Once practice ended Monday, the rest of the day was a gastronomic delight. From Aloha Stadium, the Irish squad bused to the Macy's/NOH Foods lunch at Ala Mona Beach Park where ribs were the order of the day. Then back at the team hotel, the players hit the beach for a casual, mid-afternoon barbeque that saw most of them find their way into the ocean. Then, at 6:00 p.m., came the Moana Surfrider Luau, with pig, poi and mahi-mahi the highlights of the menu. The players all attended wearing their bowl-provided blue aloha shirts. Athletics director Jack Swarbrick volunteered his way to try a traditional hula dance - and defensive lineman Pat Kuntz later did his part, wearing a grass skirt and winning the attention of five hula girls with his dance moves.
One member of the Irish student manager organization had a tough night of it Sunday. Pat Rogers, a junior from Barrington, Ill., suffered an allergic reaction to peanut oil, became violently ill - and spent midnight to 2:00 a.m. at Straub Clinic & Hospital in Honolulu with an IV in his arm. He was back at practice Monday morning.
The Irish squad went through a normal Thursday practice today in shorts at Aloha Stadium. By the middle of the 9:00 a.m. session, it was hot -- with not a cloud in the sky.
Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins, C.S.C., and athletics director Jack Swarbrick both attended practice and made brief remarks to the squad at the start.
Charlie Weis brought along his collection of Bon Jovi and Springsteen tunes and had them played today over the PA system during practice.
Apparently a good time was had by all at the Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park on Sunday, with several linemen taking some interesting spills on several of the water rides. Among those right in the middle of several of the aquatic competitions was athletics director Jack Swarbrick.
In the "small world" department, one member of the Notre Dame party picked up a hand-carved warrior figure at the swap meet outside the stadium. It turns out the younger brother of the wood-carver is fullback Simione Vehikite who recently committed to USC to play football.
Next time you're in Hawai'i, drive a half-hour northeast of Waikiki to the beach town of Kailua (that's where President-elect Barack Obama is staying for the holidays). Rent a kayak for a few hours and enjoy the sights on the scenic public beach. Then stop at Buzz's (right across the road from the beach) and try the ahi (tuna) ceviche appetizer - with the fish soaked in lime and served with mango . . . . Dinner back in Honolulu? Lots of options, but try Kincaid's for the mahi-mahi as well as the baby-back ribs (with sweet potato fries and spicy coleslaw). If you like fresh fish, this is heaven.