Wilson’s passing reminds us of what’s important

Sometimes it takes a true tragedy to remind us what is important in life, and that it isn’t wins and losses on a playing field.

University of Hawaii running back Willis Wilson apparently drowned this morning at Sandy Beach and will be remembered at tonight’s game with a moment of silence.

I got to talk with Willis last summer after a practice in which the walk-on transfer from Washington carried most of the load at his position due to injuries to those ahead of him on the depth chart. He was engaging, articulate, intelligent and down to earth. I sensed he was one of that kind of people I really like, serious about what he’s doing but not so much about himself.

I liked that he transferred to Hawaii because his dad played at UH, he has family here, and he is part Polynesian.

I found myself rooting for him, even though I knew it was unlikely he’d get much serious playing time.

I got the feeling he would be the type of person who would represent his family, team, college and community extremely well, long after his time as a member of the UH football team.

It never makes sense when a young life is taken. UH will conclude its season tonight against Army with a collective heavy heart.

But as he inspired us during his life with his energy and passion for the game, Willis Wilson also left us with a gift. The gift of perspective.


  1. Warrior Dave November 30, 2013 1:14 pm

    What a tragedy whenever someone so young is taken away. He may not have been a starter but he will always be a UH Rainbow Warrior.

    Condolences to his parents, family and all that knew him well.

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