The view still looks good down that green ti-leaf road
A dream shared by many who call Hawaii their home and heart was momentarily eclipsed and disrupted by the Warriors loss in last Tuesday's Sugar Bowl at the New Orleans Superdome. While many of us here in Hawaii remained glued to our television sets on New Year's Day carrying the confetti of belief near our intuitive bones, our relatively silent streets and roadways seemed to remain literally as well as metaphorically welcoming and willing to absorb the elation of hundreds of thousands of cheering fans celebrating a well-hoped-for victory, complete (or replete) with a honeymoon of hopes fueled by a nation of ti-leaf-carrying believers.
The task proved too great and the feat too grand. The national limelight of this contest carried the substance of an immensely inspiring storyline for which the elements measured were aligned quite perfectly with the David and Goliath-driven plot, so timeless and warming to the hearts of most who believe in merely believing in the unthinkable -- and, of course, in having faith in the remarkable, too.
However, from the beginning to the end, our David proved to be no match for his Goliath. Our Colt never fully fired, and in the end the bubbly never flowed. As the end result took its course, the extremely long telecast became increasingly filled with melodrama, instigated by poor officiating, coupled with far too frequent commercial breaks that provided us all with more than enough time to contemplate the reconciliation of our Warrior hopes, as if we were traveling in a promised land with no roads.
It seems as though this Goliath learned from his own story well and did not underestimate his opponent. And so, as we watched our proud Warriors take a beating, a new David emerged with no stones, axes or bows. As the credits of this greatest season began to draw to a close and the game clock unwound to its end, a new tale quietly emerged, possibly defining and directing what exactly it does mean to be 12 and 1.
In the end, this greatest season in University of Hawaii history will not garner its sports-history sentiment from the blemishes of a state of near-perfection illuminated by a particular number hyphenated next to a zero -- wins and losses, lifeless columns with no intrinsic meaning. Perhaps this almost perfect season will find good company among similar sports-world parables and motifs that speak volumes as to what can happen when a group of people laulima and believe in something unbelievable, even when obstacles emerge and grow.
In the end, our David seemed almost destined to lose this contest, overmatched miserably by the Georgia Bulldogs' rich football tradition, first-rate recruitment and considerably larger athletic resources. Yet in the end I think we all learned one thing for sure -- while almost perfect is certainly not perfect, 12 and 1 in the Division 1 collegiate football world in this day and age sure looks like hope with a rainbow on top above a long, Hawaiian, green ti-leaf road.
Jonathan L. Desselle is a behavioral scientist who lives in Hawaii Kai.