Below the Rim

4 September 2018

TAKING THE STAND

PROSECUTOR: Your Honor, I’d like to call the defendant to the stand.

JUDGE: Proceed.

(Defendant takes stand)

BAILIFF: Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

JOE BANDWAGON: You bet. GO BOWS!

PROSECUTOR: Mr. Bandwagon, you are accused of being…well, a bandwagon fan. You have pleaded “not guilty.”

JOE BANDWAGON: Damn straight! I have always loved the Rainbow Warriors! I bleed green and white – although I’m happy they’re “black in black”!

PROSECUTOR: So you say. When was the last time you attended a UH home game?

JOE BANDWAGON: …

PROSECUTOR: Should I repeat the question?

JOE BANDWAGON: No, I heard you. I’m trying to remember. I think it was when Greg Salas was playing. But that doesn’t mean anything! I still supported the team! No one is a bigger UH fan than me!

PROSECUTOR: Mr. Bandwagon, we have records of your social media posts.

JOE BANDWAGON: Oh, #%@*.

PROSECUTOR: Here is one example. On July 2 of this year, you wrote, “Hawaii will be lucky to win three games if Cole McDonald is the QB. He sucks.”

JOE BANDWAGON: …

PROSECUTOR: Mr. Bandwagon, what social media post did you write about Cole McDonald after Saturday’s win over Navy?

JOE BANDWAGON: Uhh. I said, umm, I think I said that Cole should be a front runner. Umm. You know, for the Heisman…

PROSECUTOR: And here is a post you wrote in December of last year. You said, and I quote, “Rolo is not the answer. Best to move on and find a more qualified coach before the program sinks even lower.”

JOE BANDWAGON: Yeah, but…

PROSECUTOR: And here’s a post that you just wrote this past Sunday: “David Matlin is crazy if he doesn’t lock up Rolo for a big extension. Pay the man!”

JOE BANDWAGON: I’m…not…a bandwagon fan…I swear…

PROSECUTOR: Sir, who are you favorite professional sports teams?

JOE BANDWAGONS: The Astros, Eagles, Warriors and Flyers. But that doesn’t mean…

PROSECUTOR: No more questions, your Honor.

JOE BANDWAGON: …

PROSECUTOR: Mr. Bandwagon, you may step down from the stand.

JOE BANDWAGON: …

JUDGE: Mr. Bandwagon, are you all right?

JOE BANDWAGON: ALL RIGHT I ADMIT IT! I AM A BANDWAGON FAN! I can’t help it! Hawaii football sucked for so long! And I’m not the only one! You can’t blame me for wanting to stay away during the Chow years! Oh, the horror…

JUDGE: Sir, no one is blaming you for that. The Chow years sucked.

JOE BANDWAGON: I’m sorry, okay? But I’m back now. I’m even planning to go to this Saturday’s game! Now is what matters, right? I…I promise to never be a fair-weather fan again!

JUDGE: This case is dismissed.

PROSECUTOR: What?

JUDGE: I am dismissing this case. Sure, the defendant is a bandwagon fan. Probably a hopeless one. But let’s be honest here: Hawaii is in no position to reject these fans. The university and the football program need these fans. Loyal fans are great, but in Hawaii these so-called bandwagon fans are the difference between a profitable athletics department and one mired in red. Instead of mocking and prosecuting these fans, we should be welcoming back with open arms. Every college football team has its share of fair-weather fans. Let’s be happy when they root for their team again. This way, everyone wins. Mr. Bandwagon, you are free to go. Any final comment before you leave this courtroom?

JOE BANDWAGON: Just one. LET’S GO COOK RICE!!!

 

TRIVIA QUESTION: The Rainbow Warriors are aiming for a 3-0 start this Saturday when they host the Rice Owls. When was the last time Hawaii started the season 3-0? (Answer Below)

Stock Watch

MOVING UP:

1. COLE McDONALD: 2 games. 2 victories. 846 passing yds. 9 TDs. 0 INTS. Yeah, easy choice.

2. CHICAGO BEARS FANS. Yeah, you got Khalil Mack. Congratulations to all the Bears fans in the 808. Both of you.

3. TUA TAGOVAILOA: Secured the starting QB job at ‘Bama. Hope Jalen isn’t butt-Hurts.

4. UH SOCCER TEAM. Three straight wins, including a road sweep. The Rainbow Wahine are on a roll.

5. INDEPENDENT PRO WRESTLING. The spectacular success of the “All In” PPV this past Saturday shows that there is more to pro wrestling than the WWE.

MOVING DOWN:

5. NICK SABAN: ESPN reporter Maria Taylor asked Saban a legit question after Alabama’s easy victory over Louisville, and the crusty head coach responded like a classless jerk.

4. JIM HARBAUGH: Is he ever going to actually win a big game at Michigan?

3. ALOHA STADIUM SECURITY: Once again, not much “Aloha” on Saturday. I saw one grumpy guard bullying some tailgaters, telling them, “Gotta move back! Keep this clear!” Dude, chill out.

