The Hawaiian life:sun and surf no match for sick kids and volleyball

HONOLULU — Aloha!
Forget the fun and sun … well right away anyway. Thanks to a pair of lengthy flight delays in Minneapolis and Seattle, the first impressions of wonderful Oahu for this reporter were the glowing orange seat lights on the shore and an unfortunate couple behind me dealing with their two boys.
The youngest son, no more than a year old, screamed to high heaven as our DC-10 descended through the Hawaiian trade winds. Their other boy, maybe at the tender age of five, didn’t exactly enjoy himself on the way through the stratosphere either.
Neither did the bottom of his barf bag. Mahalo, kid.
The sports scene in Honolulu is a bit away from the “norm.” Awaking after a long day of flight and exploring the dark Waikiki Beach, I flipped through the channels and viewed parts of five local morning television shows. Four of them showed NCAA volleyball features behind its respective station’s ode to Pearl Harbor Day.
Much like Minneapolis will when it hosts the NCAA Basketball Final Four this March, the folks here are in tune to the volleyball tournament scene.
Sure, fourth-seeded Long Beach State is in town to take on the Wahine Friday night, always a tight battle. But it is always like this in Honolulu.
The blasted Long Beachers defeated the locals in the last match of the season in the annual Long Beach State tournament a few weeks back — the first loss of the season for the Wahine. And the players have been fuming like an underground pot pig at a luau ever since.
How do you spell revenge? For Hawaii it’s easy: H-O-M-E.
Coming off its sixth consecutive season with 100,000 or more fans, Hawaii is more than geared up to host the NCAA West regional, which also sports second seeded Minnesota. The top-seeded Wahine are in their 14th sweet 16 in 16 years. They remain the only NCAA team to surpass more than 100,000 fans in a season.
Adding to the excitement, Hawaii Governor Ben Cayetano declared the final week in November Hawaii Wahine Volleyball Week statewide.
Though we’re a week into December, don’t think the players have forgotten about the proclamation. They each carry a mini version for inspiration.
Let’s see Jesse declare something like Gov. Cayetano did. After all, volleyball does use “kill” as an official term. Should be rough enough for him.
However, there are no body- slams or waivers of fair catches in volleyball. Sorry, Governor.
Though popular, volleyball is only played at night. So, thanks to convenient timing on travel, other sports during the day should be enough to get my fill.
The rest of the week, the Oahu North Shore is hosting the Triple Crown of Surfing and on Sunday the streets will be crowded with the running of the Honolulu Marathon.
Stay tuned, and, Aloha!
P.S. – Much mahalo is in order to the Fishbowl Internet Cafe in downtown Honolulu and owner Allen Miller.

Brian Stensaas covers volleyball and welcomes comments at [email protected]