Monday, September 12, 2011

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII FOOTBALL @ Washington Huskies - September 10, 2011

What's the connection with Lahainaluna sports and University of Hawaii football? Well, there are currently two starters on the team with Lahainaluna ties: star defensive lineman #49 Kaniela Tuipulotu and offensive lineman #69 Andrew Faaumu. Tuipulotu grew up in Lahaina and attended Lahainaluna his freshman year before transferring to Kahuku his sophomore year. There he was able to showcase his talents and became one of the top high school players in the State of Hawaii, earning a scholarship to the University of Arizona before transferring to Hawaii last season. Faaumu also grew up in Lahaina and graduated from Lahainaluna High School. His college career is not as heralded as Tuipulotu, but through sheer dedication and hard work, he has made his way to a starting position on the offensive line. Congratulations to both players!
#69 Andrew Faaumu
Doing the Haka

(bald-headed player) Kaniela Tuipulotu

Here are some shots leading up to the game which my wife and I attended. The night before, I was up making signs for the game.

First, we got up bright and early to get dressed in our pro-UH gear:

Why a Dolphins' uniform? Well it ain't just any Dolphins uniform - it's #15 Davone Bess, UH player.

We also got up early to scratch off some sightseeing things we had on our to-do list: Woodland Park Rose Garden

and watching the salmon swim upstream at the salmon ladder at Ballard Locks.

Then it was off to find parking on the UW campus and attend the University of Hawaii Alumni Association tailgate and then the football game. Despite paying $30 for parking, it was well worth being able to park on campus and close to the tailgate facility. If for some reason I was not allowed into the stadium with my Bigma, the car was not too far off to return the lens. Plus, the N-6 parking area was in the shade - a very valuable commodity on this hot day.

I was surprised at the number of people attending the tailgate. I was quite pleased as there were people my age and younger attending the event. I was envisioning a lot of silver-haired people.

Madelyn met up with a couple from Maui, John and Joanie. He graduated from Baldwin in 1988 and she from Maui High. He worked at Longs with Russell Romo - small world.

I also ran into Clyde and his family - Clyde is my brother Edwin's neighbor. Talk about a small world indeed!

The sucky thing is that for the $35 per person that I paid, the food was okay but I couldn't finish. Breakfast burrito stuffed with chorizo, bacon, burger sliders, and chicken wings. It was okay, but I couldn't finish. They were also giving away prizes but you had to answer really inane triva questions, which were more like promotional plugs for UHAA and for GEICO. Geez, for the money we paid, the least they could have done was hand out tickets and pull numbers out of a hat.

But the most sucky thing was that it was frickin' hot in that hall! I believe the UW turned off the A/C to torture us.

I had originally planned to just walk down to the Stadium, which was down the hill. But Madelyn wanted to take the shuttle. It was hectic out there, as apparently it was moving in day for the students at the nearby dorm as well as for the fraternities/sororities. It was very awkward standing there in UH Gear while all these purple clad UW students and fans walked by. One nice result of deciding to take the shuttle: Madelyn got to snap a picture with UH Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw. Such a personable person!

The shuttle took us on a short (very short) cruise down the hill to the part of the campus directly across the pedestrian bridge leading to Hec Ed Arena and the athletic facility.  We got off the shuttle, crossed the bridge and walked to the entrance to Husky Stadium.

Despite attending 3 years of Law School at the UW, I never attended a game at Husky Stadium. We did get to go to the skybox my 3rd year in law school for a function, but that was it. Despite it being the day before the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, getting into the stadium was relatively easy. No lines. But they were checking bags. Unfortunately, the checker I had was concerned about the size of my Bigma lens. He called his supervisor who in turn called someone else. They had me wait a bit and then asked if it was a video camera. I said no, just film and they let me through. Whew! Thank God!

It was still over an hour before kick-off but I wanted to get down to our seats and see what the lay of the land was. Section 4, Row G, Seats 5-6. We were down near the bottom - that sucked because the far end of the field might as well have been the end of the Earth. Luckily I still had my Bigma, but I knew that half the game would be tough taking photos.

The view from Tunnel 4

Fortunately, or unfortunately, Seattle was experiencing a record-breaking 7th consecutive day of 80+ degree weather in September. Unheard of for the rainy city. For us, I appreciated the fact that it didn't rain, but having the sun beat down on me mercilessly, I had traumatic flashbacks to shooting back-to-back football games at Lahainaluna's Imu, with no shade to be found. I decided to leave my trusted 70-200mm f/2.8 in the car and exclusively use the Bigma 50-500mm for the game due our end zone seating and bright sunlight. I also brought along my newly acquired Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 (thank you John Kaukamahina via Craigslist for the versatile lens) for people shots as well as my Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 for super wide angle shots of the stadium and crowd.
The famous UW Band


Purple-clad student section (and the band)

Go Warriors!

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