Editor’s note: LAS has mentioned the Hawaii Invitational already under the context of Glenn Adams’ nastiness, and now we are lucky enough to present you with a first-hand recap of the entire weekend by another Glenn. This Glenn’s last name is Morley and I met him back in 2001 when I lived in Perth, Australia. After reading his post, just TRY to tell me that Hawai’i doesn’t look and sound like pretty much the best lax event anywhere in the world.
Hawaii 09 by Glenn Morley
2009 was my third trip to the Hawai’i Invitational and each visit brings with it a great bunch of new experiences and memories. For those that have never had the pleasure of hitting up the Aloha state for some laxin it can be summarised in a few key words, Great Lax, Parties, Beaches, Weather and buddies. Before I go any further I have to thank Harry Mazahari, Crease Monkeys founder, for letting me join the roster for the third time.
Playing with the Monkeys is a great experience especially when you have great goalies in Aaron Fenton and Drew Adams behind you, then clear the ball to middies Geoff Snider and Gavin Prout, who then swing the ball to an all-world attack of John Grant Jr, Jeff Zywicki and Zach Greer (to name a few of the stacked 09 Roster).
This year we arrived in Hawaii on the Wednesday morning to adjust to the time zone (aka sit on the beach) following the long 13 hour flight from Perth, and got to spend some time with the boys from Seattle who seemed to be arriving at Lulu’s in 20 minute intervals. As we do every year we holed up in the Waikiki Parkshore which has the perfect combination of location being the closest hotel to the fields, across the road from Waikiki beach, and amenities with Lulu’s being the central party and food venue for the tourney. The views from the rooms aren’t that bad either.
Friday saw the start of the tourney with the Monkeys playing a young Japanese team, who seemed to be in awe of the players in our line-up, the young Japanese guys play hard and move around a lot, and thoroughly enjoy these games even though the score lines generally end up in the 15-0 realm (note HILT plays running 20 min halves until the finals). Highlight of game 1 was the start of SOP hidden ball trick pulled off to perfection with the finish from the half way line.
Friday night saw the opening party at the Irish Rose, also known amongst the attendees as the sweat box. I know I was in Hawaii but that place was hot inside, packed to capacity. A great time was had by all, the highlight of the night was the head of a Japanese destroyer fleet randomly getting up on stage stealing the microphone and taking his shirt off before screaming like a teenage girl at a Jonas brothers concert – am I the only one concerned at the amount of power and weapons this crazy shirtless man has.
Day 2 Saturday of the tourney saw plenty of sore heads (thank you Irish Rose, Lulus et al) and a hike up Diamond Head mountain – what was I thinking it was pure torture but well worth it the views were amazing. In the pic below you can see the fields, the Waikiki strip and our hotel (the closest one to the beach and fields – location, location, location).
We had another 3 games against the Japanese teams if we win through we make the semi tomorrow, once again the same plot line unravelled we held two scoreless and the other snuck in one I think. Even though I have played probably 20 Japanese teams throughout my career I am still amazed by how happy they are after the game.
Every year the final night of the tournament has a Halloween party at Lulus on the Sunday to wrap up the tournament but this year Halloween actually fell on the Saturday, which could end up going a couple of different ways.
- Everybody stays in their room game planning for the semi-finals the next day
- The party peaks on Sat and games are horrible on Sunday
- People take the opportunity to go nuts, and do the double Halloween party sat and sun night, with a little quality lax mixed in between
I think you can guess which way we headed. For those that haven’t experienced Halloween in Hawaii its nuts (granted I am from Australia and little basis for comparison as I have spent all of my US Halloween in Hawaii). This year we decided to hit up the Honolulu Hullaballoo Street Festival. To get there we needed to cab it which meant walking down the Waikiki strip a couple of blocks which is an experience in itself, people lined the streets to watch the various old and young children stroll past, man they go all out on this island.
I don’t think any of us were ready when we got to the street Festival, the place was packed and pumping, they had a $10 cover if you wanted to drink (which you could do in the street) and that covered the 15 bars in the area. They had bands playing and food getting cooked up on every corner, the combination of booze, costumes, food, music and booze (it was that kind of night) led to a sensory overload of Vegas proportions. Luckily we had penguin man, a special Ed kid, 3 naughty pirates, four monks, a doctor, 2 roman soldiers, a one armed drummer, and Bud man in the group – we were ready for anything.
Did I mention the best part of Halloween in Hawaii is the temperature – it was hot! This is great for female costume choices.
After the street festival closed down we rolled back to Waikiki and to HILT Mecca lulus to find the rest of the laxers and do a little midnight swimming – note to self if a sign says beach closed don’t go swimming the cops don’t like it and definitely won’t take a group photo for you on said beach.
Sunday and Finals day of the tourney came way too quickly, but off to lulus we headed for a pulled pork omelette (my third of the trip) delicious.
First up in the semi-finals the Monkeys played a solid “O” Club Squad which Had Chris Rotelli at midfield and Mike Watson in Attack. They jumped us out to a 3-0 lead early on thanks to Rotelli sneaking on going straight to the cage – he is good. After 10 mins we settled into a better rhythm, stopped turning the ball over and tightened up the defence. After that our offense took over and had some sweet goals with a couple of textbook fast breaks going tic-tac-toe to the bottom corner finish.
We finished with a handy 14-6 win (I think little things were getting blurry on the trip by this stage).
Winning through meant a 2 hour rest before we took on a very good Wimmer Solutions Team, who had taken down Team Iceland in the other Semi. Quick shout-out to Team Iceland who are all the buddies from Seattle – it was a great time catching up with you guys again.
Before the final we had a Navy marching band perform for us, as part of the fundraising efforts for Team Jesse, who Wimmer was supporting along with a handful of Navy players on the roster. For those unaware Team Jesse is in memory of SSG Jesse L. Williams a laxer who gave his life in Iraq, we had a few of Jesse’s brothers in arms with us in Hawaii including Kevin Mencio (Mercer Island Lacrosse Coach and master tourney MVP) Check out their facebook group and get behind a great cause.
The final started out a little worse than the semi with the Monkeys taking a while to wake up at one stage we were down 5-0 before we got rolling. The game was tough and after playing so many easy games it is a little hard to get going. Stand outs early for Wimmer were, Colin Doyle and Bill Mcglone who were creating some chances inside and capitalising on broken play to find the net.
After halftime we rallied and got ourselves back in the game. Snider dominated the face-offs and our hard running did the rest, Greg Downing blasted some home. Half time came with the game still in the balance, and the extended half time Hula dance show.
The second half was all monkeys, with Prout, Snider, Downing and Adams’s (there were 2 of them) all contributing and after the a few tense and headed moments the Monkey pulled out the big W.
Highlight of the game (again) the Monkeys hidden ball trick, now I expect this to work against some young and awe-struck Japanese teams, but surely it won’t work against a team of MLL, and NCAA veterans – well it did much to the delight of the solid crowd (although most of us didn’t see it – yes I included myself I was tricked).
After the finals we had the ceremonies and pictures were taken to the beautiful back drop of the setting sun on the ocean and Head in the background. All in all another great tourney all that was left was the party at Lulu’s.
In true Hawaii form everyone backed up for another night with a great costume party, I would love to give you some more details but after about 10:00 things get really blurry, and I am still asking people to fill me in on what happened.
As is always the case we lived up to the Crease Monkeys Motto – Great Friends, Great Times, Great Places and Great Lacrosse.
I can’t wait for next year!
Check out this IL vid for Championship Game highlights.