Does anyone in Makakilo recall this?
MAKAKILO continues to haunt me.
Forgive me. Indulge me. This one may as well be about a hazy dream that hasn't quite faded away.
I drive there almost every day. The Star-Bulletin's Jerry Campany names all of his fantasy sports teams after his adopted hometown.
I can think of only one thing.
And I only wonder if anyone who grew up in Makakilo shares this same crazy, hazy dream.
It was many years ago, now, this happened. On the Big Island, down in beautiful Ka'u. Naalehu School. The announcement came that a youth football team would be visiting from Oahu, that day. Makakilo. They descended, en masse. Out of nowhere, we were besieged by a large group of official guests -- from Honolulu, no less.
(To us, there was no "Oahu." It was all "Honolulu." It was a wonder I can remember Makakilo. But you'll see. Oh, you'll see.)
Now, what was a youth football team from Oahu doing just happening to be touring the island, stopping in at remote Naalehu School? Looking back, it makes no sense. What were they doing at our school? How did this get scheduled? Why were they there?
Sometimes I wonder if it really was a dream.
It did happen, no?
At lunchtime, they ate with us. And this was when it got weird. Maybe we were a little taken aback by the whole thing, felt territorial, intruded upon. Who knows. But suddenly, the whole cafeteria was chanting: "HONOLULU SCRUBS! HONOLULU SCRUBS! HONOLULU SCRUBS!"
The whole cafeteria was chanting. In my memory, it was like the scene from a prison movie, when new guys first arrive. The only thing missing was burning confetti being rained down from above.
After, at recess, the whole school gathered. There would be a touch football game (maybe as a goodwill gesture, to make up for our embarrassing behavior). They had a team. They were a team. Mr. Yanagisawa would pick our guys.
We threw out our sixth- or seventh-graders, I can't remember which. I was two, maybe three, years too young to play. Mr. Yanagisawa picked his all-stars: "Richie, go play running back. Maxi, you be quarterback. William, on the end. George, center. Kurt, guard." He was so proud. It was like he was filling out the lineup for the 1927 New York Yankees.
The whole school stood there, principal, teachers, too. We couldn't wait. We were going to show these Honolulu scrubs.
Then the game started.
And they killed us.
Oh, it was embarrassing. Our poor guys never had a chance.
They had plays!
They wore jerseys!
They had formations! They got into three-point stances! They went in motion!
They did that Dallas Cowboys thing where they went down, came back up and went down again!
(Who were these guys?)
It was as if they'd dedicated their lives to perfect precision, toward becoming the kind of machine that could travel to small, unsuspecting country schools and wipe them out.
Oh, they killed us. It was bad. I think we finally scored a touchdown at the end.
Our guys were good, but they were recess all-stars, assembled 30 seconds before kickoff. They had two plays -- mauka and makai.
They never knew what hit them.
Of course we got what was coming to us, after the cafeteria incident.
But the loss stunned me. Me, a poor, innocent kid.
My first stunning loss.
It stayed with me.
Makakilo. It still haunts me.
It's been the Newman to my Jerry all these years.
Now I live on Oahu and I've been to Makakilo. I am reminded every time.
And I wonder if anyone who lives there ever thinks about that strange day. That big game.