A trip to Cooke Field reveals interesting digs
By RSN Hammer
Friday, May 24, 2002
Final exams at UH means it's summertime, and summertime is a time for a break . . . "Summertime, and the living is easy . . . " yeah right, for some, but, not for the young men who battle at Aloha Stadium in the fall . . . Summertime is the difference maker for a football program striving to become a top 25 power year in and year out.
It started like a ho hum day in paradise . . . the numbers in our accounting office were beginning to make my eyes dizzy . . . I don't know why, but, for some reason there was an urge to head off to one of my favorite places to be….the lush Manoa valley, to Cooke field, to the Quarry . . . As I parked my car in the very familiar lower campus parking structure, there was a sense of nothing happening . . . I looked to see a Cooke field locked up and parts of the artificial turf torn off and rolled up on the side of the field…. Taking a closer look at the rolled up artificial turf, I could now see what our recent turf war was all about . . . The artificial turf wasn't that thick . . . I then looked at the surface that was stripped of the artificial turf and saw that it was hard surface . . . I began to think, "I sure wouldn't like to be tackled on that kind of turf." No wonder, no wonder this has become such an issue in recent days.
It was dead, I mean nothing . . . Took off to Rainbow-Tique to see what was new there . . . Looked about the same, the only real interesting thing was Liza Minelli singing live on the Larry King show on the TV in the shop…. That lady can sure belt out a tune . . . well, Rainbowtique over, Cooke field in the refurbish mold for women's track and field, let's maybe head off to the football grass field, maybe some players are keeping in shape . . . Nah, from all indications it looked like it was summer break and nothing was happening . . . as I walked slowly back to my car in the parking structure I looked up and saw this big guy with earrings and a mesh type of head covering on his head . . . Hey, this guy looked so familiar… it was, a . . . come on ginko, try to remember, quick!!! Vincent "NFL" Manuwai . . . "Hey, howzit. What you up to??" "Just taking a break from work…. What you up to?" "Going to the weight room to work out.Wanna come?" "Can I??" "I'll just let em know you are a supporter of the football team and wanted to watch the workout." Vince turns around and points, "Those are a few of the new recruits. Those are the three recruits from Kailua just come up to campus to see what it's like and start working out". Samson Satele and company. We exchange pleasantries. "This is the man to follow and learn from". "That's why we're following him." Where did those kids learn so quickly?? Those are smart kids, and big too . . . they know that on this team Vincent "NFL" Manuwai is "The Stud", "The Man" . . . we continued to walk to the weight room . . . "What do you think about the field turf Vince? Is the artificial turf that hard?" "It's kinda hard when you fall on it… A couple years back one of our wide receivers messed up his leg running on the Cooke field turf."
Then we were there, the weight room that was personally funded by the late Alec Waterhouse . . . I asked Vince, "Was this here when you first got here?" "The equipment is relatively new" . . . it was a nice facility . . . lots of stuff . . . we walk further to about the center of the weight room where Mel Delaura and company were congregated… they were there, a bunch of Warriors preparing for the fall campaign . . . Houston Ala, Lui Fuga, Gerald Welch, Lance Samuseva, Neal Gossett . . . Joe Correia was there too fresh from the 49ers mini camp . . . "Coach Mel, he's here to watch us work out" . . . "You just sit right here and you'll see everything."
To be continued . . .