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, April 15, 2018

The hard goodbye of Shaya Adorador

The hard goodbye of Shaya Adorador
by rick olivares

Shaya Adorador had a chance to extend the match. But her spike from the left side lacked power and conviction. As a result, UP was able to dig up the ball and keep it in play. Adorador knew she had missed that chance. And now the ball was set towards the Fighting Lady Maroons’ Tots Carlos.

Everyone knew what was coming. True enough, Carlos delivered the match point and UP’s third straight win to give them their sixth victory in fourteen matches. UE dropped to 2-12, the nth year they have finished at the bottom of the standings.

Adorador fought back the tears as just like that, it was all over. Her college career had come to an end. The standings did not reflect it, but the Lady Red Warriors played much better this year as they gave a lot of teams fits. Even Adorador later acknowledged it was her single best season for UE.

However, age is a high price for maturity. What started out as a long season was now over. Her team wanted to tack on another win; and in truth, they had chances not only against UP but even in the two rounds. Now, it was done. It was over, quickly, and even cruelly.

Even worse, Shaya wasn’t coming back unlike her teammates who can now build on the gains and good vibes of the past season. During the post-match press con, having a few minutes to collect herself, she now flashed a big smile. Still she couldn’t entirely mask the pain.

“Hindi ako makapaniwala na hindi ko na susuotin itong jersey na ‘to,” she said on her way back to the UE dugout.

For all the losing, she wore the UE jersey with pride. Even as Celine Domingo decamped for FEU and former head coach Francis Vicente decided his time was up at the start of the campaign, Shaya stayed. There’s a reason, you see. In the post-game presser, she spoke of two things – obedience and loyalty and how it means a lot to her.

“Yan ang tinuturo sa amin, yan din ang ibibigay,” she succinctly put.

I asked her how she managed to come back year after year, winless season after terrible and forgettable season.

Shaya bit her lip. The memories are still raw and fresh. N ow she fought back the tears. “If there is anything I learned from all these years – puro talo man o meron mga haters and bashers – kailangan pa rin bumangon. Bukas ay bagong araw at laban lang.”

She learned to be resilient and to count her blessings: “I still got to play sa UE and sa UAAP. Marami rin may gusto niyan. Suwerte ako,” she said. “Hiningi ni Coach Rod (Roque) to be obedient at ibigay yung trust. Nakatatak sa akin lahat yan at maging kalmado. Kinapos lang kami sa fighting spirit at pagtatapos ng laro. And to learn from everything.”

“Pero walang regrets,” she summed up. “Hindi ko puwede i-wish sana iba nangyari. Walang oras para isipin yan. Pero meron akong oras para gawin yung tama.”

Truth to tell. I think that is what she needed to learn in this long and arduous road. College volleyball hasn’t been too kind. But Shaya Adorador came away not bitter, but hopeful, thankful, and even appreciative of the simple and smaller things. Such as her teammates. The opportunity to play in the UAAP.

Her team might not have won a UAAP championship. Her team might not have had the best of seasons. But they came away with a better outlook on life and the game... and that hope springs eternal.

She’s going to need all of that and more in the next stage of her journey.

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