The 2014 Brewskies

column-rick olivaresLAST year we skipped the annual Brewskies Awards where we hand out awards to the year’s dubious achievements in sports. But like Arnold Schwarzenegger who is once more reprising his role in The Terminator, “We’re back!!!”

And we’re off….

• Don’t Cry for Me Award

Goes not to Argentina but to Brazil. Expected to end their drought of World Cup trophies with football’s premier event being held on their doorsteps, Brazil raced through the tournament although not without controversy. Once in the semifinals, eventual champions Germany in most embarrassing fashion booted them out, 7-1. Looking to salvage a measure of pride by coping the third-place match, they were instead blanked by the Netherlands, 3-nil.

• The I-Am-Always-Hungry-Because-I-Am-Growing-Boy Award

Goes to Luis Suarez. Remember that old burger joint The Bite Club? They were the first local designer burger restaurant whose slogan was, “We Fight Hunger.” Apparently, if they are still around, they might want to consider getting Luis Suarez as an endorser.

Suarez has an insatiable appetite that not even a championship with Ajax Amsterdam and one trophy with Liverpool can satiate. While at the famous Dutch club, he already showed his hunger for more by biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal. Then he moved to England to play for Liverpool, where he promptly bit Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic. On football’s biggest stage, the World Cup, he sank his front teeth into Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini. Instead of raves for his culinary taste, the Uruguayan received a lengthy ban from the International Football Federation (Fifa) and a one-way ticket out of Anfield. Now he’s in Spain playing for Barcelona, where many wonders how he will take to Iberian Peninsula cuisine.

• The ‘Wow Mali’ Award

Goes to former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for his racist remarks to his girlfriend. Somehow, his remarks were taped and released by the rag show TMZ. The National Basketball Association (NBA) pushed Sterling out of the door and sent a message to all its owners that they have to toe the line in this politically correct world.

• The Ah-What-the-Hell-Moment Award

Goes to Uruguay’s President José Mujica. Following Fifa’s nine-month suspension of Luis Suarez, Mujica remarked, “Fifa are a bunch of old sons of bitches.”

Mujica recoiled apparently that he said something “un-presidential.”

After journalists present asked him if he wanted to reconsider his words, the former leftist guerrilla thought for a moment then said, “Publish it.” And he added a few more choice words: “They could have punished him, but not given him this fascist ban.”

• Practice Pays Award

Goes to the organizers of The Lost, este, Last Homestand.

I know that it pays to practice. And I certainly remember American Coach Larry Brown saying he would pay money to watch Michael Jordan practice. At least you know it was a practice unlike the farce that was The Last Homestand where organizers fed the public about a game pitting Gilas Pilipinas and a selection of NBA players. Only the organizers never got the approval of the NBA for such an event. The event proceeded and thousands of paying patrons arrived to see a glorified lay-up line.

In the post-debacle, imagine the boss himself, Manuel V. Pangilinan falling on the sword for his soldiers who never admitted to their folly.

ν The Fall Award

Goes to Gilas Pilipinas. After an successful 2013 International Basketball Federation (Fiba) Asia Championships where Gilas Pilipinas finished second to Iran, there were expectations—albeit a little unrealistic—heading into the World Cup in Spain. The team came close to upsetting several ballyhooed teams in the tournament but did manage a win against Senegal to close out its return to world basketball’s top event.

They had a chance to salvage the year with a run to the Asian Games gold medal. Instead, the team crashed and burned rather badly following the benching of naturalized player Marcus Douthit and shooting at Kazakhstan’s basket in an attempt to send the game into overtime where they could try to gain entry to the semifinals by winning by the prescribed 11-point margin. The shot was nullified, Gilas’s coach was vilified, and now the team is starting over again.

• The So Much for a Bunch of Titles Award

Goes to LeBron James. When he took his talents to South Beach, Florida, James, along with cohorts Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, figured he’d win a smattering of NBA titles. They went to the Finals fourth straight years and in between won an Olympic Gold Medal to go with two Larry O’Brien Trophies. However, last season, perhaps after consecutive long campaigns in the NBA and Fiba, the Heat ran out of gas against the highly motivated San Antonio Spurs. James played well in the finals, while Bosh and Wade disappeared. In the off-season, LBJ made another decision, this time to take his talents back to Ohio and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Only this time, he wasn’t derided for that move. So much for winning a bunch of titles in Miami.