Local Connection: Eric Weihenmayer

Local Connection: Eric Weihenmayer

By: Rick Blangiardi

Recently, I had the privilege of hearing Eric Weihenmayer deliver an inspirational speech at Hawaii Pacific Health's annual board retreat.

Now Erik is the only blind person in history to climb the tallest peak on every continent, including  Mt. Everest.

Among his many excellent comments and insights he stressed:  "seeing is believing but believing is seeing" and every one of his seemingly miracle ascents to the tallest peaks in the world began with a vision!  He created, believed in, and could see himself achieving despite his blindness which is a good segue to the current fates and fortunes of the University of Hawaii athletic department.

This past week, Ferd Lewis at the Star Advertiser, provided very thought-provoking and insightful articles on the "economic crisis" facing the athletic department.

From continued budget deficits to the precipitous decline in football season ticket sales, anemic conference subsidies, pending player subsidies, the hard-to-believe "double dipping" practice of our football opponents, where they receive high fees from uh to subsidize their travel to play here in Hawaii, but then use the ncaa ruling which allows them to also schedule a 13th game, which in many cases also provides them huge sums of money.

Throw in the worst stadium deal in the country for a division i football program, and a football team predicted to be much improved in all facets of the game, except perhaps in having more wins than losses, and i think even the great spirit of Erik Weihenmayer would feel the enormity and difficulty of this challenge.

In the weeks ahead, we will continue to report on what we hope will be positive progress, but it is pretty clear and east to understand from our perspective, if we want to continue in division I, the uh administration alone, including that of newly installed president David Lassner, cannot do it alone.  Somehow, someway we need to reawaken fan support at the turnstiles, or our future might become the mountain we cannot climb.

The football team opens against the University of Washington on August 30.  Please think about attending this game - the coaches and players deserve our being there for them!

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