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“Don’t Give Up on This Team”

by Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.

If you’ve been reading Gary Dickman’s “Hoops Scoops” blog lately, you know that he’s been preaching a consistent mantra when it comes to the University of Hawaii men’s basketball team: “Don’t give up on this team.”

Forgive me, Gary, for I have sinned.

Full disclosure: Rainbow Warrior basketball is my favorite sport to follow. I’ve been a fan since the “Fabulous Five” days, and rooted for the program ever since, from Tom Henderson to Jack Purchase. Despite having a media credential, I’ve still kept my season tickets (30-plus years and counting). I win and die with every UH basketball win and loss.

These last few weeks, it seems I’ve been dying a lot.

So I had no heightened expectations yesterday afternoon, when the Rainbow Warriors played their penultimate regular season game at UC Davis. The ’Bows went 3-6 in February and seemed to be limping toward the finish line.

I watched the first half at work – Hawaii trailed at halftime, 31-30, thanks to a half-court shot at the buzzer by Aggie freshman Ezra Manjon – then listened to the second stanza on the drive home.

When I turned on the radio, Hawaii was already down by seven. I turned it off and thought, “Oh, here we go again.” Minutes later, halfway home, I turned on the game again. The first thing I heard was Bobby Curran saying, “Hawaii down by nine.” Clickk. Minutes later, I tried again. “The Aggies are now up by 12.”

Forget this.

I turned off the radio for good and made my way home. I had dinner, kicked back and did what we all do when we get home: watch some YouTube videos. To be honest, I completely forgot about Hawaii-UC Davis.

Finally, right before going to bed, I thought about the game again. I decided to check the box score to see the damage.

What the…?

There it was: Hawaii 67, UC Davis 65.

I was stunned. What the heck happened? Then, looking at the stats, I saw that Samuta Avea finished with 18 points, including four three-pointers. When I had turned off the game, Avea was having a miserable night.

I checked out Twitter and immediately saw the ESPN Honolulu post. Our Digital Media Manager, Ku‘ulei Agbayani, had dutifully put up a video of Avea’s game-winning shot.


I felt joy. I felt happiness.

Then I felt guilt.

Gary’s words started echoing in my head: “Don’t give up  on this team.”

“Don’t give up on this team.”

“You gave up on this team, Lance.”

“And you call yourself a fan?”

Get out of my head, Gary!

Now it’s Friday. The guilt it gone. The Rainbow Warriors picked up a solid win, which ultimately is what matters.

And, when I think about it, who’s to say that me giving up on the game isn’t the reason for Hawaii’s epic comeback? I’ve been known to be a jinx in the past. Maybe, by giving up on the game, I somehow caused UH to roar back to victory?

So to every member of Rainbow Warrior Nation, I have two words to say to you:

You’re welcome.

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