Pat Bigold

The Way I See It

By Pat Bigold

Tuesday, September 14, 1999

Learning how to win
can take time

A French Foreign Legion soldier, lost in the desert for days, stumbles into an outpost and begs for water.

But after guzzling from a canteen, he coughs out the life-sustaining fluid.

A blind man receives surgery that suddenly restores his sight, yet he stumbles and falls over the first object in his way.

OK, enough with the metaphors.

Now you know what June Jones is up against. Not only does he have to get the Rainbows to win again. He has to teach them HOW to win.

Otherwise, the Rainbows' system, starved since 1997, will continue to reject what is good for it.

If you had any doubt that winning doesn't come easy after losing 19 games in a row, all you had to do was watch the Rainbows struggle with Division I-AA Eastern Illinois Saturday night.

Despite 541 yards of offense, Hawaii just couldn't seem to find a way to conclude things against an opponent that should have been in the bag by halftime.

The Rainbows' defense gave up 497 yards and the team committed twice as many penalties as did the Panthers.

I thought about the frustrations expressed by former Hawaii offensive coordinator Guy Benjamin last summer as he coached a Hammerheads indoor pro football team that included 18 former Rainbows.

"We just have to learn HOW to win," Benjamin kept saying.

He saw his team jump ahead of teams and then have trouble putting them away.

He saw the Hammerheads want to win so badly that they sometimes beat themselves.

The happy ending was that Benjamin eventually taught the ex-Rainbow Hammerheads how to win, and they actually captured the Indoor Professional Football League title last month.

It's a small-time pro title, but the experience of being crowned winners was almost a religious experience for Benjamin's ex-losers.

June Jones has to be more than just head coach to this Rainbows football team. He has to be therapist, counselor and the spiritual adviser urging them to step into the light.

The man knows what he's doing and he's hired people like Greg McMackin whose credentials are impeccable. So the cure will come.

But you also have to realize - and forgive this last metaphor - that the bandages only recently came off the patient's eyes.

Hopefully, the squinting patient will some day be able to look at Jones and shout confidently, "Doctor, I can see!"


By the way, the Rainbows at least didn't have the the nation's longest college football losing streak.

Swarthmore College (Pennsylvania), the alma mater of "Hawaii" author James Michener and former presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, owned that dubious distinction.

The school ended its 28-game streak two weekends ago with a 42-6 home field drubbing of Oberlin (Ohio).

The Garnet Tide is a Division III school that plays in the Centennial Conference.


Hawaii's fans were a bit more civilized over the end of Division I's longest losing streak . They didn't tear down the goalposts, as the Swarthmore fans did, and as the Colorado State fans tried to do after the Rams upset nationally ranked Colorado at Mile High Stadium.

As you probably know, Denver police tear-gassed the CSU fans. Bad scene.

Now both CSU and Colorado officials want to ban beer sales if the CSU vs. CU rivalry is to continue at Mile High.

Which leads me to the age-old question: Can you really have football without beer?

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

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