“Don’t Give Up on This Team”

“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.

Wow.

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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