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Gary’s Blog: Missing Maui

By Gary Dickman.

I didn’t need another reminder. I really didn’t. So many important dates have come and gone this awful year. And every now and then, I see a date and get reminded of what’s not going to be the same this year, and how I can’t wait until things are the same as they used to be , but I know that won’t be for a while. Some dates were personal (birthdays, etc.) and some were sports related, some work related. And for today, it’s  not the exact date that’s so important, it’s the day of a specific week. I’m sure you know now that I’m talking about the Monday of Thanksgiving week, which is synonymous with the first day of the Maui Jim Maui Jim invitational.

As we know, the Maui Invitational is the best college basketball tournament in  the country.  I’ve been over there around nine times or so, and there’s nothing like it. The atmosphere is unbelievable and you’re right on top of the players. The mainland fans really do a great job supporting their schools, helping to create a great atmosphere. And the schools that come – Duke, North Carolina, Michigan State, Gonzaga, Kansas, etc. – come every four years. I first started coming to Lahaina in 1996 to visit the UMass team that I hosted the previous year at the Rainbow Classic. I’ve come every time Maryland has been here, and some of the games have been classics, I’ve enjoyed every day I spent there.

One of the more memorable sights was around 2012 or so when Illinois was one of the teams playing. A backup point guard was Jeffery Jordan, otherwise known as Michael’s son. And yes, MJ did show up at the Lahaina Civic Center, wearing a bright orange Illinois polo shirt. And a police escort as well. Pretty bizarre, I remember. And today was supposed to be the day when it all happens again. But it didn’t. Now they say the tournament will be played later on in Asheville, North Carolina. I guess it’s safer there. But it won’t be  the same at all. I doubt if Bill Walton will hit the Atlantic Ocean with Jay Bilas to marvel over the beauty of North or South Carolina.

The last time I was on Maui, I saw a pretty good freshman. His name is Zion. I didn’t need this reminder today of something good being lost, like so many other things this year.

I was saddened today when I read the news of another arrest of Colt Brennan. Colt was charged with disorderly conduct and was accused of being extremely intoxicated by police in Kailua-Kona. I know this isn’t the first time Colt has had trouble with the police or with alcohol. And the fact that it’s not surprising should be pretty troubling. This man was one of if not the biggest sports hero that Hawaii’s ever seen. We remember what that two-year stretch was like. It was like a movie, almost too good to be true. And the most famous player on those famous teams was Colt Brennan. It’s one thing not to make it in the NFL. But to see where his life is now is a complete shock from what we expected and hoped for coming out of UH. I feel bad thinking this , and I hope I’m wrong , but I see a very bad ending to this story.

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