College Basketball Hall of Famer John Wooden once said, "It is not the inn at the end that counts; it is the journey that truly matters." For a man that was inducted into the Hall of Fame as both an All-American player at Purdue University and as a coach at UCLA - where he led the Bruins to TEN NCAA titles - this is indeed an endearing and important message for all championship winners.
So, as we bask in the glory of the Lahainaluna High School football team's state championship victory last month, we should be further fortified by the iron-clad tradition of integrity that the Luna program provides to contribute to the steadfast character of our community. The self-sacrifice, the work ethic, the deep respect and unity that has been forged into the steel that is the "process," becomes the essence of West Side character.
It is not confined to the 2016 season; rather it dates back decades to the tenures of Lahainaluna coaches Paul Hogendon, Norman Oda, Henry "Bruno" Ariyoshi, Lanny Tihada, Mike Arakawa, Bobby Watson and Garret Tihada.
It dates back to the hard-scrabble days at the upper campus field and at the "concrete" lopsided turf that was the "surface" at the current site - and always at the mercy of the Lahaina sun. Today, it is the state-of- the-art facility brought to us through the generosity of our living angel, Sue D. Cooley.
The tradition has been set. The Red Tide will rise exponentially to enrich the integrity and virtue in "fighting the good fight." Fathers become the coaches, sons are the players and then they multiply to pay forward the indomitable team ethics and spirit of Lahainaluna football. Our community and the world at large become a better place to be. We are the champions!