Hawaii is an easy target.
In part, it’s because the residents are generally nice people who let things slide. In part, when things go wrong, everybody knows. (Latest example: A zipper lane that didn’t zip.)
Aloha Stadium has been bashed since the first engineer said it would rust to a point, then stop. Lawmakers debate whether to keep paying for repairs, build a new one or sell it for scrap metal. Well, at least the rust-to-a-point pieces. According to a recent list circulating on social media, Aloha Stadium is the 20th-worst sporting venue. The article is accompanied by a picture with a port-a-potty in the foreground. Two things wrong: 1) It appears the Miami-based writer has never actually been to the stadium and, 2) the stadium has indoor plumbing. (For that matter, we don’t live in grass shacks nor dive for tourists’ quarters.)
Sure, Aloha Stadium is old and creaky — sort of like the blog host.
But every seat has a good view. It’s wheelchair accessible. The field is in great shape. The scoreboard is wonderful. The menu is one of the best in the nation for a college football game. Parking is inexpensive. There’s even some sort of Hall of Fame exhibit on the ground level.
I’ve seen some impressive things in the stadium: Ronnie Bond’s 217 rushing yards, Farrington sorta-sorta stopping Kaiser quarterback Scott Chan on the 1 four times, graduations, motocross races, monster trucks, Robbie Knievel knocked silly on a motorcycle jump and then sticking the jump the next night, a boxing match, and, even, a Stevie Wonder concert.
To be sure, the stadium has a lot of problems. Trough urinals? They should come with Sea Life Park-like splash-zone warnings. The walkway between the end zone and sideline sections needs to be less bumpy. (Several years ago, a coach had a panic attack walking the bouncing path for the first time.)
But I’ve been in the Cotton Bowl and the L.A. Coliseum when both were empty, and they’re not pretty sights. Aloha Stadium, at least, looks presentable without makeup.
Aloha Stadium is far from perfect. But it is functional. Think about that the next time you’re stuck on the H-1 for three hours.