Stadium is here for long haul
A COUPLE of weeks ago at the annual Aloha Stadium media luncheon -- during which the most pressing question on everyone's minds is usually something along the lines of, "When are you going to stop talking so we can eat?" -- KFVE play-by-play man Jim Leahey called an audible. He actually had a question.
(Jim Leahey always has a question.)
People have been e-mailing him, he said. People are concerned. Is the stadium going to fall down? Is the stadium safe?
Which brings to mind another question: Jim Leahey gets e-mail?
(Didn't you imagine he was the kind of guy who sneers at computers and their ilk?)
But the answer that came back was, Don't worry, the stadium is fine. Relieved, we ate.
But that was one of the more interesting bits of information given out by stadium officials last week. A recent study says that Aloha Stadium should last for another 20-30 years if taken care of properly. And stadium officials say they plan to do just that.
Stadium Authority chair Kevin Chong Kee said that the stadium intends to embark on a year-round, never-ending maintenance program -- to be paid for by the stadium itself from the revenue it generates. The plan is to start on one end of the stadium -- sandblast the structure, waterproof the entire stadium, go over the seats, etc. -- then have covered every part of the place over the course of a year. Only to start all over again the next day to keep the process going.
"We won't stop," Chong Kee said.
Remember the days when we thought the steel structure didn't need maintenance?
"They called it a 'patina,' " Chong Kee said. "Patina, that's the word for 'rust.' "
» It will be interesting to see what the final numbers will be when Hawaii football season-ticket sales are complete. Of course, there is a school of thought out there that it doesn't matter, that pay-per-view TV makes up for attendance, not only in money but in total fan interest. Which brings up this e-mail:
"Why don't they just sell 50,000 pay-per-view packages, call it a sellout and just play in front of family and friends every Saturday. It'd cut back on stadium fees and there wouldn't be any fights in the stands."
You know, sarcasm is an overlooked art form.
Probably the same guy who's been e-mailing Leahey.
» Still no word on whether my cousin, Alabama linebacker Juwan Simpson, will be in the lineup Sept. 2 after his May arrest.
"I expect to play in every game," the Birmingham News has him saying at the start of training camp, when
he talked about it. "That's something you have to ask Coach Shula about."
Mike Shula isn't saying. So reporters asked Simpson what he thought a player's punishment should be in this situation and he responded that if he was coach he'd give the offender an ice-cream cone.
Later that week, after the ensuing uproar, he said he'd only been kidding.
What a family. We've got a guy on a gun charge, Jessica and a degenerate sportswriter. At this point our shining light is Homer Simpson.
» Minnesota Vikings receiver Koren Robinson off the wagon with an alleged DWI. What a sad turn. When I wrote a column on him at the Pro Bowl this year you had never seen a guy more happy to be sober.
Every sportswriter (and coach) has a story about an athlete looking you in the eye then going the other way. But he wasn't worried about looking me in the eye. He didn't care about convincing me. He was so thrilled because he believed it himself. He was gulping air, shouting to the heavens, happy to be living this new life. He even went back to rehab in the offseason just to reaffirm himself. Now this.
» How the heck does one keep a smile on his face all through the dog days of a football training camp?
Well, "When I do my yoga out on the field after practice ..." UH defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold began.
» I love Tony Kornheiser. Huge fan. But if the Tuesday morning meltdowns over the reviews become more entertaining than the Monday night musings, this experiment may end as ugly as he has continually "joked" it would.
» Wait, there's hope for Mr. Tony after all. Yesterday he came up with a new one. Forget "Africa hot." I'm going with the new standard, "Indonesia hot."
» What a heartwarming story by Cindy Luis in Sunday's paper. Don't take this the wrong way -- obviously coaching was rewarding and satisfying and she loved it, it was what she wanted to do -- but it's so great to hear how Tita Ahuna can finally slow down and have "a life."
In a perfect world, all those overworked, overwrought coaches would get a sabbatical every 10 years.
So would sportswriters.
So would we all.