The Way I See It

Pat Bigold

By Pat Bigold

Tuesday, January 19, 1999

UH mascot
should not muscle way
into spotlight

HEY, let's not add insult to our own injury.

Things have been tough enough for fans of Hawaii's football and basketball programs, why do they have to keep looking at that ridiculous steroid freak mascot?

I know. I know. It hardly seems worth discussing.

Nobody even looks at the Rainbow Warrior in that cartoonish costume, padded to form the most grotesquely abnormal set of muscles I've ever seen.

Popeye wouldn't be caught dead in biceps and quads that gaudy.

The legs are so overstuffed that they bang against each other, making the wearer look like a toddler with a load in his diaper.

The costume borders on being a tribute to androstenedione. But that's on a good day.

Most of the time it actually looks more like the offspring of the sumo body suit Frank DeLima has worn in his nightclub act.

I don't even know why I'm bringing this up except I just can't stand looking at it.

AND I wonder how people who take these Rainbow teams seriously can help but be embarrassed.

The cheerleaders' aerial show and the Rainbow dancers' gyrations impress me. In fact, they darned well distract me.

But every time that costume, which must have been designed by a third grade sewing class, passes in front of my seat in press row, I try not to lose my dinner.

Last night, ESPN was at the Stan Sheriff Center, so the Steroid Warrior must have gotten a little more national exposure.

Maybe it's meant to be a joke, and I should be laughing with the masses. Ha-ha-ha.

Hey, we all know I take things way too seriously, don't we?

But this potato sack in human form is not even creative enough to be funny. It looks sloppy. And if I were Hawaiian, I think I would consider this anatomical bean bag a mockery to my culture.

And how do the players feel? Good heavens, man, these athletes are struggling to regain respectability on the gridiron and hardwood. Look what they have to represent them.

Listen to the PA announcer's buildup to a Hawaii game, and his stirring intro: "Ladies and gentlemen, your Rrrrrrrainbow Warrrrriors!!!" Then out waddles this Muppet reject in a cape.

I mean I can't blame the guy they stuck in the outfit, which looks like a hybrid of Papa Smurf and Big Bird. Leave him blameless.

But take into consideration how much of a role the costume might have played in the football and basketball seasons.

Would you want to be greeted by that thing in the end zone? Would you be able to concentrate on a drive to the basket with a skin-toned pin cushion yelling your name from behind the baseline?

I doubt it.

So, here's my solution.

Use a real body. Audition real guys who look the part.

Maybe someone who looks fierce and powerfully built. Someone who looks like he could actually be a warrior.

Make sense?

Maybe I'm missing the point.

But if the creator of the Rainbow Warrior mascot intended it to be goofy, let's opt for classy goofy. I suggest the boosters come up with the cash to hire the former San Diego Chicken or Barney and make us proud.

Pat Bigold has covered sports for daily newspapers
in Hawaii and Massachusetts since 1978.

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