Sunday, April 15, 2007

And Dante Wins the Prize!

[continuation from previous post]

Warriors won and are play-off bound! Next up, Irvine @ Irvine...

JayLee and I at senior night Warrior volleyball (we also witnessed Fri's game). We got there about a 1/2 hour before first serve, the earliest I've ever been to a game. We got the team photo from the Stan Sheriff crew since we were so early (first 2,000 fans). Got to see some players change from their practice shirts to their game jerseys; the Card's Ceran's in good shape and that's all I'll say. I'm there for the volleyball...

I usually sit in the super-rooter section, near the "Aunties", a bunch of drunk-by-half-time college kids, and other loyal fans. I could see the flags this time and the Sheriff Center's got a clock, I didn't know that before. JayLee and I got tickets at the lower level this time, across from the benches, in the mix of the Beckwith, Schkud, and Kalima Ohana. If I had known earlier how much fun those families are, especially the Beckwiths, I would've sat there every time! Too bad he's graduating now and I'll hafta scope out for another fun ohana. I saw Johnny Matt Bender, former #13 UH Warrior and one of five seniors last year, in the stands with his girlfriend watching the current Warriors.

And Kalima fans all around. Shouts for Kalima came from the Ohana, from the left, from the right, from the top, from across the way... They've been cheering him on from his redshirt year 5 yrs. ago. "Put Eric in! We wanna see Kalima!" Well, they saw him this year! Propelling himself towards the ball no matter where it is, like a magnet, as only Kalima can!

The Beckwith crew were waving ti leaves, holding up clever signs, one dressed up as a Warrior with some boys in tow. They led cheers, also yelling out "unleash the dragon!" for Matt "Dragon" Rawson. We sat right in front of the "ICU @ UCI" and "Killer B (for Brian Beckwith)" signs. A few times, the exuberant ti leaf waving brushed my hair. The boys were heckling the Cards, a lady with them tried to get them to just cheer on the Warriors explaining that Hawai'i fans are respectful of all players.

Someone asked about Manoa, seeing it everywhere (it's the place name, campus name, like CS Fullerton, CS Northridge). Another person asked about why we cheer with "Let's go BOWS!" (a 3-count cheer) instead of their "Let's go Hawai-i" (in 4-counts)(The rainbow used to be the mascot of UH, recently changed to "Warriors" by football coach Jones, some call us "RainBOW Warriors"). "Let's go BOWS" is still my favorite. [I mention the Q's 'cuz I like it when people care to know].

JayLee and I indulged ourselves in the ever-ono garlic fries and Italian ices. Those ices are...*sigh* They taste just like the fruit their flavors say they are. Yeah, I could've just eaten a real fruit, but SO?!! Come on, I-TA-LI-AN.

Across the way, an elder lady sat in the stands, wearing a UH t-shirt... under a red sweater. The Cards colors are red and white. It's okay to be a local and root for the other team when there's a local boy on that team. If I knew him I would've just been bold like other Shoji fans and just wear all red. There was a man in our section who was wearing red, but held up a sign for the Warriors, I forget what it said.

Commentator Chris McLachlin said that Costas was the hardest hitting Warrior ever. Could be. My opinion is for Hakala. No argument that Costas was a great player with fear-inspiring, hard-hitting, tough-serving, consistent play and a mean bull-stare, but I do think Hakala hits harder. I have no proof or stats, but I've watched both play. When Hakala goes in for the kill, you see him lift-off, then you hear the *BOOM*, next thing you know Hakala's got the kill. Between Hakala's contact and the floor, or sometimes an unwilling opponent's face, the ball disappears. Even in slo-mo replay you can't see the ball. Both Costas and Hakala were great to watch, but I like Hakala's style. He might be a more intelligent player and he's definitely a physical player. He changes up his play more than I believe Costas did, making him more unpredictable. Those few games that he was injured and didn't play were a plus as he cheered on his team and was as involved as he could be. I would've liked to see him play here another year.

And okay, outside of volleyball that I love, I also like a man of languages. I would've liked to become an ambassador or a diplomat or just a translator for the government if I had the skills, but I guess other interests overrided those ideas also. I'm in my 4th year of trying to learn Russian on my own and I'm still at (in English spelling) "pazhalsta," "spaseeba," and "gdye vodka?" (please, thank you, and where is the vodka?). BKR's in CA for his doctorate and so once again, I have no one to practice Espanol with; I'm getting very rusty where the list of words/phrases I'm sure of is getting shorter and shorter. I need to live in CA for a few years again. Here's "por favor," "gracias," and "dos cervezas mas!" (please, thank you, and two beers more!). I really don't drink much at all, honest, just ask my friends. I have another favorite phase I was taught that starts with "quitate" but I won't say the whole thing here. Long and winding way to saying I admire (and am a little jealous of) Hakala for his ability to learn several different languages. Sometimes I'm thinking in English but spelling in Spanish, like "camara" instead of "camera".

Senior Festivities: Besides consistently being a good team, with good facilities, and great coaches, we could recruit just by our senior night celebrations. That did it for former Warrior Matt Carere several years ago; he caught senior night on TV in Canada by chance and thought it was something great. I bet some players from other teams check their schedules to see if they get to come to play in Hawai'i on our senior night; we also acknowledge their seniors and they usually have a good time too.

Hakala had a Finnish flag; they could've gotten a Hawaiian flag for Kalima and Dante and CA's flag for Brian. It would've been reminiscent of the four-flagged seniors from 2003, when there was a Greek flag for Costas, an Israel flag for Eyal, a Hawaiian flag for Tony "Tigah" Ching, and a WI flag for Brian Nordberg.

It's great to see the families of other teammates representing missing family members when that happens. Sean Carney's dad filled in honor for Hakala, and of course many others gave him lei also.

All 4 seniors got buried in lei. In introducing the Beckwith clan, so many of them were present that the announcer could only call out Brian's parents, his two brothers, and "almost the entire Beckwith Ohana!" Brian disappeared in the mountain of lei. Imagine if he had gone to a Hawai'i school and at his graduation...

And there was a collective "aww" from the female Dante fans when his girlfriend was introduced. Dante's got a good smile, I wasn't a part of that crowd, but I know a few who were...

NO DANCING this year!!! Boo! For their senior video, Brian, Dante, Kalima, and Hakala sang kah-rah-oh-kay (karaoke, hard "r" almost like an "l") to Lionel Richie's "All Night Long". It was great! Dante wins the prize as he got into character as a lounge singer. Gotta appreciate that!

[Images from Honolulu Advertiser and the Star Bulletin]