UH football / We’re a long way from the 2007 University of Hawaii football season, in which the Rainbows–sorry, the Warriors–went undefeated through the regular season and appeared in the Sugar Bowl. The entire state joined along for the ride that year, and the team’s success brought tremendous pride to the Islands, and a particular kind of pride, too, of a sort we hadn’t experienced before. Former coach June Jones’ Hawaii teams always had more than their share of swagger, but that year’s group had the game to back it up, and it rubbed off on us.
Not so much these days. As the losses have mounted–the team currently stands at 2-6–fans have abandoned the program in droves. On Web sites, on radio shows and in the pages of newspapers, commenters have begun to take aim at just about everything and everyone associated with the program.
Maybe they’re right. Maybe Greg McMackin is a lousy coach. He certainly didn’t win any fans here with his preseason f*g jokes. Maybe the players are screwing up, and maybe the athletic department does need to get its act together.
But as the drumbeat of invective rises, maybe it’s also time for everyone to get some perspective.
This is not a professional team. Without slipping into naievity, these are college students. They’ve lost many of their leaders to both graduation and injury, and they’ve lost a lot of games. Instead of mocking the players’ oft-repeated statements that this season is about their love for another, and sticking together in the face of adversity, maybe we ought to be recognizing that for what it is–a life lesson worth learning, for college football players and everybody else.
Besides, it’s not like you or I or our leaders have invested much in them or their program over the years. As in the rest of our educational system, it takes some serious nerve to demand miracles when we’re pinching pennies.
So maybe UH football has a few more lessons in store for us after all. The team isn’t winning this year, and that’s too bad, but the players are showing character by the way they stick together in tough times. Mock it if you like, but to some of us around here, that means something.
Good for them.