Posts Tagged ‘Sugar Bowl’

WOW! All this talk and speculation that June Jones may be leaving the UH Warriors football program was something I didn’t expect coming home from the Sugar Bowl. As Warrior fans wait anxiously to find out if Coach Jones is indeed heading to SMU, you can’t really blame him for going to Dallas to hear what they have to offer. It’s been a great nine years with Jones at the helm and I can only hope the legacy lives on for a few more.

For the time being, I’m glued to Stephen Tsai’s “The Warrior Beat” blog on HonoluluAdvertiser.com hoping UH officials are doing everything they can to keep JJ in Hawaii.

Stay tuned…

-NGK

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Let me start off by saying that nearly 40 hours of travel time spent in the air and on the road is a long time. Would I change anything about our trip to New Orleans to experience the Sugar Bowl? NO! Would I do it again? I would seriously have to think about it. More about getting to The Big Easy in another blog post.

There’s so much about the trip to talk about, but let me begin with the most important part of the expedition – the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

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Our seats in section 616, rows 14 and 15 were fabulous with a sideline view.

Sitting alongside thousands UH Warriors fans in white t-shirts to cheer on the Warriors was a “chicken skin” experience I’ll never forget. It felt like one-third of the 70,000-seat Louisiana Superdome was filled with Warrior fans and while we were clearly outnumbered by Georgia Bulldogs faithful, we gave it everything we had from start to finish. I couldn’t believe how loud it got in the dome.

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From left: Lorne and Regan outside the Superdome. Me, my mom (Rhonda) and sister (Erin). The UH Band performs before kick-0ff.

While the outcome of the game was not the one we were hoping for, I take my hat off to the Warriors for playing with a lot of heart and giving it their all. Georgia was clearly the better team that night – bigger, faster, stronger – and it showed. From the start, it was obvious we had our hands full. The Warriors never gave up and the fans never gave up on them. This game helped me understand the meaning of “big time” football – SEC style!

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From left: Thousands of fans outside the Superdome. The atmosphere inside the Superdome was electric. The very first play from scrimmage after a good return by UH.

The Warriors have a lot to be proud of and this season will no doubt go down as one of the best ever! Let’s hope June Jones hangs around for a few more years to keep the good times rolling.

More about our trip to New Orleans coming up.

-NGK

nostradamus.jpgAs of this posting at 6:00 p.m., we’re departing for the Sugar Bowl in less than 15 hours. To say we’re all getting excited is an understatement. The fabulous five traveling are me, my mom (Rhonda), my sister (Erin), and by buddies Regan and Lorne.

I’m getting ready to pack my bags and my sister Erin is spending the night at our place since we need to be at the airport by 7 a.m. to check-in. I spent today taking care of Ensen and mapping out our little roadtrip from Houston to New Orleans during his naps. I think we’re set, but if not, Lorne is borrowing his cousin’s Garmin GPS System to help get us to The Big Easy safe and sound.

This will most likely be my last Sugar Bowl post on this blog for a day or two (I’ll see if I can get Kelly to post daily updates of our travels), so I thought I’d go out with a bang. The photo of the guy in the upper right is Nostradamus, who according to Wikipedia is “a French apothecary and reputed seer who published collections of prophecies that have since become famous world-wide.” In reading a couple of chapters from his famous book Les Propheties, I came across some of his predictions for the Hawaii Warriors vs. Georgia Bulldog game on New Year’s Day:

FINAL SCORE: UH defeats Georgia, 51-48 in overtime
COLT BRENNAN: 42-60, 537 passing yards, 5 touchdowns, no interceptions
JASON RIVERS: 13 catches, 178 yards receiving, 3 touchdowns
DEVON BESS: 10 catches, 137 yards receiving, 1 touchdown
RYAN GRICE-MULLIN: 8 catches, 151 yards receiving, 1 touchdown
ADAM LEONARD: 12 solo tackles, 1 interception
DAN KELLY: Will hit the game winning field goal in OT…PRICELESS!

Okay, so maybe those are my personal crazy predictions and not those of Nostradamus. It will be interesting to see how good I am at foreseeing the future. Enjoy the game!

GO WARRIORS!

-NGK

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Regan and me at Aloha Stadium cheering on the Warriors as they defeat the Washington Huskies in the final game of the season.

Okay, I’ve got a confession to make. Even though I booked the travel for me, my family, and my friends for the Sugar Bowl, I really never stopped to add up all the time it would take to get there. I’m not quite sure why I never did, but it probably has something to with the fact that I knew deep down inside that it was going to take “a while” to get from Hawaii to New Orleans. A little case of denial.

