There’s always room for more Brennan stories, even from August
This was in August, this Colt Brennan story. Preseason practice. I thought about telling it then, but didn't, in part because I had already told far too many stories involving my friend Steve Chinen.
(You remember Steve, the UH superfan who was stationed in Iraq with the 657th Area Support Group out of Fort Shafter. He did one of those overseas-military TV holiday greetings professing his love for the Hawaii football team -- go 'Bows! -- rather than saying hi to his family. When he was back for R & R and had only a few precious days home in Hawaii he dragged his poor wife and daughter out to UH spring practice. Clearly, he has issues. Nice guy, but ... )
I had already told all of those Steve stories, plus a couple of more. So, 'nuff already. I kept this one to myself. But I'll tell it now, with Colt Brennan just having been in New York, with the season Hawaii has just had.
It was August, preseason practice. I had already talked to all the players and coaches I needed to, that day, when I spotted Steve off to the side. Eh! He was back from Camp Anaconda, Iraq! Finally, he'd been rotated home. I was talking story with him.
All the players were leaving, pau practice. All the media members were gone. The field was almost empty. Colt Brennan was still out there, signing autograph after autograph after autograph. He did this almost every day, always one of the last guys to leave, signing everything, saying hi to everyone. At last, he grabbed his helmet and started running. Wherever he was going, he was already late.
As Colt jogged past, he made sure to say hi: "Hey, Kalani!" (Think his teammates would take a bullet for him? The local media would step in front of a blitzing linebacker in a heartbeat.) And then Colt stopped.
Skidded, like Fred Flintstone. His smile widened with recognition. "Heyyyyy," he said. (It was like when Seinfeld's Kramer made name tags: "Heyyyyyyyyyy ... STEVE!")
When he was back for spring practice, Steve had had his picture taken with Colt. He'd asked Colt if he could write him, and then, because Steve is the kind of guy who does these things, he did.
"I have your picture!" Colt gushed. Steve had taken a picture of all the Hawaii local people at Camp Anaconda who had gotten up and gone to the motor pool to watch the 2006 Hawaii Bowl at 4 in the morning.
They all got together for a group picture to celebrate the moment. Steve sent it to Colt.
"I have that picture on my wall!" the quarterback said.
He had it on his wall. How would the guys in the picture feel knowing that?
"The flag!" Colt said. Steve had sent him a United States flag that had been flown over Camp Anaconda.
"I'm talking to Coach Jones, we're going to see if they'll fly that flag over Bachman Hall," Colt said.
He was so excited about it.
And it was just so cool. All of it.
Oh, several minutes passed and they ended up in awkward small talk. A member of the military thanking a college quarterback for his service. Colt saying something like, "You guys are the real heroes, you know that." (He's right. In real life, Steve is a school counselor.)
And then he grabbed his helmet again, and was gone.
And then so was I, feeling great. Just great.
He'd not only remembered, he had the picture on his wall. It was so cool, all of it.
It's amazing how many people have the same kind of story about No. 15.