April 5, 2004
I know I'm late updating my column, but what better way to get us through the waning weeks of winter weather (in April?) than a flash back to a tropical paradise and the 2003 Hawaiian Invitational Lacrosse Tournament!
I got a call from Harry at 4:30 am EST from the Honolulu airport. For some reason I hadn't gone to bed yet and was making mixed CD's for the trip that would start in a little over an hour. Harry and a group of 14 had just gotten back from a ten-day trip to New Zealand and were eagerly awaiting our arrival later that day. I was originally slated to travel with them, but due to responsibilities as the new assistant women's coach at Towson University I was unable to attend. Anyhow I settled some last minute issues, finished my CD's and crashed for an hour before being picked up by my neighbors Stas Kotula and Mark Brier for a ride to BWI.
When we got to the airport I curled up and continued my nap. The Baltimore/Washington contingent rendezvoused at the Minneapolis/St Paul airport with Crease Monkeys from all over the US and Canada for the straight shot into Honolulu. Even though you have about an eight or nine hour flight, everyone is so psyched to be on a week-long adventure that it goes by quick. We had quite a few "rookies" on this trip including NCAA Division 3 player of the year Josh Bergey. What a treat. I have known Josh for a few years, but have never really spent any "quality time" with him before. We are not fifteen minutes into the flight when he buys a round of headsets for everyone to watch the movies. A very thoughtful gesture, it's just that everyone had their own so he was stuck with like five extra pair of airline headphones.
Next he starts a tab with the attendant. I have flown as much as the next guy and I can't remember anyone ever opening a tab on a plane. Live and learn I guess. Despite the enthusiasm, everyone was well behaved. Even Jon Brothers made it through a flight without donning his Spiderman costume. I was tightly sandwiched between Stas and Brier my travel partners and tried to be as productive as I could during the flight. I purchased a Pilates instructional kit the day before and studied some of the moves and listened to my CD's.
This year we were back at the Ohana Waikiki Village conveniently located between Kelly O'Neill's and the beach. We pulled into the hotel at 5pm and had a couple hours to kill before our nightly team meeting at the Karaoke lounge in the hotel lobby.
I was so psyched to be in Hawaii. Of all the vacations I take, I felt like this one was truly deserved. Highlights from the first two days consisted of breakfast at Denny's after sleeping in. I would spend a couple hours each day doing office work in my hotel room before trying to teach myself Yoga. I don't even think I made it to the beach for the first couple days. I was content lounging at the hotel trying to refill the old fuel tanks.
Thursday night Jay Bloom invited us to his swanky Hawaiian villa. Jay is a Crease Monkey Veteran that lives year round on Oahu just 15 or 20 minutes from Wikiki. His place was designed for cocktail parties. With a front yard pool and patio area fully equipped with an outdoor bar, and a second floor veranda overlooking the ocean and scenic Diamond Head Crater in the distance, let's just put it this way… It was a good day to be a Monkey. We started out by walking across the street to some cliffs that overlooked the bay. It was truly awesome and the slight breeze seemed to blow away all cares and anxieties. When we got back the party started to pick up. I propped myself up at the bar to socialize, while Josh Bergey held court with his guitar around the corner. I have taken up percussions in the last year and was finally egged on to joining the musical circle. With the Hawaiian Sparky on guitar (not to be confused with Sparky Burns) and yours truly on the steel pot with egg beater and spoon in hand, we gave Jack Johnson a run for his money.
On Friday a group went to the North Shore to go skydiving and cliff jumping. I opted to sleep in and meet up with everyone at the fields for a brief scrimmage against our buddy Yosuke Yamada's Japanese University team. We had a pretty good turnout for this optional scrimmage and even the sky diving group made it back before halftime. Despite significantly out-manning the opposition, the game ended somewhere near a tie.
We headed back to the hotel and I set to work on my Halloween costume. I was planning on being Chief Red Bull. A mythological Indian Chief fueled by the mystical powers of the Red Bull energy drink. I had a few props and a case of Red Bull and set to work on putting it all together. Darah Ross and I had collected a few feathers from around Jay Bloom's house the day before, and I had brought a leather vest, a woven leather belt sort of thing I planned on using for a headband, a choker, and a couple yards of fake suede looking fabric. I wanted to make some sort of jewelry or prop out of a Red Bull can and still needed to whip up something to wear on my lower half. I envisioned some sort of loincloth and was equipped with a needle and thread.
