Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Ferd’s Words | Sports

By Ferd Lewis

November 28, 2019

Rafter-rattling sellouts of the Stan Sheriff Center and conference championships in both men’s and women’s volleyball, a title game in football… yes, there is a lot in the local sports world for which to give thanks today.

So, in honor of those who make the holidays a little brighter and more festive with their accomplishments and memories, let’s raise a drumstick and hoist a glass of good cheer to:

>> Robyn Ah Mow, head coach of the Big West champion Rainbow Wahine volleyball team, who endured a particularly painful year on a couple of personal fronts and still somehow managed to bring out the championship best in her team.

>> Acting men’s basketball head coach Chris Gerlufsen, the Rainbow Warriors coaching staff and players. Faced with the abrupt sidelining of head coach Eran Ganot on medical leave just days before the season opener, they have made a seamless transition on the way to a 4-2 start.

>> Another acting head coach, UH Hilo’s Chris Leonard, and the Vulcans volleyball team, who have the
school back in the NCAA Division II tournament for the first time in eight years. Somewhere, Sharon
Peterson is smiling.

>> The Rust Palace, aka Aloha Stadium, which is still standing. That is some kind of remarkable the
way the second level concourse shook in the decisive moments of the fourth quarter of UH’s West
Division title victory over San Diego State Saturday night.

>> Former head coach Dick Tomey, who died earlier this year. He found his way to Manoa in 1977 and
left his spirit with the UH football program.

>> Central East Maui Little League team, which nearly gave the state championship game
representatives in consecutive years in Williamsport, Pa.

>> The Rainbow Wahine soccer team and head coach Michele “Bud” Nagamine, who finally made the
Big West tournament and can now aim even higher in 2020.

>> Maui’s Kurt Suzuki of the world champion Washington Nationals and the Big Island’s Kolten Wong
of the St.Louis Cardinals, who helped carry their teams to the playoffs.

>> Bellator MMA, which has backed its women’s flyweight champion, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, in seeing
both the opportunity and the interest in bringing championship cards here. Isn’t it about time the UFC
did the same for Max Holloway and his fans here?

>> The announced return of a Hawaii football heirloom, the Hula Bowl, for 2020.

>> Basketball coaches Laura Beeman and Ganot who found ways to raise money, upgrade their locker
rooms and pay tribute to their programs’ history without taxpayer money.

>> Quarterbacks and competitors Cole McDonald and Chevan Cordeiro, who could have very easily
been dividing forces but have put a lot of effort into being unifying ones instead.

>> Kirby Yates, who by dint of his dedication and perseverance, went from a fringe player to a
dominating closer in MLB.

>> Rainbow Wahine sand volleyball and water polo teams that keep knocking on the door of an NCAA
championship and will get there, someday.

>> The Hawaii Tourism Authority, which made a major score landing the Los Angeles Rams and
Clippers here in the same year along with tennis, beach volleyball and other events.

>> Running back Dayton Furuta who suffered what was supposed to be a season — and career —
ending fibula fracture but has made it back on the field.

Reach Ferd Lewis at flewis@staradvertiser.com or 529-4820.