Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, September 12, 2001

America Attacked

Families take
precedent at UH

By Dave Reardon

Hawaii football player Travis Barksdale's mother is one person who might be on an airplane today, regardless of the nationwide ban on such travel.

Ellen Barksdale is an Army captain at Tripler Army Medical Center. She is an emergency room and intensive care unit nurse and has been told to be ready to fly east to help in the wake of yesterday's terrorist attacks.

"It's kind of scary," said Travis Barksdale, a junior outside linebacker who is redshirting this year after transferring from East Carolina. "I hope she doesn't have to go, but I understand its importance."

Barksdale is just one of several UH sports figures to be affected personally by yesterday's events.

Men's basketball coach Riley Wallace's son, Rob, was recently commissioned as a Marine Corps second lieutenant. He is undergoing officer training in Quantico, Va., just a few miles from the Pentagon.

"He called us at 3:20 a.m. (yesterday) to let us know he's all right," Wallace said. "They're on high security throughout the base. That's the headquarters for the president's helicopter fleet, the FBI and a lot of training."

UH freshman football player Nate Ilaoa's brother, Aaron, is a Marine lance corporal who lives near the Pentagon and works there sometimes. Ilaoa said his father, Filipo, spoke with Aaron today and said he is OK.

Filipo Ilaoa had a full day yesterday, as he is the highest-ranking enlisted man at Kaneohe Marine Corps Base.

"He said the base is on full alert," Nate Ilaoa said.

Slotback Craig Stutzmann has many relatives in New York. He said his father has made contact with the family and they are accounted for.

"It's scary to think that they're going through that kind of thing. I have a couple of relatives that live and work in the city," Stutzmann said. "It's not right there, but it's too close for comfort. My uncle and auntie called and said everybody's OK, and just to pray for the best."

UH radio play-by-play man Bobby Curran's concerns were with the safety of his brother, Tim, who works in one of the World Trade Center buildings.

"When the two main towers went down, he and his buddies got out of there," Curran said. "I got in touch with him and he's fine."

Warrior defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa knows people who worked at the World Trade Center.

"Two or three guys I coached at Dartmouth are there," he said. "This is crazy. It's very unfortunate, but it puts things in perspective.

"When I was driving in and heard it on the radio, I couldn't believe it. It was like 'War of the Worlds' or something."

Men's volleyball coach Mike Wilton is glad his sport is out of season, because deciding to play or not play a match after yesterday's events would be a tough dilemma.

"I think if I had a match tonight I wouldn't, or tomorrow night. But I think by this weekend, yes. My personal feeling is sport is a diversion, if that's the right word, and it can help with healing and give us something to rally around," he said. "It's not like you forget anything about the tragedy. One of the things that is great about sports, or dance or plays is they give all of us a chance to recreate, renew. Such activities can help us move on with full respect and concern for what has happened.

"For all the faults we have, this is the greatest country on Earth and we have some special liberties and freedoms that don't exist everywhere," said Wilton, who served in the U.S. Marines. "Obviously it's such a tragedy. You wonder what can engender such hate."

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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