RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Yokozuna Asashoryu pushed Yokozuna Hakuho out to win the Mayor's Cup on the first day of the Grand Sumo Tournament at the Blaisdell Arena.
Every sport in 1 circle
This is it. We've found it. The mountain top. The pinnacle. The peak.
There are two perfect, primal sports in our universe. The 100-meter dash is one.
It's perfect. Two men and a ring. One remains standing. He wins.
It was awesome, last night, at the 2007 Grand Sumo Tournament in Hawaii's opening night at the Blaisdell, the Mayor's Cup. I planned to take in an hour or so, find enough to write, turn the story in early.
I couldn't look away.
Every match, perfect. Stare downs and beat downs. Brute strength and skill. Two men and a ring. One wins.
There is adrenaline and drama and a tense build up that leads immediately to a head-on collision that matches or beats expectations, almost every time.
There are grudge matches and honor. The beauty of ritual.
Nothing like seeing that purifying salt flying through the air.
And then of course there is Jesse Kuhaulua's pupil Tamakamisakari, who seems to be auditioning for American pro wrestling. He beats himself in the chest, and then he beats himself in the face, and then the match starts. And then the other guy hits him in the face. But he usually wins. And you half expect Hulk Hogan to jump in on his side.
But back to last night, and being unable to look away.
There are sprinters' explosions out of the blocks. Weightlifters' strength, dancers' balance, Three Stooges' head slaps, pass rushers' moves, an acrobat's grace.
Norm Peterson's gut.
And all with the ruthlessness of a Republican political operative.
Two men in a ring. One wins.
Guile and guts and power and grace. And science. Leverage, and sweat.
At least three charging-rhinos double chest belly-flop slaps that were so loud, so jarring, so distinct it sounded like gunshots going off.
And you've never seen a sport where the referee was so well dressed.
Plenty of personality, too, to go with the history and the flying salt. Ozeki Kotooshu from Bulgaria looks exactly like John Belushi in "Samurai Deli." Yokozuna Asashoryu, last night's champ, not only is the man, but knows it. He's not only the toughest, but the smoothest, too.
And lets you know that he knows that, too.
He's like the sport's Muhammad Ali. Float like a butterfly, sting like a sledgehammer to the face.
It was amazing to see the skill levels of the ozekis and yokozunas, how much better those guys were than the rest, the techniques they used, the way they all but played with their lesser opponents like Larry Bird, circa 1986.
But this was better than basketball, better than anything, the perfect, primal sport. Two men in a ring, one wins. Balance and grace and power and strength and stare downs and skill. Every match was an "Oh!"
Sport doesn't get any better than that.