blue eagle gym

One Saturday Afternoon

 

It was sunny and rainy at the same time. But nope, not even the bipolar weather could stop them from coming.

 

Why not, yesterday was the closest any loyal supporter could ever get to his or her favorite boys and girls. No need to get Patron tickets. No need to wait outside the arena for hours after the game just to see them closely. No need to battle with the Orange bouncers just to get near.

  

One just had to go to the Blue Eagle Gym, bring a pen and paper or a camera, and fall in line. 

  

  

And when we say fall in line, we’re talking about some really LONG LINE.

  

  

In fact, Roma, a fan from Montalban, Rizal, went to the Blue Eagle Gym at 8:00 in the morning just to be sure they’d be the first to arrive. 

“Mga 5:00 pa lang po, gising na ako kasi malayo pa kami. Nag-decide po kami ng friend ko na agahan kasi nga marami po talagang pupunta. Tapos noong kami pa lang po ang andoon, naisip ko, ‘Wow, kami pa lang talaga ang nandito!’”

Ms. @Alyssanity_02, on the other hand, arrived  at the Blue Eagle Gym at 11 in the morning, and there were already a bunch of fans anticipating to get inside as early as 8:00.

 

“Kasi in-expect na namin na madaming tao. Syempre, mas gusto namin na nasa una. Saka wala pa akong pic with Ly na maayos." 

Waiting was not a big deal, according to her, because she got her friends, most of them she just met through this volleyball fandom, to spend the waiting game with that morning. 

 

"Super laking tulong kasi chikahan lang kami tungkol sa Finals Game 4, tapos pati mga sacrifices namin para makanood at makapunta sa Meet and Greet. Kung paano nagkakaubusan ng allowance para makabili ng ticket. Ako po, may family gathering dapat kami pero inuna ko pa ang meet and greet. Hehe.”

   

   

Who cared about the lines, though, when they knew, in mind and in heart, that waiting for hours outside was worth it: It was all for the Ateneo Men’s and Women’s Volleyball Teams.

  

  

It was around past 2:00 when they opened the gates for the fans. The kids from the Ateneo Volleyball Camp and their families were already in, since the awarding ceremonies of the camp would happen before the Meet and Greet. 

  

Imagine how the crowd went wild when the Ateneo Lady Eagles entered the gym. (Me and my camera weren’t even ready. Char.)
  

  

The girls and boys went around when they got in, exchanged a bunch of laughs, giggled in between conversations, and toyed around like any other college students.

  

  

The program came in shortly as it was also the culminating activity for the volleyball camp.

  

  

Some kids from the camp were awarded by no less than their idols. No doubt, they’re lucky.

  

 

After the awarding ceremonies, the girls and boys were asked to settle down. There were two tables on the court - one for the men’s team and the other, for the women’s team.  

 

 

The campers were the first to line up for photos and autograph signing. And in just a snap, kids on white-shirts-with-black-ink-stains were giddily going around the court. 

  

  

And while the kids were having the time of their lives, the ever loyal fans were there, patiently waiting. They might be tired, stressed, and bored, and they might be battling the whole day against the heat and the crowd, but all for their favorite players, they whole-heartedly waited. All for the love.

 

  

Imagine their joy when it was their turn.

Men and women, young and old. No doubt.

The Ateneo teams are well-loved. 

 

 

  

Seriously, it was dragging and tiring, being stuck in long, disorganized lines inside a crowded gym, with some even sneaking in just to get ahead.

But when you were right there, in front of them, with one minute or two to be just close to them, with a photo bonus and a signature, you’ll realize that, at the end of the day, it was ALL WORTH IT.

  

“Sobrang saya. As in! Nawala 'yong pagod lalo na noong nakapagpa-pic ako kay Ly,” shares Ms. @Alyssanity_02.  

Even Roma, who waited at the gym for almost seven hours just to get a glimpse of her favorites, agrees, “Sobrang sulit naman po kasi nakita po namin ang idols namin.”

But nope, it’s not only the fans who were celebrating. The players, too, were more than delighted to have spent time with those who stayed with them through every win and loss.

  

Star player Michelle Morente shares how good it was to see everybody that afternoon. 

  


“Sobrang sarap ng feeling na dumayo pa sila dito para lang makita kami. Sobrang na aappreciate namin silang lahat. Pero i feel bad sa ibang hindi nakapasok. Kasi alam ko naman ang layo pa ng pinanggalingan nila. Tapos ayun hindi sila nakapasok. Medyo nalungkot ako sa part na 'yon.”

  

 

And while they could only wish everyone could be accommodated, she was still thankful to all those who went out of their way to see them.