So with about an hour to work with I set out in Waikiki to look for a pair of flesh colored undies to wear under the loincloth. My search came up empty and with only a half hour left I went back to my room to see what I could whip up. I originally had delusions of sewing, but decided to just cut a rectangular piece of fabric and tie it around my waist to save some time. I tried to think of a way to incorporate the Red Bull can but without any real tools I couldn't come up with anything. I cut out a smaller piece of fabric and rolled all my valuables in it and tied it to my ankle. It was one of those things where I knew it was a bad idea and that I would most likely end up loosing something valuable. However, I think I was a little distracted about my decision to go commando, and visions of some sort mishap in that department replaced the ones of money falling out.
So off I went to Darah and Sue K's room for some war paint. Sue was pissed because she was planning on being big bird but was unable to find the appropriate props in Waikiki. Instead she was able to whip up a pretty solid angel ensemble. Despite being disappointed with her costume, Darah quite accurately represented the lead dancer, Alex, from the movie Flashdance.
Sue painted my face and it was time to face the world. I have to admit that as I stepped into the hallway I was feeling a insecure and naked. However, what I encountered put me right at ease. It was Josh Sims and Trevor Tierney dressed as Ace and Gary the Ambiguously Gay Duo from the TV Funhouse cartoon on Saturday Night Live. Their costumes were amazing. They had baby blue long underwear with yellow "manties" over the top that said "hottie" on the front. They had big yellow fireman's boots on their feet and the distinguishable G and A on their chest. Jeff Sonke had gone against recommendations of being Clark Kent and opted to be a hula dancer. Standing along with these guys made me feel much more comfortable. For whenever we walked around whether it was down the mobbed main street in Waikiki or at the Bayou Burning Halloween Party in Honolulu, whenever Ace and Gary strutted by, people would stop and stare and laugh at how awesome they were.
We had been warned to buy tickets ahead of time for the party, and it was a good thing because when we arrived there was a line out the door and around the corner with people who didn't have tickets and whom I don't think ever got in. The party was in a converted Art Studio with one room set aside for the band and another room with a DJ.
The whole keeping my valuable wrapped around my ankle thing was kind of a pain in the arse since every time I wanted a drink I had to fish out money and stuff, so I kept a few dollars hanging out of my kilt…hence the transformation from Chief Red Bull to a Native American stripper. Not that I was taking off any clothes or anything, but when people saw dollar bills hanging out of my waistband, they thought it was part of my costume. Anyhow, when everyone started dancing it got quite Hot in Therre if you know what I mean and those people whose costumes left them half naked like myself were pretty psyched. On the other hand you had people like John Chescavage dressed as a pimp in full jacket, pants, boa and hat and John Strohsacker as Scooby Doo who probably lost ten pounds in sweat alone just mingling. They made you sweat just looking at them.
Between sets a DJ spun tunes as Ace and Gary jumped up one stage to get their groove on. Their outrageously confident persona would have made any superhero proud, and left me in stitches on the dance floor.
The main attraction was one of my favorite bands the Rebirth Brass band. Straight from New Orleans, this group has been around for twenty years and has a regularly changing line up but consistently crank out some of the most energetic dance music on the planet. The ten or so members consist of "marching band" instruments and feature the trumpet, Tuba and other mind blowing brass instruments along with various drummers. They typically end their show by walking off the stage during the last song playing as they walk through the crowd and straight out the door.
I caught a ride back to Waikiki with a captivating local Tinker Bell and her Bumble Bee sidekick in search of another dance club. Waikiki's beautiful beach is contrasted by a seedy element late night, which is in part fueled by the large number of servicemen stationed on the island. We ended up at one such club that Tinkerbell worked at. I wasn't really feeling the vibe there so I decided to cut my losses and head home. I hit the local ABC store for some water and ran in to Popeye a.k.a. Kevin Finneran. We walked home together and hit the hey since we had a game in the morning at 10am.
