Spartans road tested
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
This college football season, San Jose State will learn about "America the Beautiful."
When: 6:05 tonight Where: Aloha Stadium Radio/TV: 1420 and 107.9 FM (O'ahu), 1110 (Maui), 570 (Kaua'i)/ K5 Tickets: Prices range from $3 to $19. Parking is $3.
Who: San Jose State vs. Hawai'i in Western Athletic Conference game
When: 6:05 tonight
Where: Aloha Stadium
Radio/TV: 1420 and 107.9 FM (O'ahu), 1110 (Maui), 570 (Kaua'i)/ K5
Tickets: Prices range from $3 to $19. Parking is $3.
"We're true road warriors," said Spartan coach Fitz Hill, whose team will play Hawai'i tonight at Aloha Stadium, one of the stops on their 17,000 miles of travel this season.
Of their 12 regular-season games, eight are on the road. They will have traveled to five of their eight Western Athletic Conference games.
"I told the players, 'If we're going to win, we're going to have to win on the road,'" Hill said.
Like all WAC teams, the Spartans were scheduled to play four WAC games at home and four on the road. (They do not play Rice this year or next year). But when Arizona State offered a $450,000 appearance fee for a Sept. 29 game in Tempe, Ariz., the Spartans needed to shuffle their schedule. They asked to move today's game from Spartan Stadium to Aloha Stadium to take advantage of the so-called "Hawai'i Exemption." Teams that play in Hawai'i are allowed to schedule 12 games instead of the NCAA limit of 11 regular-season games.
Not only did the Spartans pocket $450,000 from the Arizona State game, they also received a rebate of a five-digit travel subsidy and modest appearance fee from UH.
Still, the road is not easy, which is why Hill has adopted a "have fun, will travel" approach.
On the eve of every road game, the Spartans will watch a movie. Last night, they saw a sports film at IMAX Theatre Waikiki.
"We try to bond through traveling," Hill said. "When you travel together, you try to make as much pleasure as possible so they won't focus on being away from home."
But with extra free time on this trip, Hill decided the Spartans also needed time to reflect. After yesterday's one-hour practice, the team visited the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. Sixty years ago, the Spartans were scheduled to play two football games on O'ahu. But the games were canceled following the Dec. 7 attacks, and the Spartans were stranded in the Islands for a few weeks.
"I thought it would be good to teach the kids some history," said Hill, who served nine months in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. "That's what we're here for. We want them to know there are other things besides football games.
"I want them to know the blessings they have, why they have the freedom they have. There are a lot of countries that don't have the freedom we have. You don't realize that when you've been free all of your life. When you've been in places I've been and seen things I've seen, it's a blessing to have the freedom to be able to go where you want to go and say what you want to say and do what you want to do. No question, we'll try to help these guys understand what a blessing it is to play football."
Notes: The UH-Air Force game will not be televised nationally by ESPN, thus it will be played, as scheduled, on Saturday, Nov. 24. ... UH safety Nate Jackson's son is 1, not 2. An incorrect age was reported earlier this week.