  

“Pero all in all naman. Sobrang saya kasi nameet ko na rin yung mga taong sumosuporta samin ng sobra sobra. Sobrang thankful talaga kami.”  

It was a Saturday like no other. It may just be a simple signature on a piece of paper, a smiley on a worn out shirt, and a lucky-you-if-it-wasn’t-blurred photo.. but the smiles exchanged between the players and the fans were priceless. 

  

 

That Saturday, indeed, was an exchange of thank-you’s.

From the players, who are forever thankful to their fans who never fail to support them in whatever way they can, against all odds.

And from the fans, who are forever thankful to their idols for inspiring them, without them, knowing.

That day, one thing was certain.

The players and the supporters bring out the best in each other.

And this friendship just became stronger through this meet and greet.

  

  

Thank you, girls and boys, for spending time with us. 

We hope you know you made a lot of people happy. :)

  

For updates on more blog entries, follow @forthephenom on Twitter. 

Ly, Para Sa’yo.

Isa sa dalawa.

O tatlo.

Basta ang punto rito, ilang laro na lang ang natitira para sa’yo.

Dahil pagkatapos ng isa, dalawa o tatlo, finish line na. Nasagad mo na ang karera.

Kung tutuusin, sa UAAP lang naman. Sa husay mo ba naman, siguradong mahaba-habang karera pa ang tutuntunin mo. Marami-rami pang hampas sa bola at pagulong-gulong sa arena ang aabangan namin mula sa iyo.

Kung tutuusin, makikita ka pa rin namin.

    


Makikita ka pa rin siguro namin sa Instagram photos, kasama sila.

Pero sa tuwing may events na lang, o sa tuwing magkayayaan kayo for dinner at makikipag-meet ka sa kanila.


Makikita ka pa rin namin sa Blue Eagle Gym.

Pero sa tuwing dadalawin mo sila kapag wala ka sigurong game, o kung wala kang photoshoot, out of the country o kung rest day mo sa bago mong trabaho.  


Makikita ka pa rin namin siguro sa San Juan arena.

Pero kahanay na siguro namin sa bleachers, chini-cheer sila. 


Makikita ka pa rin namin sigurong maglaro kasama sila.

Sine-set ka pa rin ni Jia, pero hindi na naka-puti at asul na jersey.


Makikita ka pa rin namin sigurong maglaro sa court.

Pero ibang kulay na ang jersey na suot.  

  

Pero sa ngayon, sa natitirang dalawa o tatlo mo pang laro, lilipad ka pa rin bilang isang mabangis na agila na asul at puti ang ibinabandera.

Makikita ka pa namin sa Instagram photos na masayang masayang nakikipagkulitan sa kanila.  


Makikita ka pa namin sa Blue Eagle Gym na matiyaga at masigasig na nagsasanay para sa huling laban.

Makikita ka pa namin hindi lang sa San Juan Arena, kung hindi sa Araneta at sa MOA na sa limang taon ay naging piping saksi sa iyong husay, tapang at puso.


Makikita ka pa naming kalaro sila.

Na tila tumitigil ang mundo sa bawat lipad mo sa tuwing sine-set ka ni Jia.


Sa huling dalawa o tatlong laro mong bitbit sa iyong balikat ang sangka-Katipunan..

Ramdam na ramdam namin kung ano ang dumadagundong sa puso mo.


LABAN.  


Laban para sa pamilyang kailanman, hindi napagod umalalay sa likod mo.

Laban para sa mga kaibigang kailanman, hindi nagduda sa iyo.

Laban para sa unibersidad na humubog sa iyong pagkatao.

Laban para sa mga coaches at sa mga opisyal na nagsanay at nagtiwala sa iyo.

Laban para sa mga teammates na naging kasama mo sa saya, tawa, lungkot, panalo o sa talo, sa mga kasabay mong natuto, naging matatag at naging maalab ang kagustuhang ibuhos ang lahat para manalo.

Laban para sa libu-libong mga Pilipino, mula bata pati matatanda, sa iba’t ibang panig ng mundo, na walang sawang naniwala, sumuporta, nagtanggol at nagmahal sa iyo.

  

Kaya sa isa, dalawa, o tatlong laban pang natitira para sa’yo..

Buong puso at walang pagdududa kaming naniniwala sa nag-aalab mong puso.  

  

Dahil naniniwala kaming ang husay, tapang at puso ng isang Alyssa Valdez..

ay hindi kailanman magtatapos sa isa, dalawa o tatlong laban na ito.

  

Mahal ka namin, Ly.

At naniniwala kami sa iyo at sa buong ATENEO.