Insight, News, and Opinion by Nick Abramo
  • April 13, 2021
It’s Just A Matter Of Time Before The Grinch Comes A Calling

People are still wondering if there will be any college football and NFL this year. Some leagues say yes, some say no. The NFL has not wavered an inch from its stance that there will be games, and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has proclaimed that his team will play all of its 2020 home games in front of fans despite the COVID-19 health crisis.

In addition, the SEC and the ACC plan to continue with as full of a schedule as possible.

Well, that football green light may just come to pass for Jerry and his fellow NFL owners and the Southern college football powers that be. But, it is possible that the Grinch may get in the way.

The Grinch is plotting what to do for Christmas (and football) in 2020.

No matter what, there’s going to be a lot of downcast faces in Whoville. The Big Ten and the Pac-12 will not be playing football this fall. That’s a big blow to a “real” season, and it waters down any hopes of a “real” championship that comes during the most celebratory time of the year.

Speaking of the Grinch, I got a letter from Mililani High School the other day, and after reading it, I kind of kiddingly told my junior-to-be that “Christmas has been canceled.” He had no idea what I was talking about, of course. The letter from Glenn Nitta, the Trojans’ athletic director, was to let parents of athletes know that there will not be a Christmas tree fundraiser this year.

My family won't be able to get one of the great Christmas trees from the Mililani High School athletic department's fundraiser this year.

And while that doesn’t mean that Christmas has been canceled, it sure makes you wonder what Christmas will be like this time around. Merriment and celebration (and the joyous news of Christ’s birth for those who believe) in the face of the pandemic is kind of a stark contrast.

The winter holiday is usually time when families gather after long periods of time away from each other. Maybe not this year, especially if the 14-day quarantine is still in place at that time.

But maybe a dialing down of all of the commercial-ness of Christmas will turn out to be a good thing. A milder celebration and thankfulness and hopefulness. Less lights. Not so much a blitz of advertisements geared to get you into the spirit — the spending spirit.

Speaking of dialing down, the roads on Oahu have been incredibly barren, compared to pre-COVID-19 days. Most times I’m on the road, all I can think of is how the number or cars on H-1 is still probably a high percentage more than the intended capacity when it was built in the middle of the last century.

And take a look at all the rent-a-cars parked at Aloha Stadium and you’ll be reminded of just how many cars are not (but would have been) on the road.

Which brings up another point. Will employers realize that not everybody on Oahu has to leave their homes at approximately 6 or 7 a.m. and do not have to return at approximately 4 or 5 p.m.?

Why put everybody on the road at the same time, increasing stress and drive time unnecessarily? Or will this kind of staggering of drive times screw up everybody’s “business hours”? Will employers realize many people can be productive working from home instead of out driving and clogging up what could be more of a clear-sailing environment?

And so, now with that tangent out of the way, let’s go back to the new of the no Christmas tree fundraiser. That’s a shame. Through this whole decade, coaches gave my three kids tickets to sell for that fundraiser, and we’ve purchased a tree that way since 2010.

And let me tell you, those are some great trees. All full trees. None of the skimpy kind you see at some places. Not a bad one in the bunch. You take your ticket on a Saturday and an athlete will help you pick out a tree (which takes about five minutes or less unless you’re super picky). Then you take the tree and one of the coaches or administrators — like Ma’a Tanuvasa, an assistant football coach and a Super Bowl champion with the Denver Broncos back in the day — will cut a few inches off the trunk or trim the low-hanging branches before putting it into netting.

Then the athlete takes it back to your vehicle. No fuss.

I’m not a salesman, but I could sell that fundraiser to anyone: “Buy the ticket. You won’t be disappointed.”

Our 2019 Christmas tree, purchased through the Mililani High School athletic department's fundraiser, shortly before "coronavirus" and "COVID-19" became a household word.

I should mention that if you are looking for a 15-footer or something extravagant or super large, go elsewhere. These are just basic and very solid trees.

And that advice, obviously, applies to December 2021. The Grinch is already finding ways to disrupt things this year. No can do in 2020. Gotta find our tree somewhere else.

But, alas, all is not lost. Mililani athletics is doing a car wash fundraiser. At lest my truck can get a bath during muddy time.

You can donate to a good cause and get a premium wash for your vehicle. The deal expires Nov. 11, 2020, and maybe you can buy one of those air fresheners that look like a (Christmas) tree, for good measure.

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