Saturday, August 27, 2016

Get Chance!

It's an old skool island expression, actually an expression with two sides...

Perhaps more often stated is the negative version..."No mo chance!"

Loudly stated when confronted by those who question the loyalty of a sports fan, this phrase reflects an obstinate view that all is lost, there is no doubt that we are outmatched, outclassed, out of our wits and otherwise should be left out on the curb for collection.

OTOH, "Eh, get chance!" represents the hope of "punchers" everywhere that given just the right circumstances, confluence of fortune, and general "dog luck" a victory (or series of them) is within grasp.

Over the past several years, and in particular the past two seasons I freely admit to have been in the former camp. Dutifully, attending home games quickly became more of an obligation than entertainment. (Eh, we already bought the season tickets...might as well go!) Weeks became weaks and then weakers as the UH football program sank deeper into its morass.

Then came the change(s) that most wanted to see happen and in comes Nick Rolovich and his coaching staff. With memories of past glory being pushed to the forefront by his "we can be great again" mantra many fans were buoyed as the team went through Spring football and Fall camp.

Having attended a spring practice and the Spring Fling thing I was not totally sold on the whole "greatest turnaround season" thing of a past coaching turnover episode. The difference this time was that the outgoing regime seemed to not have had the recruiting acumen to spot, nor the desire to actively recruit football talent. In other words, and as no slight on the players that were on board, the cupboard was bare. Pile on that as Rolo would relate the returning players were psychologically beaten as "Chow Time" came to a close.

But given the time he and his staff has had since taking up residence in the Quarry, I began to see the things that Rolo was doing to get the buy-in from the returnees and I got a sense of the hope that he was selling to the newcomers.

Much of it could be seen on the TV from the Sydney Cup yesterday. A group of Tsaikos gathered at my home to watch and I could sense everyone's apprehension prior to game time about what to expect this season.

  • how bad was it going to be?
  • will the defense be any better?
  • could the offense be any worse?
No one was saying these things but I'm sure most were thinking them.

With the attempted onside kick to open up the game came immediate interest because it was a signal that things were NOT gonna be the same. A quick score by Cal and I did not sense from anyone that "oh no, here we go again" feeling. And it was a good thing...a quick TD for Hawaii and the Rolo Era seems to be on its way along with the feeling that...


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Back to the Future?

A lot of things that Doc Brown might have imagined in "Back to the Future" seemed to have come true in some form. Fans of the movie noted that the date set in the DeLorean for Doc's first jump to the future came to be last month.

What also came to be in October was the anticipated end of the Norm Chow Era of UH Football. Last night's 58-7 drubbing by Air Force is widely seen as the last straw that will force AD Dave Matlin to take some immediate action to change the direction of the program. The official attendance of over 15,000 is a head-scratcher unless they counted many of the service members in attendance twice. Turning that trend around quickly would be vital for the newly-minted head of the department as he establishes his mark on UH Athletics history.

Looking at the situation from his view and the first thing you notice is that there is no bye-week that will allow for any chance of easing a new Head Coach into an already tough situation. Any mid-season shake-up is a challenge but doing it in a game week is even more unenviable. Doing it in a week when the team is on the road falls into "wishing my worst enemy" territory. With an eye to trying to push out as many tickets as possible after the upcoming UNLV game when Hawaii returns for its final 3-game homestand, I am sure Matlin still has ghost and goblins leftover in his head with images of mausoleum-like settings in Aloha Stadium.

If an announcement is made that Norm Chow is relieved as Head Coach this afternoon there would be about 144 hours until the team kicks off against the Rebels in Sam Boyd Stadium. With 5-hours of flight time from the nearest mainland airport, travel time to get to that airport, time to wrap up any issues, and even a little time to pack some basics, the earliest someone would be in Manoa is probably midday Monday. Once on the ground that person would have less than 72 hours to evaluate his personnel; watch game film of the opponent; formulate a game plan; meet with his staff (assuming the entire Chow staff remains) to announce the plan and his system; setup a practice plan; conduct 3 home practices where he introduces an offensive and defensive and special teams system, scheme, and methodology to the team; coordinate a trip for 100 people that is 2600+ miles away; then finally, coach a CFB game in a venue that he may or may not have ever seen before. (BTW, I use the male form of the pronoun because it is virtually impossible that a female would fill the position)

If there is such a person that could or would take all that on be aware that he was probably sitting by the phone in the middle of the season waiting for ANY opportunity. That doesn't seem to be the kind of hire any AD would be willing to make at any stage of his tenure. So go ahead and rule out anyone from the mainland coming in this week to take the job.

