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The Greatest Season

Reflections on life as a UH fan.


(page 1 of 2)

Illustration by Scott Pollack

It was the biggest game of the season, and I was right there, on the sidelines. It was Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving, and the undefeated Warriors were hosting Western Athletic Conference rival Boise State at sold-out Aloha Stadium.

Sure, the team would go on to lose the Allstate Sugar Bowl, and its coach, June Jones, would, within a week of the Sugar Bowl defeat, sign a five-year, $10-million contract to take the coaching reins at Southern Methodist University. The most momentous occasions often yield the most unexpected outcomes.

But at that moment, the team was unstoppable, and I was lucky to be there, on a sunny Friday afternoon at, arguably, the most important football game in Hawaii history. The winner of the game would not only claim the outright WAC title, but also keep alive its hopes for a possible Bowl Championship Series (BCS) game. Just as important to us fans was the fact that the defending champion Broncos had won six straight games against Hawaii. Would this be the night the Warriors finally vanquish their rival?

I was there as part of the ESPN 1420 team, which was broadcasting the game on local radio as well as worldwide via the Internet. If I were any closer to the action, I’d probably have had to put on shoulder pads and a helmet. Just minutes before kickoff, I took a visual sweep around the stadium, taking in the sights and sounds of everything going on around me.

The players from both teams prowled the sidelines, seemingly all business, but with a pent-up energy that was almost tangible, like a lit stick of dynamite ready to blow. The UH band was pumping out the school fight song (“Here’s to our dear Hawaii, here’s to our green and white …”). The muffled roar of the crowd kept growing, building, rising to a joyous crescendo.

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Honolulu Magazine May 2018
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