So when I saw my buddy Regan quoted today in a Sugar Bowl story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune titled “Cultural Shift” by Stewart Yerton, reality settled in. It’s going to take almost 20 hours to get from here to there and another 20 hours to get from there back to here. HOLY COW! Quoting from the story (sweet…second story in the paper we’ve been included in):

Regan Onikama is typical. A Honolulu mortgage broker, Onikama plans to leave Honolulu on Saturday at 9 a.m. on a four-hour flight to Los Angeles. In L.A. he will switch planes for a two-hour flight to Phoenix, where he has another connection to Houston. After arriving in Houston at 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, Onikama plans to rent a car and drive to New Orleans, where he hopes to arrive by 9:30 a.m. Sunday.

Factoring in the five-hour time difference between Honolulu and New Orleans, that’s more than 19 hours of travel time. Onikama’s return flight leaves Houston at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 3 so he will have to leave New Orleans on Wednesday night to drive back.

Altogether, that’s about 40 hours of travel time for the chance to spend about 80 hours in New Orleans, where Onikama says he plans to hit Harrah’s New Orleans Casino and Bourbon Street and enjoy some good food.

But his final quote in the story sums up our attitude about this trip:

As for the travel hardships, Onikama shrugged it off.

“I figure this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said. “Win or lose, everybody’s just excited to go.”

Well said my man! Three days until departure…

GO WARRIORS!

-NGK

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Reading a story in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today titled Ten esoteric Hawaii facts UGA fans should know reinforced just how special and exciting this University of Hawaii Warriors football team has been this year. Sports Writer Chip Towers does an excellent job highlighting some of the things that really sets this team apart and paints a great picture of what this football team has achieved this season.

From other Sugar Bowl reports throughout the week, it’s obvious that the University of Georgia Bulldogs are not going to that the Warriors lightly. What it means to me is that college football fans across the county, especially those from Hawaii, are in for one hell of an exciting game.

GO WARRIORS!

-NGK

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Even these mice at Honolulu Hale are getting excited about the Sugar Bowl. I just hope they aren’t sitting next to me on any of our flights from Honolulu to New Orleans.

Speaking of getting to The Big Easy, we were just talking to Sarah (Kelly’s brother Jonathan’s girlfriend) who is also making the trip to cheer on the Warriors. Come to find out, there is someone that I know taking a “crazier” route to NOLA. If you thought two stops from Honolulu to Houston, then a five hour drive to NOLA was insane, think again.

Her trip starts on Friday when she leaves Honolulu for Maui. From there, she takes the red-eye to Los Angeles and has a nine hour layover. From LAX she heads to Dallas where she’ll spend the night before jumping in a car and driving nine hours to NOLA. She gets there on Sunday. WOW!

Now that’s a die hard fan…or so I though…until Sarah told me about a couple of her friends that are flying into Indiana, then driving 20 hours to NOLA. I wish them all the luck in getting there on time and hope weather in the midwest treats them kindly.

If you’ve got a story to share about your travels to the Sugar Bowl, let’s hear about it.

GO WARRIORS!

-NGK

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Our group touches down in Houston on December 30 at 2:30 a.m. That’s right…A.M.! Upon arrival, the plan is to get the rental van and immediately start driving east on Interstate 10 (I-10) to New Orleans. Google Maps estimates the trip will take about 5 hours, so assuming all goes well, we should be in The Big Easy by early morning.

Half the fun of getting to the Sugar Bowl will be the drive there. According to Wikipedia, I-10 is the southernmost east-west, coast-to-coast intestate highway in the United States. It stretches from the Pacific Ocean at State Route 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) in Santa Monica, California to Interstate 95 in Jacksonville, Florida.

While I expect most of the drive to be in the dark, I do look forward to seeing whatever scenery there is to be seen along the way.

If anyone has suggestions on places to stop along the way for entertainment, a bathroom break, or easy refueling, I’m all ears.

-NGK

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As chance would have it, the New Orleans Hornets play the Toronto Raptors on December 31 at New Orleans Arena. So in the true spirit of doing everything possible while we’re in The Big Easy, our little group of five will be going to the game on New Year’s Eve.

I hate to admit this, but I have no idea who plays on either team. Does Vince Carter still play for the Raptors? A quick check of the team roster confirms he doesn’t. GREAT! I officially know nobody on either team. But it will be fun regardless and I’m going more for the excitement of attending a NBA game.

I do have one more question. I wonder if our family is somehow related to the Shinn Family who owns the Hornets? My mom’s maiden name is Shinn, but I’m not getting my hopes up. My mom nor my Grandma Shinn ever spoke about an Uncle George that owned a professional basketball team. But if by chance we are related…or if the very kind Mr. George Shinn wants to adopt a Shinn Family from Hawaii for the night…the five of us would be glad to sit in Uncle George’s luxury box and catch up on old times. :-)

-NGK