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Dave Reardon

Evening QB

By Dave Reardon

Monday, October 16, 2000

Hey Guv, let’s
sober up UH games

SINCE Gov. Ben Cayetano seems intent on destroying a state landmark on his way out of office, maybe he should just have his mug carved onto Diamond Head, ala Mount Rushmore.

That would make about as much sense as his idea of turning the world's most popular golf course into a park.

I don't play the game, but I don't have to to know the Ala Wai Golf Course is a valuable asset to the community. And since the corrupt tee-time system was cleaned up, it's become a true public course where you don't have to be an insider to play a round.

Tourists come to Hawaii hoping to play Ala Wai between stops at the Arizona Memorial and Waikiki Beach.

Besides, if Cayetano wants to leave a legacy that appears gutsy and will irritate lots of sports fans, there's a much better target than Ala Wai Golf Course.

He should take aim at the alcohol concessions at University of Hawaii sports events, especially football games.

Shut 'em down. Either at halftime of each game, or better yet, totally. If that's not possible, at least mandate that security at games be beefed up and improved.

For the second home game in a row at Aloha Stadium, rowdy drunks have made for less-than-pleasant experiences for paying fans -- some with young children.

Everybody saw the wasted buffoon come down from the stands two weeks ago during the Tulsa game. He was allowed to put on an act before the cops finally hauled him away.

Try something like that at an SEC game or, I'd guess, anywhere else in the country, and you're cuffed and on the ground within 10 seconds of hitting the turf.

I'm all for police and security cutting folks slack when appropriate. But some clown getting onto the field looking for a fight isn't one of those situations.

There were fights in the stands Saturday, involving what other fans said were tanked-up, out-of-control drinkers.

One drunk who was escorted out of the stadium destroyed a car windshield. Apparently he was not detained and arrested, because a caller to a postgame show said it was her car, and she was trying to get more information about who did it.

Nice job, stadium security and HPD.

There have been fewer alcohol-related problems at the Stan Sheriff Center, probably because people don't drink as much before the games there.

The only specific incident I recall was when a fan threw a beer in the face of Fresno State's Chris Herren, an admitted recovering alcoholic.

DRINKING and spectator sports will never be separated. But irresponsible drinkers are ruining it for those of us who like to have one or two before and during the game.

Most colleges I know of don't sell alcohol at their sports events. In general, drinking is allowed in the stadium parking lots, but not inside.

The most important thing is safety. How many of the thousands of cars leaving the stadium parking lot after the game are being driven by drunks?

UH makes a lot of money from beer sales and beer advertising. But it could lose a lot -- and not just financially -- if somebody gets maimed or killed because of alcohol at an event.

Also, isn't there something wrong philosophically with selling alcohol at games when a good percentage of the students playing them aren't even old enough to buy a legal drink?

So instead of eliminating a perfectly good golf course, Cayetano should use his power to curtail drunkenness at UH sports events.

It might be just as politically unpopular, but it could save a life someday.

Dave Reardon, who covered sports in Hawaii from 1977 to 1998,
moved to the the Gainesville Sun, then returned to
the Star-Bulletin in Jan. 2000.

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