Friday, June 10, 2011

Aloha means not seeing bigtime sports in primetime

Most people who travel to Hawaii have jet lag.

I have sports lag.

It always takes me time to adjust to the time zone change – which is usually six hours behind the prime time sporting events we watch when the sun is in prime time on Kauai. You’ve heard of “Breakfast at Wimbledon?” In Hawaii, it would be dubbed “Last Call in Kauai.”

Consider this: ESPN stands for the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network. In Hawaii, ESPN stands for Eventually Sports in Primetime are Neglected.

People in Hawaii are either working or recreating when the big games are on television. There isn’t time to go channel surfing when there’s real surfing at hand. They are more interested in water breaks than breaking news. In other words, they ride waves like Terrelle Pryor rides cars.
I just returned from the Garden Island and it wasn’t a paradise for TV sports fans. For example, on the first full day of vacation, we went snorkeling. By the time we returned to our rented condo at Lae Nani in Kapaa, I had missed most of the Game 1 of the National Hockey League Stanley Cup Final between Vancouver and Boston. Someone spotted my Boston Bruins “Old Time Hockey” T-shirt and remarked about the last-second game-winning goal. I missed it. All I could say was wait ‘til the series gets back to Boston.

Game 2 of the NBA Finals was the next day and I did manage to see some of that. It rained in the afternoon, forcing us inside. Still, all I remember about Game 2 between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks was seeing Dirk Nowitzki’s game-winning shot live as I headed out to the pool when the skies cleared.

I was wishing as hard for the sun to appear as I am for the Heat to be eliminated. I don’t think the eyes of Garden Island are focused on the NBA Final. LeBron James may be the King of sports media world but he’s not the King in Kauai. That honor still belongs to Elvis Presley. He got married to Priscella in the Fern Grotto just up the street from where we were staying. He did more for Kauai’s image than LeBron ever did for Cleveland’s.

We completely missed Game 2 of the NHL Final on Saturday. We spent the day on the west end of Kauai taking the Na Pali Coast tour in a Zodiac boat. We were more interested in dolphins and turtles than Bruins and Canucks and there was no cell phone service where we were on our adventure. Boston lost and we got lost in the splendor of the Garden Island.

Sunday was a day of rest for us, allowing us to keep tabs on Game 3 of the Heat/Mavs series. But I missed the fourth quarter grilling chicken at poolside. Sunsets in Kauai get more attention than upsets on ESPN.

Monday was day the Bruins turned the NHL Stanley Cup Final around. It was a turnaround day for us, too. We paddled up and down the Wailua River in kayaks. We hiked though mud and streams to reach some secret waterfall. The Bruins’ rousing 8-1 win was a secret to us until we got back in time to see the highlights on SportsCenter.

ESPN offers countless, relentless SportsCenter programming each day, but it was the only way we could keep track of the day’s sporting events. ESPN was our GPS for catching up with sports highlights. In Kauai, we are the last to know and that’s the price you pay in paradise as a sports fan.

We plumb forgot about Game 4 of the NBA Finals. We were checking out the Queen’s Bath in Princeville about the time LeBron James was checking out in the fourth quarter in Dallas. Unfortunately, I had a worse day than LeBron as I needed to make an emergency room visit to a local hospital. It seems my heart wasn’t into a strenuous hike as LeBron’s heart wasn’t into Game 4.

We missed Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday, but with good reason. On our last day of vacation at the Marriott Resort Kauai, we managed to go to our room and catch the final three innings of the Yankees-Red Sox game before dinner. It was hotter in New York at night than in Lihue in mid-afternoon but a Red Sox win over the Yankees is always refreshing.

That was the night LeBron tweeted to world at 1:30 a.m. Bristol time that it was now or never for Game 5 of the NBA Final. We missed that. We were having dinner. It was now or never for us, too.


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