Hang on. “Duh, Hawaii is very far away from the mainland,” you’re thinking.
I realize I’m not breaking new ground by pointing out Hawaii is actually quite far away from other stuff.
We’re here to celebrate a school in the middle of the Pacific Ocean sharing rivalry trophies — things usually reserved for schools in the same region, state, or town — with schools thousands of miles away.
Pillaging a rival’s campus is common in college sports. You’d need to spend basically an entire day in planes and airports in order to leave Hawaii, defile those bastards’ statues near their stadium, and return.
Rivalry takes a lot of work when you’re this far apart!
Hawaii’s not entirely unique here. Army to Air Force is about 1,800 miles. Notre Dame to USC or Stanford is around 2,100. The greatest trophy in all of rival-dom, the Civil ConFLiCT, spans about 1,200 miles. As soon as Rutgers and Nebraska launch a trophy, as is Big Ten law, that thing will cover about 1,300, roughly the same as the Navy-SMU trophy — yeah, Navy and SMU have a trophy!
But still, all of Hawaii’s trophies and theoretical trophies are significantly more remote than any of those.
2,512 miles: The Golden Screwdriver, as soon as the universe aligns properly (Fresno State)
It hasn’t officially happened yet, but Hawaii’s head coach is all for it, so I’m counting it:
The trophy was the result of a contest held several years ago by ESPN radio 940 in Fresno in which the station asked listeners to design something to symbolize the rivalry between the two schools.
It is in recognition of an alleged incident from the teams’ 2002 game in Fresno. In the aftermath of UH’s 31-21 victory, Hawaii’s first in Bulldog Stadium, head coach June Jones claimed several objects were thrown at the UH sideline, including a screwdriver.
“That legend will grow and, pretty soon, it’ll be a mechanic jumped out from behind the goal post and was throwing screwdrivers at June like a ninja,” Rolovich told the Star-Advertiser.
2,756 miles: The “Golden Pineapple Trophy” (UNLV)
Technically known as:
This extremely good object was also really thought through. UH lays out all the references:
Sponsored by The California Hotel the winner of this Mountain West matchup will now get rights to the Island Showdown Trophy, which includes both a pineapple — a Vegas-style gold pineapple — and a variation of the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign. Las Vegas has earned the nickname “The Ninth Island” for its long-standing popularity with Hawai’i visitors and transplants.
Comfortably one of the best trophies in all of reality.
3,320 miles: The Paniolo Trophy (Wyoming)
“Paniolo” means cowboy in Hawaiian, as in the Wyoming Cowboys. From UH:
The Paniolo Trophy was donated by the Wyoming Paniolo Society, a group of Hawai‘i residents with roots in Wyoming in an effort to strengthen the bond of friendship between the two institutions. The trophy was awarded annually from 1979-97 when both teams were members of the Western Athletic Conference.
3,339 miles: The Kuter Trophy (Air Force)
Not the most exciting visual, but there’s at least back story, as Hawaii explains:
The Kuter Trophy (pronounced COO-ter) is named for the late General Laurence S. Kuter, who was the first head of the Pacific Air Forces Command [based in Hawaii] in 1957.
It was conceived by UH, sponsored by the Pacific Air Command, and designed by the Air Force Academy.
5,006 miles: The Hawaii-UMass rivalry trophy the world desperately needs
The two recently combined for the most ludicrous home-and-home series in football history, and as far as I’m concerned, the Rainbow Warriors now control The Old Golden Frequent Flyer’s Cup.