Hawaii football 'superfan' savors being back from Iraq
SFC 657th ASG Chaplain Steve Chinen stopped by the office yesterday, and it was great to finally meet him in person. He looked great, he was happy, and healthy, and perfectly safe. Not a scrape on him.
This is notable because Steve is home on R&R from Iraq?
No, it's notable because during the televised "holiday greetings" they do around Thanksgiving and Christmas time, he did not say how much he loved and missed his wife and daughter, but instead talked about how much he loved and missed the UH football team.
But, nah, nah, nah. It was clear yesterday how much his family still loves him, even in spite of this move -- it's typical that he would do something crazy like that -- and how happy they are to have him home. Even though the countdown clock has already started in the back of their minds. He leaves Saturday to go back to the 657th, out of Fort Shafter (its coin is pictured at right). Back to Iraq for four months more.
Steve said that after being there for so long, Hawaii's colors and greenery were coming at him like everything was in 3-D.
You'll recall from past columns that Steve is part of a group of UH superfans -- local people stationed at Camp Anaconda, Iraq, who found their spirits lifted with every UH win. And as an assistant chaplain his department is morale -- so talking UH sports could even be considered part of his job, if you will.
These last few precious days, hours, minutes will be frantic, and wonderful, and packed nonstop, as he sees as many people as he can. As his family squeezes him close, holds him tight.
But still, he's hoping he might be able to make it to a UH football spring practice this week, if he can fit it in. So he can tell the guys about it, back in Iraq. Maybe he'll get to shake Colt Brennan's hand.
Thank him for his service.
» Some interesting e-mail this week. Including this one: "You're getting too soft as you age. Lol."
Then there is this one: "Yea, the schedule stinks, the timing for a weak and incomplete schedule is bad given Colt Brennan's return. ... But we have already bought our season tickets and we will support the team in spite of the administrative problems. It ain't the team's fault and the kids will play their (okoles) off and we will support them, PERIOD. If they want me to volunteer and carry the bucket of water to them on the field, my wife and I will do that too."
He goes on: "After the 0-12 season, this controversy is all verbal background noise. I have always believed that it takes character to be a 'Rainbow' fan. You take the good with the bad. OK, this is bad, BUT IT DON'T MATTER. We will be there, going crazy as usual. GO 'BOWS."
Then the closer: "(But tell Herman don't let this happen again.)"