Island Bound
by Chris Stansbury

The Pirates are getting ready to spend a chunk of the holiday season in Hawai'i. It's a rough life, but hey, someone has to go, right?  Granted, playing in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl is really only good news for the ECU football players, coaches and staff that will make the trip, as well as about a hundred Pirate faithful capable of making the costly trip to the islands.
How costly is it, by the way?  For two people to spend four days (which is short for a 13-15 hour flight each way) and hotel stay is going to cost you in the neighborhood of $4,000-$5,000 depending on your luxury demands for travel/hotel.  Of course, you will want to eat and have fun on the trip, right?  You're looking at about $6,000 per couple to have a nice four-day weekend at a bowl game with the Pirates. 

However, this ought to be a fantastic trip, perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime trip, for the ECU players and maybe even some of the coaches.  Unlike the occasional bowl party and parade that are associated with bowl week, the events for the Hawai'i Bowl will be unreal. 

Outside of the daily practice and periodic media requirements, the Pirate players will participate in a pep rally.  Ho-hum, right?  Guess again.  It's a barefoot pep rally on Waikiki Beach at sunset.  And that's on day two.

The next day will be one no young man on this trip will forget, beginning with a tour of Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial.  Sixty-six years and twelve days after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared December 7, 1941 was a date that will live in infamy, these kids will get to see first-hand the site of one of the most horrific attacks in US history.  Of the more than 2,300 people who died, nearly 1,200 were on the USS Arizona when it was sunk in the harbor.

From there, it's at least three more beachside barbeques, parties and banquets.  Throw in a shopping excursion, trip to a water park, some moped rides around the island and a visit to the Shriner's Hospital, and it will be a full week. 

Of course, at the end of this incredible week, there will be a 10-2 Boise State team that was one win away, on this same island, from playing in a second straight BCS bowl game.  The Broncos ticked off a lot of their fans by choosing to go island hopping, too.  They could have gone to the Humanitarian Bowl in their home stadium against an ACC team. 

Hmmm... at home on New Year's Eve, possibly in the snow, against Georgia Tech or a week on the beach in Hawai'i?  "Give me 'Obvious Answers' for $200, Alex."  After all, they have played in the Humanitarian Bowl in two of the last three years. 

This will be a great trip for the ECU players, even if they are 4,864 miles from home, we may lose money as a university and we're playing a top-25 team that threw for nearly 3,500 yards and 32 TD's. Do I sound sour? Did I mention four parties on Waikiki beach? 

Maybe I am a little jealous because I am not island bound for Christmas.  Bah Humbug!
Chris Stansbury