Friday, February 22, 2013

The University of Hawai'i Rainbows

New University of Hawaii athletic director Ben Jay has decided that, beginning in June, the men's athletic teams will be called Warriors. The women's teams will be Rainbow Wahine.

Personally, I'm a little miffed. The Rainbow nickname goes back 90 years. That's a long time. Let's look at how we came by that nickname and what the teams were called before that.

On Jan. 1, 1923, Oregon State University traveled to Hawaii for a game at Moiliili Field. Late in the fourth quarter, the score was tied 0-0 when a rainbow appeared over the grounds. UH soon scored, and the sports writers began calling the team the "Rainbows." Fans believed we would win if a rainbow appeared.

Other UH teams have had similar experiences. Maui Diver's Cole Slater recalls a sailing race 15 years ago on a lake in Santa Barbara. "The UH women's team had gotten off to a slow start in some stormy weather and were not doing as well as usual.

"In the last leg of the race, the bad weather began to clear and a rainbow spanned the course. The winds shifted, which gave a huge advantage to the UH team, and they won the race."

Assistant UH sailing coach Jesse Andrews also remembers several instances where UH victories were associated with rainbows.

In recent years some teams have used Rainbows, others Warriors and some a combination of the two.
KHON2 newscaster Joe Moore was not happy when football coach June Jones dropped Rainbows in 2000.

"Since former coach June Jones took it upon himself to drop ‘Rainbow' from the name Rainbow Warriors, I have not liked the change. When I expressed my opinion on the air, Jones phoned me and said he couldn't recruit the quality players he needed if they were called Rainbows.

"When I asked why, he said, ‘Because they don't think it's manly or tough enough.'

"When I asked if he didn't consider it part of his job to enlighten his recruits about the uniqueness and significance of the rainbow in the school's history and Hawaiian culture, he said, ‘Good luck with that.'

"As a UH fan since high school," Moore continues, "they'll always be the 'Bows, no matter what one coach or athletic director has proclaimed is the official name."

***

[5/15/13] Ben Jay decides to keep the Rainbow after all.

[6/6/13] How about a Rainbow field?

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