Brian's Ramblings

My thoughts in text, photo, and video form

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Dawn of a New Era of Hawaii Warrior Football

Tomorrow, the work of a "new" season of Hawaii Warrior football will begin at 7:00AM on the grass fields known as Cooke Field. Preparation began immediately after the last game of the old regime, as young men prepared to be stronger, faster, and better for this 2016 season.

I wish head coach Nick Rolovich and his staff all the best, as they lead eager, young men, to experience what being a Warrior truly feels like.

In 2007, as I worked with the team in spring, and as a graduate assistant during that magical season, there was a different vibe. A feeling that doesn't become decipherable very often. I knew we had something special because of this.

No, it wasn't about Colt Brennan returning for his senior year, nor was it about Coach June Jones or his wonderful assistant coaches. It surely was NOT about me.

A feeling of playing for a cause greater than any single person was fostered. A feeling of playing for your brother next to you was forged. A feeling of trusting in the coaches' leadership transpired. And a feeling of representing Hawaii as Warriors was immeasurably felt.

Great bonds were formed off the field, in the locker room, at training table, and in the treatment room. EVERYONE bought in to what was happening.

It was special. As we saw with the men's and wahine's success in basketball this season, the entire STATE of Hawaii became much happier! The loco moco tasted better, drivers let cars into their lane without horns being honked, and people smiled at each other when running into others with any "H" or Warrior apparel. 
People spent life savings to travel to New Orleans to experience the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The team's hotel was filled with aloha! Despite the outcome of the game against Georgia (who was the better team on January 1, 2008 in all ways), the entire fan base of Hawaii stood up and sang Hawaii Pono`î, providing for a chicken skin moment.

The team was celebrated upon its return, as the state arranged for a parade so fans could see the team together for one last time. I don't remember specific plays or scores, but I do remember the special bonds that were formed within players, coaches, support staff (Al Ginoza and his great equipment crew; Eric Okazaki and all of the athletic training staff; Uncle Kimo [James Kon] and the custodial crew that helped keep the locker room looking as nice as possible), and fans.
It was special. It was fun. It was challenging. It was exciting. It was draining. It was grueling. It required sacrifice. It required giving up sleep. It required sacrificing time with family and friends. It required tremendous faith, too. But, it was worth it.

There have been great teams before, great players like Tommy Kaulukukui, Al Noga, Ashley Lelie, and more; we've seen great coaches like Dick Tomey, Bob Wagner, and more; a TEAM, I would argue that the 2007 team could be the best team to have represented the University of Hawaii. I'd also suggest that the team should be inducted into the university's Circle of Honor.
The players and coaches in 2016 have a very special opportunity to pursue their greatness and to be a blessing to others; blessing others by being a team that makes ALL of Hawaii proud and exuberant, again!

Go Warriors. 

Define YOUR legacy. Play for the brothers lining up next to you. Live aloha, play warrior!

Until next time...

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