An Interview with Dave Reardon
“First I thought taking any assignment and not going away would work. Then I went to Gainesville and wrote a couple of sidebars at SEC games instead of WAC games and all of a sudden I was worldly.”
“UH football is the biggest news story going right now in the state, bar none, and even before this year it’s been the biggest deal in local sports by far for three decades. Two of the most persistent reporters in the state – sports or whatever – cover UH football for our main competitor. Some days I feel like a pinata, every now and then I’m the kid with the stick and I connect.”
“When we were at Alabama last year, I thought it was pretty funny during pre-game that the ‘Bama fans and players were getting pumped up by a song, Sweet Home Alabama, written by guys from Jacksonville, Fla., while the Hawaii contingent did the same with a dance from New Zealand. By the way, ‘Sweet Home’ is used in Kentucky Fried Chicken commercials, too. Go figure.”
Dave Reardon: Interviewed on December 5, 2007
Position: University of Hawaii football beat writer, Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Birth: 1961, Honolulu
Education: Northwestern University 1979-81, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1981-84. “Double-majored in journalism and slow-pitch softball knew Michael Wilbon when he had hair and covered intramurals.”
Career: Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 1976 paperboy); copyboy and stringer, Star-Bulletin, 81-87 (copyboy and stringer); Honolulu Advertiser, 87-89; magazine editor and freelance writer 90-97, Gainesville Sun, 98-2000; Star-Bulletin 2001- (preps, UH basketball, UH football)
Favorite restaurant (home): Alan Wong’s Honolulu, “Hawaiian regional”; Antipasto’s Honolulu “good Italian”, “any Vietnamese noodle shop – great ice coffee”
Favorite restaurant (road): Denny’s, “because it’s like Jason Rivers – always open.”
Favorite hotel: Silver Legacy Casino and Resort, Reno, “until I realized the free upgrade to a suite was a ploy to make me think it was my ‘lucky day.’”
Dave Reardon, excerpted from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 16, 2007:
LAS VEGAS » After a week in which the haka got its fair share of publicity nationwide — due in part to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty prior to the Louisiana Tech matchup — last night’s performance before the non-conference game with Nevada-Las Vegas went smoothly.
In fact, the Warriors unveiled their revision of the haka to the delight of the thousands of Hawaii fans jammed into Sam Boyd Stadium. The new chant/dance is Hawaiian as opposed to the original UH haka, which is Maori.
“For us, I think it’s a lot more fitting,” senior defensive end Karl Noa said. “There’s been a lot of controversy with the old one. This gives us an identity for this year. It’s special because it’s made by guys on the team”
Last week, UH received a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for doing the haka while LaTech was still on the field warming up. No penalty was assessed last night. Most of the UNLV players were off the field.
Head coach June Jones said last week that he wants the haka to be a positive for the program, not something controversial
Q. Are you working in paradise or does it just seem that way to mainland journalists?
A. The Warriors made me work hard this year: two overtime games and two victories in the final seconds of regulation. I need them to schedule six or seven I-AAs instead of just two so I can make deadline more often.
Q. How did you get your job?
First I thought taking any assignment and not going away would work. Then I went to Gainesville and wrote a couple of sidebars at SEC games instead of WAC games and all of a sudden I was worldly.
Actually, I got my current job because everyone thought the paper was going to shut down in 2000, severely thinning the applicant pool and I was crazy enough to jump on a sinking ship. Then the guy covering UH football became sports editor and I was given the beat by default.
Also, I bartended to make ends meet while freelancing, and served in an anti-tank gun platoon in the Army reserve while in college. Thank goodness the Cold War didn’t get hot.
Q. How would you describe football weather in Honolulu?
A. Make sure you bring rain gear. Really.
Q. How competitive is your beat?
A. UH football is the biggest news story going right now in the state, bar none, and even before this year it’s been the biggest deal in local sports by far for three decades. Two of the most persistent reporters in the state – sports or whatever – cover UH football for our main competitor. Some days I feel like a pinata, every now and then I’m the kid with the stick and I connect.
Q. Should Hawaii be in the BCS championship game?
A. No, unless it plays the only other undefeated team I can think of, the New England Patriots.
Q. How are you handicapping Hawaii-Georgia?
A. I’ll be handicapping myself on Bourbon Street. The game itself will come down to Moreno and Brennan and if either defense can stop them.
Q. Who and what do you read in sports journalism?
A. Does Krakauer count as sports? Lots of blogs, good columns, anything without a cliche in the lead. Scott Ostler (SF Chronicle) was my favorite before he got too serious. Now it’s homeboy Mike Wise (Washington Post) – I covered him when he was all-district high school hoopster on Oahu. I’ll be reading the AJC and the Athens paper a lot in the coming weeks.
Q. Your opinion of sword dancing and Haka war chants at Warriors games?
A. OK, stay with me here: When we were at Alabama last year, I thought it was pretty funny during pre-game that the ‘Bama fans and players were getting pumped up by a song, Sweet Home Alabama, written by guys from Jacksonville, Fla., while the Hawaii contingent did the same with a dance from New Zealand. By the way, ‘Sweet Home’ is used in Kentucky Fried Chicken commercials, too. Go figure.
Q. What would it take to get you to change places with the guy who covers University of Alaska football?
A. For starters, six months paid vacation … and a time-share here.
Dave Reardon, excerpted from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 29, 2006:
The haka is on hold for now.
The Hawaii football team has been practicing the Maori war dance every day after practice leading up to Saturday’s season-opening game at Alabama.
But senior center Sam Satele, who was named team captain yesterday, said the Warriors won’t perform the haka before the game at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, for practical reasons.
“Right now, we’re not going to do it in Alabama. It’s going to be very hot for us to do it,” Satele said. “The haka is only for home games. If we do it there everybody’s going to start yelling. And 93 thousand? Over our 60 guys that’s going to be there? They’re going to be louder.”
Not all haka are related to war, but Maori warriors did use the movements, chants and gestures to psyche up and try to intimidate enemies before battles.
The Warriors performed a team haka before their 2002 Hawaii Bowl game against Tulane at Aloha Stadium. Tulane won 36-28.
UH coach June Jones said it’s up to the players if they want to do the dance or not.
Senior safety Leonard Peters, also elected as a captain by his teammates, said it’s Jones’ decision.
“It’s up to Coach Jones. Whatever he wants us to do. We prepared it, it’s up to him,” Peters said. “I think it would be more appropriate for home games only because people over here understand it. Over there they might take it as a dis (disrespectful gesture) and not a cultural thing.”
Senior left tackle Tala Esera, who leads the haka practices, agreed it might be better for just home games.
Satele is anticipating a post-game haka at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
“Right now, if we win, we’ll do it on their field,” he said. “And we will win.”
(SMG thanks Dave Reardon for his cooperation)