Makahiki Games and Creativity

October 8th, 2013
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One of our Career Changers TV show sponsors, Waimea Valley, will be hosting a Makahiki Festival and Games Tournament on Sat., Oct. 12 and Sun., Oct. 13 from 9 AM until 5 PM. Cost for kama'aina and military with ID is just $5 per person, and only $10 for entire families (up to 10 people).  There will be a Hawaiian martial arts demonstration at 10 AM, followed by a variety of native games such as "chest pushing," "dart sliding" and spear throwing. For details on the tournament, click here.

In the spirit of Makahiki, they are requesting that families share their abundance by bringing non-perishable food items that will be donated to the North Shore Food Bank. There will also be local artisans and vendors, plus a holua sledding demo on the upper meadow, as well as talk story sessions by kupuna. If the weather cooperates, it should be a wonderful experience! You can also order tickets for events online at their website.

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Speaking of games, gotta say the UH loss to San Jose State last Saturday was a big disappointment -- especially after the offense got off to a good start by scoring a couple of early TDs. But the defense seemed flat... and then, inexplicably, after doing a good job of mixing up the play calls on offense, Coach Chow seemed intent on proving something by calling four straight run plays up the middle with an undersized running back and an inexperienced offensive line. I was among the fans who were groaning in the stands as the Bows turned over the ball on downs and closed out the first half with a whimper instead of a bang.

It's easy to second-guess coaches and play calling in hindsight. However, I think the biggest gripe average fans have -- regardless of a coach's track record -- is predictability. In the past, even winning coaches have been criticized for sticking to their bread and butter plays when it seemed opposing teams had caught on. This weekend, I saw Peyton Manning (who is basically a player-coach on the field) run a "naked bootleg" that caught everyone by complete surprise. He faked a hand-off and jogged into the endzone untouched. Later, he said it's something he can only do once every few years, and he doesn't even tell his own teammates he's doing it. In other games I saw QBs like Oregon's Marcus Mariota fake hand-offs on short yardage situations, and take the ball outside for big plays. And I could understand Coach Chow calling two or even three hand-offs up the middle in a row if he was setting up a play action pass. But there was no pay-off play. (On the other hand, maybe he figured no one would think he'd call four straight runs in that situation. I certainly didn't.)

What I loved about the Bows' spread offense under coordinator Paul Johnson, and yes, the play-calling of June Jones as head coach was their creativity. Remember that "snake" formation the three UH receivers lined up in against BYU the first time the Bows shellacked them at Aloha Stadium? Johnson shrugged it off as a small wrinkle, yet by showing the Cougars a new look and running a scripted set of plays with no huddle, he immediately got the fans -- and the team -- stoked up from the opening play. June would go for fake punts in situations that made no logical sense -- which actually is the ideal time to pull off a trick play. When they work, the coach looks like a genius. When they don't, well... at least you can say the coach made it interesting.

One of the things I try to do with my OC16 show is to ask my "team" -- the cameramen, our host, subjects we film and interview -- to come up with creative ideas for the segments we do. It might be a small twist, such as adding spiders and cockroaches that crawl across your TV screen on our Halloween episode. I may add a scream or sound effect here and there where you don't expect it. We get people to talk about stuff that they've never discussed publicly before.

Check out the current episode and you'll see how creative people can be in their approach to business: Greg Longnecker tells how he went from parasailing and jet skis to launching the Hawaii Pirate Ship Adventure. Mermaid Kariel recalls how seeing "The Little Mermaid" inspired her to become one herself for Halloween years ago... and now she's branched off into writing a children's book, doing fitness classes, representing a manufacturer of mermaid fins for kids, and selling a line of mermaid-inspired cosmetic products.

True, you still have to do the basics when it comes to business or coaching football. But if you want to win fans over and build your customer base, I think it's important that you show them a willingness to take risks, do something unexpected once in awhile and make people wonder what you will do next. Because if they know you're going to run the same damn play up the middle again and again, there's not much reason to get excited about the future.

Here's hoping you have a fun weekend full of surprises, whether you head to Waimea Valley for the Makahiki or watch the UH-UNLV game at home!

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