#BackToBack Champs! #HawaiiMVB gave us a WINNING tour
Wow! That just happened. UH Men's Volleyball claimed another national title, and we were there to witness it! Those are the "lifelong memories" we like to talk about so often at Hawaii Sports Fans. Those moments that only happen once in your life. I'm so happy for our entire group who made the choice to experience all of this.
Speaking of our group, I miss them! It's been a few days now since they've departed LA, but their residual spirit, joy, and excitement remain. Every single day was an adventure, and I miss it so much!
I'll do my best to recap:
Tuesday, 5/3/22: Our first day! The group was already chatting it up in the lobby of our Fairfield Inn & Suites in El Segundo, convenient to LAX and a bunch of eateries and stores just walking distance. We celebrated Taco Tuesday, arriving to Parking Lot 8 on the UCLA campus. On the top level overlooking the Bruin practice football fields, we enjoyed authentic LA carne asada and carnitas tacos, as well as a selection of snacks, beer, wine and much more. It was a jubilant bunch right off the bat, excited to see the 'Bows spank North Greenville, which they did later that night. Some went into Pauley early to see the host school UCLA beat Pepperdine from our reserved seats right behind the UH bench. After the UH match, our group went down to the court to take pictures and talk story with some of the players. A really cool fan experience to be up close with these amazing 'Bows.
Wednesday, 5/4/22: May the Fourth was certainly with us as we took Dodger stadium by storm, seated amongst the most faithful in the Left Pavilion. That's when I, Wayne, put on the server hat,, as we began the "Taste of Dodger Stadium", starting with Burnt End Nachos for all to try. We then moved on to the legendary Dodger Dog and popcorn before it was time for what might have been everyone's favorite-- the brisket sandwich. Very flavorful and balanced. We moved onto CPK pizza, sausage and ham pizza and right into something very specific to the park-- applewood smoked elote (corn) just like on the rugged streets of this glorious city. While we watched the Dodgers pour on the home runs and Giants fans getting razzed like they probably haven't been before, we washed down our smorgasbord with margaritas and draft beer. For many in the group, it was their first time at Dodger Stadium. I can't think of a better first-time experience, especially when they got to try so many different dishes, and - even better - never even have to leave their seat or stand in any of the long lines. That's the VIP #FanExperience.
Thursday, 5/5/22: It was a wild Cinco de Mayo, but maybe not in the traditional sense. #HawaiiMVB kept us up late - and on our toes - going five with Ball State and making us lose our voices til final serve around 11 pm at night. What a ride! Especially after Long Beach reverse-swept UCLA in five the match before, the UH game kept the energy in Pauley going, giving us all the drama we could ask for in what was one of the most epic pairs of National Seminfinals in tournament history. But first, we had an In N' Out tailgate - yes, those delicious burgers and fries! - to go along with our traditional tailgate items. We also added three more join our group, taking our total to 11. Even more special was celebrating one of our group member's (Dana) birthdays. Word is she is still raving about one birthday she'll never forget. Getting hugs - and maybe even honi on the cheek - from her favorite athletes. She made sure all her friends and family saw just how much fun she was having later that night. So happy for her!
Friday, 5/6/22: We headed down to Orange County to see the Greatest SHO, Ohtani-san, and the Angels host the Nationals. We got there just as the parking lot opened, getting a nice tailgate spot to bring out our goodies and get to "feeling good" before we entered the stadium. I was excited to bring my group back again to one of the ballparks I frequent the most every year, one very special to me. And one with some pretty good eats too. Especially, Cathy's Cookies. We paired those steaming, fresh-out-of-the-oven delicacies with a froyo helmet sundae, to enjoy and remember your night at the park. Can you tell Dessert is my favorite? I planned a pretty good savory fare as well, starting the group off with the Nashville buttermilk chicken sandwich, which got high marks. We then moved into the Dutch Style Potatoes covered in Pulled Pork and, of course, the Angel Dog. One of the premium eats was the santa maria seasoned tri-tip, which I watched getting sliced right in front of me. And how can I forget...Angels win! The halo of the Big A was lit up, and we got to admire it with Disney fireworks going off in the background. Hardly a better way to end the evening in this neck of SoCal.
Saturday, 5/7/22: The end of the tour was already here...so fast! And we had many friends fly in for the title match and join us for our local style BBQ tailgate featuring kalua pig, island fried chicken, korean beef, Portuguese sausage fried rice, Chinese chicken salad and an assortment of Japanese pastries from Tokyo Central. Suffice to say our stomachs were satisfied entering Pauley one last time. Our souls were filled too that night --How SWEEP it is! The 'Bows took down Long Beach in three, and we got to celebrate with the players and the trophies after the game---what an awesome experience!
Once the dust settles on a tour, I am usually relieved - and exhausted - and I was feeling that way once again, indeed, but more so, I felt an almost melancholy that the tour was over. It made me realize once again how much I love doing this and how much joy these tours can bring, not to mention cherished memories that will last a lifetime.
You can check out ALL the photos here.
A big shoutout to my group of aunties, uncles, cousins, sistahs, braddahs and just all-around KEIKI, who just like any other curious child, goes out and does the things that their hearts and souls want to do.
That's what doing these tours is for me. That's my fountain of youth.
And I can't wait to bring you to its vibrant waters again.