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Gary’s Blog: Shock and Sadness

By Gary Dickman.

I’m in shock. Just like that, we went from celebrating one of (if not the) greatest victories in University of Hawaii sports history with the men’s volleyball team winning the NCAA championship to mourning probably the saddest day in UH sports history, as I woke up this morning to the tragic news on the passing of Colt Brennan at only 37 years of age.

I usually write this blog on Monday nights and this is the first time I waited until Tuesday morning. I was ready to just celebrate the championship in volleyball, and now all of my thoughts are on Colt Brennan, the sadness hearing the news and the great memories of an era of UH football that will likely never be repeated. Most of us remember those seasons where Colt was bigger than a rock star. He really was. What he brought to Hawaii football were many records, the undefeated season, a trip to the Sugar Bowl – I could go on and on.

I have fond memories of Colt Brennan, the person. I met him during his junior season, and I was surprised that when I’d see him over those last two years playing here that he’d remember me. He was always so friendly, so welcoming to me or anyone else I’d see who would approach him. He knew I had the Sports Animals show, and told me he’d come on anytime I wanted him to. And he did. I didn’t want to ask him too often, but every time I did ask, the answer was yes. Colt always seemed so humble and as happy to meet fans as they were to meet him.

I don’t need to write a lot about his life after his UH career, but it was sad. It was great running into him over the years. I’d see him at football and basketball games every now and then. Sometimes it was hard seeing him and knowing that something wasn’t right. I sometimes wonder what his life and career would have been like if not for the car accident on the Big Island in 2010. I’m glad he’s not suffering any more, but the sadness I feel today will never go away. I think a lot of us feel like a part of our lives was lost today. As I’ve gotten older, I look back on my memories a lot. In some ways, that’s all I have. Colt Brennan will always be remembered with such fondness, I think it’s safe to say he’s the University of Hawaii’s greatest athlete of all time. It feels like we all lost a family member today. I know I’ll never forget Colt Brennan. I know Hawaii won’t forget, either.

As I wrote earlier, I was ready to write mostly about the volleyball team winning the national championship on Saturday. This team will be remembered forever in the history of Hawaii sports. It’s been a long time since a UH team won a national title and I couldn’t have been happier for the team, and especially for head coach Charlie Wade. It’s been a tough 14 months being a sports fan, so much has been taken away from us because of COVID. This past weekend was the first time I really felt good about sports in over a year. Even though it wasn’t a typical season, the feeling after the team beat BYU was a perfect ending.

We’re all sports fans and we have our favorite teams. Usually at the end of a season, fans are talking about what went wrong, who has to go from their teams, how things should be better next year, etc. We talk about this because since there’s only one winner in every sport, most of us are fans of teams that lost their last game. So it was an unusual feeling on Saturday, because our team won. We’re mostly not used to that. I’m not, are you? Of course, some fans still managed to complain a little, about not enough fans being allowed to go to the tournament, or that the TV announcers were biased against UH, which is something that fans do way too often. But I’m not complaining about anything, as it’s such a great feeling to have won a championship, and the whole state gets to share in it. Thank you, Charlie Wade. Thank you, UH Volleyball team.

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