Back safe and sound on the mainland — nice to come back to cold, rainy, miserable weather. Word of advice to anyone leaving Hawaii to come back to cold, rainy, miserable weather: wear more than a sleeveless shirt, shorts and sandals to the airport.
Can’t say enough about all that Wimmer Solutions CEO Matt Sauri and his whole group did for the IL crew during our stay. James Schaffer got some amazing pictures and Joe Sweeney got some awesome video.
Look for a nice spread in the January issue that will give you an inside look at the trip, and for a full spate of videos (from Joe as well as Jack Reid, Brett Queener, Anthony Kelly, Colin Doyle and who knows who else got hold of our extra cameras during the long weekend). Hoping to get all those videos up next week, once Joe gets through all the editing (and recovers from celebrating the Phillies’ win).
And while the product on the field was arguably more impressive than the MLL All-Star Game, a large portion of the intrigue of the Hawaii Invitational is the lifestyle and the down time these guys get to enjoy while they’re there. Pretty ridiculous.
As something of a summary of the trip, I figured I’d compile a Top 7 Moments…
Brett Queener in Action
There were many to choose from (including a nice stick swap with Justin Smith, cooked up while at the pool that afternoon, that Queener failed to put on goal), the best was a coast-to-coast run that ended in a backbreaker. Queener flipped his stick over a middie before half-field, caught it and kept going, then spun through three defensemen and scored. Almost as impressive as when he got horizontal and launched himself into the mud pit in the goal after Wimmer Solutions won the Elite title 10-8 on Sunday. (Since I’ll hear about it if I don’t mention it, Smitty scored on a pretty sweet backbreaker as well.)
The Elite Division Final was two 25-minute running-time halves, so there was no wasted time and both teams’ longsticks pushed upfield every chance they got. It led to some turnovers, but it was refreshing watching guys like Brodie Merrill, Eric Martin and Crease Monkey Matt Striebel fly around unfettered. Heaped drama on every possession, and still got 18 combined goals too.
Anthony Kelly on a Scooter
I’m seriously surprised the scooter rental place didn’t see a 6-4, 245-pound gorilla coming and shut the door and turn out the lights. A lot of guys got these since they were so cheap and made it so easy to get around the island. The three hours we spent cruising around Oahu, driving down the coast and through the mountains was absolutely breathtaking. A-Train got some great footage (risking life and limb in the process) of some of their adventures.
Kyle Harrison and Casey Powell were among the many players that gave their equipment to some local kids after the final, and it was kinda like when the Rolexes fall out of the piñatas in Billy Madison. Kids were literally like “For me? Are you sure?” Similar with the Japanese players, who got autographs and pictures taken with the pro guys before and after scrimmaging Wimmer and the Crease Monkeys on Friday.
Great to see Crease Monkeys co-coach John Grant Jr., (along with Tom Ryan) make the trip as well — given that his playing career recently was put on a one-year hiatus.