A Huge Week For Isle Sports Fans
Wednesday - January 26, 2011
They used to say that the weekend between the last NFL playoff game and the Super Bowl two weekends later was the dullest weekend in sports. But this Saturday and Sunday Hawaii sports fans will have a few exciting or memorable events to keep them going.
It starts with the Pro Bowl, back in Honolulu after a one-year hiatus. I’ll admit I wasn’t a big fan of the idea of having the NFL all-star game the week before the Super Bowl, but this year it actually works in our favor. Huge stars such as Peyton Manning, Michael Vick and Tom Brady - names you might expect to be playing in the Super Bowl instead of the newly formatted game the week before - got knocked out of the playoffs early and will be on the rosters this Sunday.
In an ironic twist, the top two performing teams during the regular season - the New England Patriots of the AFC and the Atlanta Falcons of the NFC - will have their coaches, the Patriots’
Bill Belichick and the Falcons’ Mike Smith, as the two head coaches for the game.
The big-name coaches and big-name players are a big plus for local fans - and for big Sunday television ratings around the country.
Or so the NFL hopes.
Speaking of national TV, BYU-Hawaii men’s basketball will be showcased to millions of fans nationwide this Saturday. The PacWest defending co-champion Seasiders take on Grand Canyon University “live” from Phoenix in the NCAA Division II Game of the Week.
Coach Ken Wagner - who recently celebrated his 400th career coaching victory - will have his team on CBS College TV in a game that can be seen at 9 Saturday morning in Hawaii. I’ll be there to represent the PacWest, and I hope you can take time from your busy schedule to enjoy some great college basketball action.
Later that same day, local fans will get an opportunity to remember two legendary prep coaches. Iolani has a special memorial for the late Eddie Hamada and Father Kenneth Bray that will start at 4:30 Saturday afternoon at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. The church is located on the site of Father Bray’s former home and the old Iolani campus in Nuuanu (on Judd Street). Bray began the famous tradition of One Team - the unselfish motto of Raider teams over the years - that has carried forward with many great athletes and coaches, all the way up to Eddie Hamada and beyond.
And then there’s this weekend’s story that proves that some dreams come full circle.
Back in the 1980s, back when the University of Hawaii Rainbow Dancers first became an important part of the cheering section on the Aloha Stadium sidelines, Sara Gourley (now Previte) of Kailua was a proud member of the dance group. After performing as a Rainbow Dancer throughout all four of her college years at UH, Sara eventually graduated, got married and moved to California, where she happily raised a family.
Now, her daughter, 18-year-old Chesi Previte (short for Francessca), has become a senior dancer at Poway High School. And as fate would have it, Poway’s dance team was selected to perform at half-time at the Pro Bowl this weekend - meaning that daughter will get to perform at the same stadium where her mother did more than two decades before.
That’s great news for grandmother Polly Gourley, who still resides in Kailua - and something for all of us to cheer about as we enjoy a great sports weekend in Hawaii.
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