Man’s troubling proclivity toward destination-bias, how our religions concern themselves with the afterlife rather than life itself, how even our most horrid anniversaries of closure are celebrated be they divorces or paroles, births added density into the effluvia surrounding tomorrow’s game on the Big Island.
For one class of seniors, this marks the end to a tenure that could not have embraced chaos more thoroughly if choppers evacuated them off the athletic compound’s roof after their last home game. For our new coach, Hawaii’s no-longer-Rainbow Warriors open one more laboratory in which to test his theories, one more hope for victory – that empty word that means everything before its achievement and nothing afterwards.
In the days gone by, Hawaii was the drop off point for the wretched. Lepers were beached under the palms’ shades and licensed to the care of the church, whose spiritual calculus must have conceived of a fractional denominator of so-much paradise canceling out so-much inferno, a formula that’s still blank beyond the equal sign.
The Alabama Crimson Tide football team landed in Hawaii well before the game and will stay well after, but whether these visitors come to conquer or merely wait for their wounds to kill them is undetermined. How much can you ask of men who travel half way around the world at the end of a damnable road to play in bandages, braces and casts?
If you’re at the helm of a program that lazy sportswriters affix the phrase “once proud” before in every breath, you ask for one more hour – 60 minutes, quartered and measured on 100 yards of grass where you kneel beside other men to pray, bleed, and pray again.