The games on Saturday went well. We beat Tokai from Japan 14 - 0. I gave Josh Bergey a hard time later about padding his stats against the University squad, but he can definitely dominate when he wants to. Our second and final game of the day was against Barbary Coast. Now the BC roster contained many of our Monkey brethren who live in California, and despite having a roster of 16 or 17 they were a very dangerous group. Not only were they talented but the friendship factor between us and them often creates an added incentive. We actually fell behind early and were tied at half time. The games are only 25 minute running halves until the finals, so falling behind early can sometimes be the death of you. Our firepower was awesome, but when you have a roster of almost 30 it can be tough for anyone to get in the flow enough to make a difference. Especially when you are shooting on Billy Hunter and Alex Cade. Despite our precarious situation, we emerged victorious 7-5. So it was off to the Outrigger Canoe Races.
The Outrigger Races is a highlight for many. I have been a participant the past 3 years and captained the monkey vessel to defeat the past 2, so I thought it time to pass on the reigns. The decision to participate is tough, because you are already tired out from playing, and you know the race is going to be fatiguing, but when all is said and done you are always glad you did it. Well this year I was happy to enjoy the scene vicariously through Sonke, Sims, Streibel, Tierney, and Steele.
It's hilarious to see competitive people race in something that they have no experience with. Our oarsmen set out with enough confidence to bluff Chris Moneymaker in a hand of Texas Hold'em only to return with a story of being bumped out of the lead at the turn by another boat. They were pretty upset and thought the competition was over until they were called back into the finals because of their 2nd place finish.
Ed FAy, Mike Howley and Neil Doddridge
We couldn't find Spencer Steele, so Eddy Fay subbed in. Determined to make up for their first round failure they set out to bring home the title. Once again to return with a very similar story of being knocked out of contention at the turn. Well I guess what they say is true even in Hawaii… "rubbin's racin."
I debated what to do next. Some people were going to Duke's others to get food. We had an hour and a half before meeting in the lobby at our usual time to go to the Hard Rock Café for the nightly revelry. I decided to lay down for a few minutes and woke for a split second when it was time to go down stairs. I couldn't get out of bed so I returned to my slumber to wake up at 11:30pm. Now I do not usually like to miss events such as this, but I rationalized that it probably would be the weakest of the parties and it turned out I was right. I ordered a pie from Dominoes and watched Saturday Night Live before going back to sleep.
I awoke Sunday morning and after a quick Red Bull I was ready to meet the day, and Michelob in the Semifinals. Michelob was pretty stacked in their own right, and jumped out to an early lead. It was somewhere near the end of the first half that marked the congealment of our team as we finally found our groove and rolled to the tune of a 15 - 5 final.
We had a couple hours off so I guest coached the NYAC/Crease Monkettes semifinal game versus Stuey out of Washington State. Some of NYAC's players had gone to New Zealand before Hawaii and their fatigue became apparent down the stretch losing by a goal.
The Crease Monkey Masters Team beat the Long Island Jesters to capture the first ever Master's Division Title. The Brothers Kim controlled the tempo on offense, and it was Mike Ryan who made a last minute strip at the midfield to get the ball back and set up T Marc Jones who sent the game into overtime. Cort Kim dunked one on the doorstep in OT to bring home the hardware for the Old Crease Monkeys.
The Long Island Jester's Elite squad upset perennial powerhouse Marin in the Semis and opened up against us with both guns blazing. Jimmy Mormile led the Jesters offensively who once again jumped out on us in the first half. But the star-studded monkey roster came through when it counted helping to solidify our third championship in four years with an 8 - 6 final. Mike Howley was crowned tournament MVP with his flawless performance on D.
We hurried back to the hotel and headed over to Duke's in Waikiki to enjoy live music on the patio and the picturesque view of the sun sinking into the ocean. On Sunday night we hold our own award ceremony where everyone receives a hula bobble head trophy for taking part in another great monkey adventure. This year "Padding the Stats" award went to Josh Bergey for scoring 6 goals against the Japanese U 19 team. Mike Law was a close second for recording 4 ground balls and a goal on just a single play. Josh Sims was our Rookie of the Year for his mostly off but also on the field heroics. He raised the bar during karaoke, shocked the crowds along side Trevor on Halloween, and despite claiming that he would trade the tournament trophy for the Outrigger title, he dominated the midfield.
The first annual lifetime achievement award was presented to Kevin Finneran. Finn is one of the original Crease Monkeys and has gone on excursions from Chicago to Australia and from England to Ireland and yet he had never won a major tournament as a Monkey. It had gotten so bad that a slogan started circulating "No Finn…We Win." Well, Kevin finally got the monkey off his back so to speak and quite deservingly was recognized for all that he has done for the Crease Monkey organization. Finn now has the Hawaii Title to add to his 8 World Championships.
