Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Perfection! From 0-12 to 12-0 in nine years

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

I remember when.

I remember when we last had the “perfect season,” in 1998.  A perfect mess.  Zero wins, twelve losses.  19 losses over two seasons.

And now, nine years later, I sit here having witnessed the absolute antipode of that season.  Hawaii finishes with twelve wins, zero losses.  Just plain perfection. 

And I saw this regular season come to a close, like so many times this past season, in a cliffhanger.  An underdog team, climbing the rankings, winning game after game and not getting the respect they deserve, playing in the most important game of their season.  They find themselves down 21-0.  It seems like the carriage would turn back into a pumpkin. But the team refused to say die.  They fought the team to a standstill, brought it back even, then took the lead in the last two minutes of the game.  Finally, their opponents bring it to their 3-yard line…and our heroes get an interception in the end zone.

An ending worth of an Academy Award best picture. Not even the best screenplay writers in Hollywood could come up with a better ending.

Actually, the story is not over yet.  The best ending would be a BCS berth, and then, like Boise State before them, winning the game and capping off the season in major fashion.

This is an exciting time for the University of Hawaii, and the best is yet to come.

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Divided by a Ferry, United by Football

Friday, November 30th, 2007

I’ve been watching the Hawaii Warriors rise up the standings, to the Western Athletic Conference championship and the doorstep of the Bowl Championship Series. I was there in the stadium when Colt Brennan took that hit to the head, and listened with bated breath as I heard the play-by-play of the Warriors’ breaking the Boise State Broncos. And one word describes it.

Remarkable.

Since June Jones inherited a 0-12 program and turned it into a 9-3 contender in just one year, we knew that we had something special on our hands. With all the controversy that has surrounded the man, the fact remains that the Miracle Worker of Manoa has worked wonders. And the miracles continue, taking a disgraced quarterback who was kicked off Colorado and, in three years, turning him into a Heisman Trophy contender and the leader of an offense that has dropped only one game in the last 22.

Never underestimate the power of athletics. Professional sports have been pioneers in racial integration, long before civil rights. North and South Korea have united under a single banner in international competition. And June Jones and Colt Brennan have, if only for a moment, re-united a state on the verge of civil war. OK, granted, that’s an exaggeration. It’s definitely not as bad as Iraq, but recent events have brought divisions to light, divisions at least as big as the channels between the islands.

When I read the stories in the news about the Superferry controversy, I had a thought…that what Kamehameha I accomplished in 15 years (between 1795 and 1810), the Superferry could undo in less than a month. Seeing the surfers blockading Nawiliwili Harbor brought to mind images of Tiananmen Square; the dissident student against the government tank. The environmental issues aside, it brought to light a hard fact. We live on islands. Islands imply isolation. And isolation can lead to fear and distrust of others; in this case, a fear of invasive species, over-development, and the Neighbor Islands becoming suburbs of Honolulu.

Healthy fears, to be sure.

But one thing I do know. When called upon, Hawaii stands behind its own. Witness the meteoric rise of Jasmine Trias through the ranks of American Idol. Not to take anything away from Jasmine and her wonderful voice, but in retrospect it really was the support of an entire state that landed her in the #3 spot.

This will no doubt happen again. We’ve all but adopted Brennan, watching as he hits his receivers with the accuracy symbolized by the firearm with which Brennan shares a name. (“Colt .15,” I like to call him.) And now, it all comes down to one game, one last opportunity to prove to the nation that we are serious. 

One thing is for sure: Come this Saturday, we’ll be seeing a state united and banding together behind its team, helping push it into a BCS bowl. Because, in a state where surfers on Kauai will risk getting run over in an attempt to stop a 350-ton boat coming from Oahu, we need something that will reunify this broken state.