Personal blog of Liz from Kauai.

My Photo

Baha'i, Mom and Grandma, Fish Breeder, Sports Fan

Monday, April 20, 2009

Aloha Ball

Aloha Ball is a term we use, among other things, to indicate the match point of a volleyball game.
University of Hawaii 7th man tradition is to stand up for the aloha ball.

Saturday night's Aloha Ball for the 2009 Men's Volleyball Team was especially sweet because it signified a hard-won victory for the UH Rainbow Warriors (I love that there is still somewhere that you can chant "Let's Go, Bows!" ) vs #5 USC who swept the Bows on Friday.

Significant for me, was that it was the first game I ever attended at the Stan Sheriff Center. (Mahalo to Stretch for the tickets!) It was also the last game for Coach Mike Wilton who is retiring and moving to Provo, Utah to focus on faith and family (and an assistant coaching job for BYU's woman's VB team).

"I'll never forget the days when people were hanging from the rafters, with Yuval Katz and the Rubberband Man," (Athletic Director Jim) Donovan said. "There are memories that will be there for the rest of our lives. Mike Wilton was the orchestrator of all of that. He brought the people in."

So instead of watching the last game on TV, I stayed over after a day-long Baha'i training session and got an infusion of "Tsai-ko" therapy and got to be part of the 7th man in person.

"Rubberband Man" Alan Hackbarth

The Tsai-meister himself captured the spirit of the game in his article for The Advertiser:

The Warriors found encouragement from fans that formed the way, entertained themselves during timeouts and steered the momentum in the teeter-totter that was the third set.
"This," outside hitter Jim Clar said of the crowd, "was why I came to Hawai'i."
The three seniors — Clar, China and setter Sean Carney — all started. They were on the court for the final point.
Clar is from Rochester, N.Y.. China and Carney are graduates of Hawai'i private schools who attended Lewis University as freshmen. It was an emotional week for Carney, whose father Tom died of cancer Monday night.
"We really wanted to win this one for our seniors," said Strotman, a junior who was raised in Long Beach. "They really mean a lot to me. I learned a lot playing for Wilton. And I really looked up to Sean, Jimbo and Mikey. They really taught me a lot. I'll never forget it."
Middle blocker Steven Grgas said the "energy the fans brought won it for us. When I was at my lowest, they were chanting for me. They fired us up. I was thinking if we keep working hard, it can be like this all the time."
Wilton said: "It was pretty sweet. The guys really played a nice match. It was a pretty nice way to go out."

Afterwards, JM2375 and I caught up with a few more Tsai-kos (some who were at the Base-Bows game) at Genji's for some food, fellowship and Karaoke!
Brie and JaM -fresh from the Base Bows game