitive but doing better. The RVL is good exposure for the local and small city and town teams but also for our local community and the city of Sta. Rosa.”

As her team defeated the University of San Jose Recoletos in two sets, 25-20 and 28-26, Cartagena, cheered her team on.

“Don’t get me wrong – I’m still young. And I love the game.”

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