That would leave someone who is already in Hawaii. Does Matlin turn things over to the OC who promised 70 TD's and hasn't produced anything much more than being shutout in 4 of the seven games so far this season? (Last night's lone TD came from the Special Teams). How about the DC who would be wearing the "Interim" label for the 3rd time? mean he has been on 2 other staffs that ended up having its Head Coach dismissed in the midst of the season? Not a strong resume.

Who then?

Apparently, there is a guy who has been seen on the practice field in the next valley over from Manoa all season. June Jones has been sort of an unpaid consultant to his long-time running mates, Cal and Ron Lee during St. Louis' ILH season up through and including last week's playoff win over 5-time champion Punahou.

The man who formulated the greatest turnaround in NCAA history in 1999 seems poised to be thrust into the role yet again. He already knows the landscape in the Quarry and has probably been following the "progress" of the team for at least this and the previous season. His "system" probably doesn't even need to be run thru the printing office since his "playbook" is in his head. The players, and most notably the QB's, should be fairly familiar with parts of the system already. (What D1 QB is not familiar with the Choice route?) And if not, there's gotta be hours and hours of game film somewhere in the football offices.

And did I mention he's already done a big turnaround before? The last soldout game I recall is the UDub game before the Sugar Bowl. If the new AD is concerned about attendance, Jones' name can certainly pique some interest and probably some ticket sales (and fewer season-ticket holder no-shows) People love him or hate him but either way they will turn out to see if they were right.

Hopefully, someone is already digging up the 1999-2006 game tapes and maybe even Netflix copy of "Back to the Future."

It's been a while

I haven't posted anything here since the beginning of the year but decided to "re-activate my membership" mostly due to the current failings of the UH football program.

Last night was truly a horrific Halloween debacle that saw me walking out of a FOOTBALL GAME in the 2nd quarter! Being one of those who would admittedly pull over to the side of the road to watch a bunch of school kids play a game of two-handed touch, I would never have imagined that the level of play of a CFB game would be so bad that I would readily get up and walk out of Aloha Stadium before the teams actually left the field to head into the locker rooms for halftime.

Granted, it was Halloween and my new granddaughter's first one at that, so the plan going in was to watch half the game and head back home for trick or treating; see what her Mom had put together for her 1st costume; and host the in-laws from out of town for dinner. But I thought that I would be a reluctant participant in that plan. However, after watching UH punt it after 1 first down to open the game and then Air Force take the ball at their 10-yard line and march at will for a touchdown, reconsidering that stance seemed to be a good idea. The next 24 points only served to reaffirm the notion. (I was already walking through the gates when "Wild Blue Yonder" was being played by the PACAF band to celebrate the late field goal that made it 34-0 at the half)

At least the Halloween celebrations turned out to be fun but whenever the game came to mind it wasn't hard to imagine that the next time I get to see a Hawaii victory the most popular comment might be, "It's been a while."

Friday, January 16, 2015

Scoped Up!

Months of bothersome pain has probably come to an end today with the arthroscopic surgery that was done on my left knee this morning.

I checked into Pali Momi a little before 8am.

Kudos to the entire staff at Pali Momi for their helpfulness and professionalism. Pre-op was very efficiently handled by Leia. I thought that I was fairly calm but when she first checked my BP was on the plus side of 180 over 90! I received visits from Dr. Tanaka-the anesthesiologist and Dr. Vernoy-the surgeon who were both very reassuring and I noticed that the BP had dropped down quite a bit as I waited.
About 9:25 I was wheeled to the OR. A few moments later I was told to take a deep brea....zzzzz. (That's my recollection of the surgery)

I woke up outside the OR and was shortly wheeled back to the pre-op area. Reyna and Wanda were attending to me and were very helpful and cheerful. I could peek outside my recovery cubicle to see that nearly all the other cubicles were occupied and the entire area was buzzing with activity. I asked Reyna if this was a particularly busy morning and she said it was fairly normal although they do get busier right after the holidays. I suppose a lot of patients hold off on doing surgery over the holidays if it is possible. In my case, my surgeon was away for the month of December and I may have been part of the "catch-up" for him because I was told that he had four other surgeries this morning in addition to mine!

