Kalani Simpson


By Kalani Simpson

Friday, September 21, 2001

Remember 9-11-01

Sports are back
with us—all at once

IT happens all at once now, so brace yourself. A mountain of games is upon us. The fantasy world between the white lines is open for business again. It's time to catch up. If we can. Ready or not:

>> What better way to get things swinging again than tonight's big football game -- Castle vs. Kahuku under the lights at Aloha Stadium?

The state champs look GOOD. Yeah, everybody knows they've got more players coming out than they know what to do with, and they have the usual number of 300-pounders on the roster.

But the thing about Kahuku that gets missed in the lineup and in the box score is their speed.

On offense, they spread the field and find a seam. On defense, the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth tacklers show up fast and they show up angry. They slam the door. If the first guy can just slow you down, all his friends are there in the next heartbeat to finish the job. Thump-thump-thump-thump-thump. It's like running into an avalanche. 

Of course then there's exciting Castle and quarterback Joel Botelho, whose moves are so sweet, so smooth, so sudden, he should play to a soundtrack of sound effects, like an old Batman comic book. Larry Price might have some tough challenges ahead of him tonight. A Botelho run could be voiced over by Kramer, or Curly, or the guy from the Police Academy movies.

A game you would pay to see? This is a game you'd get your bag searched to see!

>> Hawaii football got on a plane yesterday. Maybe that's the No. 1 thing. No. 2, they play Nevada -- finally, a college football game. The interruption in routine might have hurt some teams, but UH seemed to draw strength from the week off. There was energy, enthusiasm, new life. It was a fresh start, one that came with a 1-0 record.

June Jones calls the two teams evenly matched, which is bad news, considering Nevada is 0-2 by scores of 52-7 and 35-18.

He probably means that both teams pass a lot, are starting to run more and have defenses that are improving but still unproven.

The real season starts now.

>> What happened? Was it really so fragile? Did it all just fall apart?

No. At least I don't think so. But the loss of Lily Kahumoku AND Veronica Lima AND Jennifer Saleaumua to the Wahine volleyball team has been, um ... noticeable. Especially against top teams.

But there is talent there, and the Wahine are learning to play together in this new alignment, if slowly. This should be an interesting season. Through stops and starts, by the end of the year, this team could have something going. Just not, perhaps, at the usual level. The only question is if the fans will stand for "interesting."

And if nothing else, this weekend's Santa Clara series will be, yes, "interesting." Tonight, we find out exactly where the Wahine are.

Kalani Simpson's column runs Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays.
He can be reached at

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