The following were additional awards handed out:
We set Harry up to sing "Do You Think I am Sexy" by Rod Stewart to wrap up the ceremony. Last year's spoken word rendition left the crowd with wet undies from laughing so hard. This summer we got some practice singing during nights at Crease Monkey Lacrosse Camp, hence qualifying Harry for Most Improved. We had a few last performers before we headed out for the night. I did my go to…"Good Hearted Woman" by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. I have it down so tight that I could do it in my sleep, and sometimes I do.
Mike Howley with his MVP award (in his hands)
We loaded up the troops and cruised over to Compadres, a Mexican Restaurant turned party place for the tournament ragers. Sunday night is always like the sprint at the end of a race. Despite being fatigued, you dig down deep and give everything you've got crossing the finish line with double number ones raised in the air. The live music by Bud Cerio and the Now is a perfect style of jam music that you can dance to. It didn't take me long to get up and shake my moneymaker. John, the manager of Compadres and member of the Island squad filled the tournament Champions Cup with the biggest margarita I have ever taken part in. It put the hubcaps at Nacho Mama's in Baltimore to shame.
The dancing scene continued to evolve and I found myself in the midst of quite a spectacle. I was in a dance circle with two girls from the tournament and 3 Japanese kids. It was straight out of Sixteen Candles. The guys were so excited to be dancing with American girls that they were bursting at the seams with excitement. They danced like Chris Katan and Will Farrell in their Saturday Night Live club skit, all in your face and off beat. It was quite entertaining and luckily the girls appreciated their enthusiasm. They would break out their cameras and snap off pictures about every minute or so. Obviously having the time of their lives. I had about all I could take so I opted to step out side for a bit to cool off and socialize. It was nice on the deck and I ended up staying so long that I missed the guest appearances by Crease Monkey Hall of Famer Blair Allison singing Mustang Sally.
The final night wouldn't be complete without a nightcap at Kelly O'Neill's. If they didn't kick us out at 3 we probably could have stayed for hours. With everyone still raring to go, we walked back to our hotel and the group split up. Some went to the beach for an adult swim, while I opted for late night music by Josh Bergey. I had only caught a slice of his set at Jay Bloom's house a couple nights before. Definitely different, kind of a John Valby (a.k.a. Dr Dirty) meets Blink 182. These rather explicit original tunes tended to revolve thematically around an ex-girlfriend that cheated on him. I am pretty sure they were not based on actual events, but you never know. Aaimee Cains chipped in with an impromptu song that quite possibly was his first ever. Although he was hilarious, I don't think he will be quitting his day job.
If there is one thing that I am good at it is pulling the plug when I get tired, so as nonconspicuously as possible I got up and walked out the door and went back to my room. I pulled it off, but not without being noticed. I got a phone call on the elevator ride asking "did you just leave?" The attempts to get me back were futile…my night and this year's great Pacific adventure was over.
Memorable Quotes from Hawaii:
"It's better to look good than to feel good." Dr Blair Allison
"I would rather eat cheese for a week than see the Yankees win." Groovy Gorilla
"There ain't no dot Canada." Isabelle
"That thing that goes down here…" Hugo on elevators
"And at the end of every sentence I say aye." Aime Caines song lyric
"You've got the world by the balls." Travis
"Yeah and I am using both hands." Katie
***Thank you to Monkette Gazette founder and chief editor Darah Ross for her contributions to the new "Memorable Quotes" section.
Check back soon for TR's New Column Format
Jeff Sonke and Weezie
Ed Fay, Tom and Darrah Ross
TR and Harry
Trevor Teirney and Josh Sims
Jay Bloom with Lauren and Robin
Mike Law and Chad Whittman
THE DELIVERY BOY
The TR movie "The Delivery Boy" can be seen in short episodes right here on E-Lacrosse!
Michael Howley on D
Sue K., Hugo and Charlene
Kevin Finneran with his lifetime achievement award
TR and Weezie
The fearless Heather Bentley
Sue K. and TR
Sue K., Shinya, Tetsuhiro and Yoshi
Wanna hear a little Willie Nelson?
Josh Bergey entertains