Four years ago, while he was a senior at Chaminade High, Adam Crecion went on a Christmas vacation to Hawaii with his family. There, he saw the BYU football team lounging around the beach, relaxing before the Aloha Bowl that is played every Dec. 25 in Honolulu.
"I said 'That looks like fun.' "
Fast-forward to a recent gloomy December day in Annapolis, Md. Crecion, the strong safety for a Navy team that has not played in a bowl game since 1981, gathered with his teammates for a meeting. Despite their 8-3 record, the players feared that a 28-24 loss to Army in their last regular-season game had cost them a bowl appearance.
Coach Charlie Weatherbie stood mournfully before the team. Crecion recalls that "everyone looked down."
Then it was announced that Navy had been invited to . . . the Aloha Bowl, where it will play California today.
"Coach Weatherbie tore off his jacket and he had one of those Hawaiian shirts underneath," Crecion says. "The whole room went crazy."