Wahine make fans of us all
By Lee Cataluna
You know who you are.
Whatever you ate for lunch this past Saturday you're planning to have again on Friday just in case that was the lucky katsu. Same shirt, same pants, too.
You're watching a young ti-leaf unfurl outside the bathroom window and planning the timing for Friday's game. Should be just right for waving.
You can't take the day off, but you can switch around your lunch hour to at least catch part of the game. Sneak an ear bud (connected to sports radio) in the ear that doesn't face the boss' office.
When you go home Friday, you'll catch the rerun. If they show it again at 10:30, you'll watch the whole thing again.
Wahine volleyball has legions of hard-core fans, people with cores so hard that they take vacation in November and fly up to watch the WAC Tournament. First thing Monday morning, they were on the phone to their longtime travel agents making arrangements to head East for this Friday's match. They're the aunties who bring lei to every game, make signs for all the players (best one ever is for Jessica Keefe — it says, "Keefe 'um!") and buy tables at the end-of-the-year banquet. They're the elite squad.
But there is a whole third-string fan base made up of mere mortals who maybe aren't so resourceful or dedicated, but who, to the best of their limited abilities and crazy schedules, love Wahine volleyball.
Maybe we didn't go to the University of Hawai'i, don't know anyone on the team and never picked up a volleyball in our lives. That's OK. We understand struggle. We appreciate hard work. We admire excellence.
We relate to the stories of the players, who, like martial arts neophytes, started out wiping the sweat off the gym floor all the while dreaming of a volleyball black belt. If they can, we can. Maybe not volleyball, but our own black belt in our own way.
Yeah, you know who you are.
You make the whole family stand up in the parlor for aloha ball. Even on the rerun. On your feet, Grampa, this is for the match. You, too, Scruffy. On your paws.
You've hunted through craft stores trying to find rainbow ribbons like Juliana's for your kids' hair. You, too, Scruffy. Wear your ribbon.
You scream for every point because you know how hard it is to connect your little hand just right on that fast white cannon ball. Well, maybe you don't know, but it's a metaphor for all the stuff you have to serve, dig and kill every day of your un-tall, un-coordinated life.
Back in the day, then-Gov. John Waihee flew up to Indianapolis for the big game with ti-leaf, lei maile and Hawaiian salt to bless the gym.
It's still early in the tournament but us guys in the sofa squad are already throwing that pa'akai around the parlor in preparation.
Lee Cataluna's column runs Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Reach her at 535-8172 or firstname.lastname@example.org.