littleforeigner.com life in hiroshima and beyond

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22 February 2008 @ 9pm

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Everyone loves a local boy

Barack Obama won the Hawaii Democratic primary held here the other day by a landslide. Caucus sites ran out of Democratic Party registration forms and ballot papers. Many people voted for the first time, but although some said they felt compelled to go out and vote as they felt the Hawaii vote might actually mean something this time round¬† you can’t help feeling that the real reason for the high turnout was to support a local. Obama was born and raised through high school on the island of Oahu.

Being “local” in Hawaii is a big deal, as those who are not can testify, and for a state so often on the periphery (literally) it’s an even bigger deal when someone local makes it onto the national stage.

The local factor was on display on Wednesday night at the qualifying games for the Pan Pacific Soccer Champs which were held at Aloha Stadium. Most of the fans (with women and kids seeming to outnumber men) in soccer shirts were clad in the LA Galaxy’s Number 23, David Beckham- the crowds in the stands shouted and squealed in delight every time he touched the ball in their 1:0 defeat at the hands of very fluid Gamba Osaka. The biggest cheer, however, was reserved for Brian Ching, striker for the Houston Dynamo who beat Sydney FC 2:0. Ching is a local boy made good in the world of Major League Soccer.

This was the first soccer game I’d been to in years and have to admit that it was really the 24oz beers and the fact that you could buy huge jugs of frozen margeritas to go with your hot dogs, pizza, garlic fries etc that held my interest.

gamba osaka fansIt seems like soccer has a way to go in Hawaii. The Aloha Stadium was packed to the rafters at the recent NFL Pro Bowl, but attendance was pretty sparse for this pro soccer match and it was the handful of Gamba Osaka supporters who made the most noise. 

Number one son seemed to have a great time, and he insists it was the game rather than the garlic fries, doughnuts or benNjerry’s that he gobbled down during the game.


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