Juliet was already waiting by the time I was out of the ER and they brought her in from the waiting room shortly after I was moved to the cubicle. Check-out was smooth as was the ride home.

So far, so good! I was sent home with crutches and painkillers but haven't been needing to use either. Not much pain like I was experiencing pre-surgery (lateral movement) and I reported to Dr. Vernoy that all was good when he called at about 2:30. He said that the surgery went as expected regarding the meniscus tear removal. He also found some scar tissue around the knee cap that was removed and did see some more arthritis. He also removed the cartilage on the outside of the knee cap that he said should retard more arthritic progression in the future.

I am looking forward to getting back out for my walks soon and no more pain!

Scope down. Full speed ahead!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ana-Na-Na Say Hey! Goodbye...

We dodged another bullet as Hurricane Ana was pushed on a southerly track and moved past us without getting in range of its dangerous winds.

We got a lot of water as a steady rain fell starting on Saturday afternoon through Sunday morning. It wasn't a torrential downpour but its steady rate totaled several inches around Oahu and possibly added to the aquifer.

All in all, Oahu got away in probably the best shape that could have been hoped for.

Meanwhile, I have about six gallons of gas sitting in my garage waiting to be use up...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Take Another Look

A win is a win...

One of the ultimate cliches but still very appropriate as the Warriors survived a mostly lackluster offensive performance to defeat FCS member Northern Iowa, 27-24, last night.

Going into the season, if told that a 1 and 2 record would include 2 one-possession losses to middle-tier Pac-12 opponents I would react with a lot of enthusiasm. Looking at the reality of the results I am not totally "sold" on this year's team yet but that may be a reflection of the conditioning from the past decade-plus Rainbow Warrior/Warrior teams who have emphasized offensive productivity over defensive prowess.

I think if viewed from the perspective of Dick Tomey's "preserve our right to punt" philosophy of game management this team becomes much more palatable than going in and expecting point-a-minute offense that has been vogue in Aloha Stadium pretty much since 1999.

The Warriors chance of success this season lies more in the hands of DC Kevin Clune and Special Teams Coordinator Chris Demarest than it does in the "learn as you go" play-calling of OC Jordan Wynn.

This week's first road trip to Boulder will be a crucial test for the Warriors and the path to victory seems to lie in the hands of the defense and special teams and that change in perspective may make for more enjoyable viewing.

BTW, is the game on TV? That answer is for another post...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

OSU postgame

We're well into the CFB season now and this week was chocked full of "cupcake games" that involved powerful teams playing so called "body bag games" against grossly inferior opposition. The games serve as tune up games for the stronger teams and as economic relief for the weaker ones.

Last night's game was not one of those despite what many (a term you may not associate with attendance this season) in attendance and watching on national TV may have felt halfway near the end of the 3rd quarter. The score was 38-7 and were it not for a miraculous interception of an ill-advised pass by OSU QB Sean Mannion, a complete whitewash would have been more representative of the lopsided game that was unfolding.

The Warriors played a 23-0 rally in the 4th quarter to make the final 38-30 score seem like a fairly respectable game had been played. It wasn't that close but then again maybe it was...

Evenly matched teams often need an unusual special teams play, a bit of luck, a funny bounce of an oddly shaped ball or an inexplicable call from a referee to gain an advantage for victory. In many games these gifts of fortune come throughout the game and can help a slightly less athletically-blessed team or hurt a better team to yield an upset or at least a closer than expected contest.


- if Iosefa didn't fumble on the opening drive they go on to score first again;
- if there is a blocked punt in the 1st half;
- if there is a forced fumble on an earlier kickoff;

it's a closer game earlier on and not so many people would have gone home after 3 quarters.

Then, the focus can be on improving pass accuracy. But that's for another conversation.