2. MY FANTASY FOOTBALL TEAM: It’s never good when you’re the commissioner of the league and you show up late for your own draft. I missed the first two rounds. Thankfully, AutoPick still got me Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas.

1. JON GRUDEN. He will forever be known as the head coach that got rid of Khalil Mack. Just ducky, Chucky.

TRIVIA ANSWER: The last time Hawaii started the season 3-0 was in 2007, the program’s Sugar Bowl season. Previous to that, the Rainbow Warriors started 3-0 in 1992, the year they won the Holiday Bowl.

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27 August 2018

A WEEKEND TO REMEMBER

For all the talk about Hurricane Lane and its devastating winds, it was a precocious group of Little Leaguers that completely blew us away.

Hawaii’s 3-0 victory over South Korea to claim the 2018 Little League World Series Championship is the feel-good story of the year locally, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. As a state, we’ve been through a missile scare, floods, volcano eruptions and, last week, Lane – and it’s still August. (Fortunately, at least for us on Oahu and Kauai, Lane tanked as though it were gunning for an NBA lottery pick.)

Coach Oda and the boys return home today, and then the celebration will really begin. The team will enjoy superstar status like the Beatles, Dream Team, Barack Obama and even (gasp!) Bruno Mars all rolled into one. But it’s highly unlikely that Aukai Kea, Ka‘olu Holt, Sean Yamaguchi and Co. will forget Oda’s instruction: Enjoy the moment, but stay humble.

TRIVIA QUESTION: In 1952, five years after the first Little League World Series, the first team outside the United States participated in the tournament. Name the international team. (Answer below)

Hawaii’s World Series title capped a remarkable weekend for Island sports fans. Don’t forget Kea’s stellar 15-strikeout performance against Georgia on Saturday to lead Hawaii to the U.S. championship. And the Rainbow Warriors’ 43-34 season-opening upset over Colorado State was a yuuuuge shot in the arm for the UH football program. Seriously, who expected that? (If you’re raising your hand, put it down, liar.)

QB Cole McDonald’s performance (418 passing yards, 95 rushing yards, 5 total TDs) was a revelation. Here’s a guy who, coming into the game, had thrown only 9 passes (22 yards) in his collegiate career. It does, however, lead to an interesting question: If McDonald continues playing at a Colt Brennan-like level, what do you do if you’re Chevan Cordeiro?

Here’s the most impressive stat from the game: The Hawaii offense was 7 for 7 in red zone opportunities. Last season, the Rainbow Warriors turned only 69.8 percent of their red zone chances into scores, ranking 124th out of 128 FBS schools.

There was one negative to the weekend: The Rainbow Wahine volleyball team got swept by Kansas State on Sunday. (There’s a rumor going around that the Wildcats also swept Hawaii on Saturday, but if a match is played and no one is there to witness it, does it make a sound really count?)

Volleyball fans need not press the panic button….yet. The team is still looking for the right line-up, and it will take time for the Rainbow Wahine to form an effective nucleus. Let’s see how the team performs this Thursday against Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers are currently 1-2 on the season, but are considered favorites to repeat as Sun Belt Conference champions.

Speaking of UH volleyball, we’ve got an ESPN 1420 Spotlight on former All-American Nikki Taylor up on this Web site possibly by the end of today. Nikki has moved on from volleyball and is now pursuing a career in….well, watch and see.

TRIVIA ANSWER: In 1952, Montreal became the first team outside the U.S. to compete in the Little League World Series. Then, the tournament used a single-elimination format, and they lost to New Jersey in the first round.

 

Stock Watch

MOVING UP:

1. HONOLULU LITTLE LEAGUE TEAM. Who else were you expecting?

2. COLE McDONALD. Can’t give this guy enough props for his performance on Saturday. But can he deliver again against Navy?

3. UH OFFENSIVE LINE. Still so young, but so very effective. Kudos to the unit and O-line coach Mark Weber.

4. ODELL BECKHAM JR. OBJ’s got 95 million reasons to be happy.

5. MANU GINOBILI. Calls it a career after 16 seasons with the Spurs. Next stop: Zippy’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

MOVING DOWN:

5. TOM BRADY. He walked out of his weekly interview today after the host brought up Alex Guerrero (Brady’s personal trainer). Way to take the air out of a discussion, Tom.

4. CURTIS HARPER. The fighter walked out of the ring and bailed on his fight just seconds after the opening bell sounded. And no, he didn’t have to go potty.

3. RAINBOW WAHINE VOLLEYBALL. Not a good “first impression.” But let’s wait and see.

2. PHIL MUSHNICK. The New York Post‘s snowflake sportswriter criticized ESPN’s coverage of the LLWS, which is fine except for this little excerpt: “Last year, a posing home run bat-flipper on the New Jersey team met with ESPN’s full and repetitive approval. This week, the same happened with a home-run bat-flipper on Hawaii’s team. Even among children, ESPN advocates and rewards rank public immodesty within team sports.” Friendly advice to Feeble Phil: Pull that stick out of your @$$.

1. SIMONA HALEP. The U.S. Open No. 1 seed? More like “1 and done” seed.

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