Tuesday, September 28, 1999
RAINBOW BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK
Early morning beachBy Pat Bigold
Of all the training routines the Rainbow men's basketball team goes through prior to Midnight Ohana, the one most unique to Hawaii is running in the sand at sunrise.
Every Thursday at 6:30 a.m., on the Diamond Head side of Kuhio Beach, athletic department strength coach Tom Heffernan leads the 'Bows in sprints through the sand and the waves.
It's a welcome change from running on the pock-marked Cooke Field track at 6:30 a.m. twice a week and pumping iron in the weight room. It even beats the unsupervised intra-squad games the team engages in five days a week in the upper gym.
Early rising tourists stop and gawk from the sidewalk at the towering sprinters thundering back and forth on the sloping beach.
Demanding yet exhilarating, it reminds head coach Riley Wallace's recruits just how far from home they really are.
"At 6:30 in the morning at home, it would be so dark, rainy and muddy, you'd have to have an umbrella and a big jacket," said team captain Marquette Alexander, who comes from San Francisco.
Would it be safe?
"No, not at all," said the 6-foot-8 senior center. "Wouldn't even be safe for the pigeons."
Newfoundlander Carl English said jumping into the Atlantic Ocean at sunrise off the shoreline of his hometown of Patrick's Cove would be insane.
"You'd freeze your butt off," said the 6-4 freshman point guard. "You wouldn't be able to run in the water there."
And there's another problem, according to English. The very large seagulls.
"They're feeding off the sand and the capelin (small silvery fish found in the Northwest Atlantic), and they might just (release droppings) on your head."
Predrag Savovic, whose home is the Balkan nation of Montenegro, said that when he played for club teams there, the strenuous running routine was not on the beach but in the mountains.
"Sweat shirt, sweat pants, cold - no beach," said the 6-6 junior guard. Asked about what it would be like to run on the shores of the Adriatic Sea at sunrise, Savovic laughed.
"It's not like here," he said. "Hell, there's no place like here."
"It's like paradise here," said 6-5 Lithuanian native Nerijus Puida, who doesn't mind getting up with the chickens.
"I cannot do that in Lithuania," said the junior guard-forward, noting that the Baltic Sea is too far away from his hometown and much too cold for morning exercise.
Bernard McIntosh, who last year played for Northland Pioneer College in Holbrook, Ariz., said running in the sand isn't an entirely new experience for him.
"We ran in the desert," said the 6-8 junior forward.
"It's the best conditioning you can have," said 6-9 junior forward Troy Ostler, recruited out of landlocked Salt Lake City, Utah.
But the 'Bows' training takes on the look of boys' camp at a certain point.
"After we run, we get in the water waist-deep and do some sprints, and then get on each other's shoulders and have battles," said Ostler.
Oa McGee, who grew up in Hawaii, said he's used to the beach, but not at 6:30 a.m. "I'm usually dreaming about the beach at that hour," said the freshman walk-on guard.