A Crucial Week For UH Football

With just 17 days until kickoff for UH football, this week at Pearl Harbor should tell the story on a number of position battles. Not only starting spots, but places in the rotation are up for grabs, as well as a chance to play on special teams.

A couple of players to watch are DE Beau Yap, whose solid technique and high motor will earn him serious playing time, and freshman corner Ne’Quan Phillips, who has displayed a pleasing combination of athleticism and aggression in the early going.

Bronze medalist Clarissa Kyoko Mei Ling Chun of the United States (far right) at the awards ceremony for 48-kg women’s freestyle wrestling at the 2012 Summer Olympics Aug. 8 in London

As usual, the defense seems ahead of the offense at this time of year, and it is expected that starting QB Sean Schroeder, a Duke transfer, will become more comfortable weekly. Two constants at practices have been a fiercely upgraded tempo and unremitting loud music. This week’s practices at Pearl Harbor are closed to the public.

* There’s a phenomenon in the Olympic Games that has always been present but is particularly noticeable in London 2012. The expectations going into the games can make an outstanding performance seem ordinary or even sub-par. The look on U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte’s face after coming second to Michael Phelps in the 200 I.M. said it all. Here’s a case where a silver medal behind the greatest swimmer of all time appeared to be disappointing, and it was partially fueled by Lochte’s own pre-Olympic comments that this was his time, his stage, his turn in the spotlight. His own expectations, as well as those of the swim community, were unmet, and so a man who wins five medals in London and 11 for his career leaves London with a feeling of disappointment shared by many of his supporters.

Likewise, gymnast Jordyn Wieber wins team gold but fails to make the all-round final and does not make the podium in an individual event. Because she was the golden girl coming in, and also because of riveting performances resulting in individual gold for teammates Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman, Wieber’s posture and body language spoke of heartbreak and disappointment even while wearing a gold medal. Unfair, of course, but the result of the crushing weight of huge expectations.

Contrast that with Hawaii wrestler Clarissa Chun sprinting around the mat draped with an American flag after vanquishing a longtime rival on the way to the Olympic bronze.

Chun’s sport is not a high-profile, made-for-TV spectacle. The only expectations were her own, and she was able to experience the joy of competition and a significant achievement.

It’s far easier to enter the Olympics without the pressure of an anxious nation awaiting every nuanced second of performance where there is no reprieve from a small error or an off day.