In Hawaii the word ‘aloha’ is used as a greeting, as goodbye and to describe the welcoming, warm spirit of these wonderful Pacific Islands.
It’s a word used a lot this last week when talking about Pro Bowl.
Pro Bowl, that pseudo-football-game that this year precedes the Super Bowl was first played in Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium in 1980 and for 30 consecutive seasons with the only recent hiccup in continuity being two years ago when it was played in Miami.
Pro Bowl – the game – kicks off a few hours from now, in Honolulu. Pro Bowl - the festival - began back on Monday when banners went up and the hoopla and players began arriving at their Pro Bowl headquarters hotel, J.W. Marriott’s Ihilani, just footsteps from our place at Ko Olina Marina and Resort, some 30 minutes away from Waikiki.
Aloha surrounds this particular game this year. The players were welcomed with great aloha; there’s been a warm aloha spirit surrounding the various street parties, beach parties, parades, fireworks and charity visits that make up the week preceding the game.
But local media report this could also be aloha, as in goodbye, to the game in Hawaii. The two year contract with the NFL expires this year and rumors are afoot that the game will be moved next year.
Speaking of feet, Hawaii’s Governor has place kicked his into his mouth this week with some of the less-than-aloha comments he’s made about the negotiations. He’s been rushing to get back into aloha formation since being tackled by tourism officials.
Hawaii pays $4 million to the NFL to host the game and state tourism folks report that is generates $28.15 million in spending, of which $3.07 million is taxes paid into the state’s coffers.
Players interviewed by local media all say they want he game to stay in Hawaii. One Seattle Seahawk, Michael Robinson feels so strongly about it, that he flew here on Tuesday to practice, on Wednesday flew to Pennsylvania to speak at Joe Paterno’s funeral and returned to Hawaii Friday (on Mr. Nike, Phil Knight’s jet).
Okay, so I have to mention that five Seattle Seahawks appear on the game’s NFC roster this year – they’ve not been represented in the Pro Bowl for the last two years.
So which way will the trade winds blow for the Pro Bowl? Time will tell. For now, let’s play ball!