A Heisman to remember
Friday - December 14, 2007
As I sat down last Saturday with my wife Jo to watch the Heisman trophy show from New York, I had no idea it would be so affective for both of us. As the tales were woven about each of the candidates and the journeys that led them to college football’s ultimate stage, it started to sink in how few ever get to this point. And when Colt Brennan was seated on a couch wearing a lei and then put one on Chase Daniel, it suddenly seemed utterly amazing.
I looked over at Jo and there were tears streaming down her face. I felt a lump in my throat too. Could this be real? Could there really be a representative from our tiny island state on one of sports’ grandest stages?
The distance from New York to Hawaii is more than geographic. We know how often Hawaii is overlooked, sometimes even forgotten, but there it was - two young men wearing lei at the Heisman awards. I had so many images flashing through my mind - Walter Murray’s drop against BYU, Robert Lan’s fumble return in the waning moments against Air Force, Jason Elam’s field goal to beat Iowa, Michael Carter leading the team down the field versus Illinois in the Holiday Bowl, Garret Gabriel and the magical win over BYU (56-14, no less).
It was Brennan on the stage, but strangely it was everyone who ever wore a Hawaii uniform. It was for all the fans who show up rain or shine, win or lose. It was, in some very special way, for all of us.
And Brennan embodied many of the values we hold dear. It was always “we” rather than “I.” It was always about team. He was unfailingly humble, yet he was confident.
With all of the negatives we hear about sports, it was inspiring to hear how each of the finalists had overcome obstacles and adversity to arrive on that platform. Chase Daniel of Missouri had spent a lifetime being told he was too small. Darren McFadden overcame a neighborhood where so many fell to gangs, drugs and violence. Brennan had to get past his troubles at Colorado and begin to carve out life as a man. Eventual winner Tim Tebow almost never made it into the world after his mother fell ill during pregnancy in the Philippines and was recommended to abort.
We thought we’d be merely entertained; we ended up inspired and uplifted, and determined to impart the lessons of faith, commitment and perseverance to our own children.
There was a report emanating from the Mainland that connected June Jones to the vacant UCLA job.
Coach Jones said it’s not true, and I believe him.
But it is inevitable that someone with his credentials will be sought out eventually by some needy team. I hope that the powers that be find a sense of urgency in signing up Coach Jones for the future. It’s clear that UH wants him and he wants to be here.
Let’s stop the foot dragging and get this done. Make the man a proper offer and remove any doubt in the minds of prospective recruits about who will head the UH program. It will be a shame and a tragedy if procrastination leads to June Jones leaving Hawaii.
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