Ex-rainbows collect for the sport Albuquerque Journal
Rick Puhl, a retired podiatrist from Albuquerque, likely wore a lot of flip flops as a kid. They do that in Kailua on the southeast bank of Oahu, where he grew up.
But he also wore soccer shoes when he ran back for the University of Hawaii from 1969 to 1970. The Rainbows (then only Rainbows, now not the Rainbow Warriors) went 15: 5: 1 in these two seasons.
“We just had a great time,” he says.
The explosion continues.
This weekend, Puhl is hosting a reunion for Hawaiian players, wives and girlfriends from the 1960s and 1970s who have come to watch the Rainbow Warriors play the New Mexico Lobos at University Stadium tonight.
Puhl expected 13 or 14 players as well as spouses, girlfriends and other former UH students from this time.
“We have a couple of cheerleaders. We have a former Miss Hawaii (who married one of the players), ”he said.
Keith Gilbertson, an attacking lineman from Rainbows and a teammate from Puhl, later served as head coach in Washington and California.
The reunion is an annual event; Once a year the group meets at the location of a Hawaii street game. Because Puhl lives in Albuquerque and the Rainbow Warriors play the Lobos, it’s his turn to host.
Early arrivals, Puhl said, should have dinner at the Sandiago Mexican grill at the foot of the tram on Thursday evening. Puhl and his wife Patty, who is also from Oahu, threw a party at their home in Tanoan on Friday night – complete with Hawaiian music. An Albuquerque food truck that specializes in Hawaiian food should pass by.
The reunions, Puhl said, have been going on for more than a decade and are eagerly awaited by the group.
“One of the guys is still wearing the travel jacket we had,” he said. “I’m sure he shouldn’t have taken it, but he still has it all these years later.
“He’s doing a slide show of 45 year old pictures from newspapers and stuff. So we’re having fun. “
Back then, the Rainbows played on a lower level – this corresponds to today’s NCAA Football Championship subdivision – than the Rainbow Warriors now.
Nor did they travel so extensively to the mainland; The team took only five road trips in Puhls two seasons and to no destination further east than Las Vegas, Nev.
In each of those two seasons, the New Mexico Highlands University soccer team traveled to Honolulu. The teams played to a 16:16 draw at the 1969 season opener. The Cowboys defeated the Rainbows 21-10 in the 1970 season finale.
Losing to NMHU this season was hardly a shame. The Cowboys quarterback that year was the New Mexico Sports Hall from Famer Don Woods, who later played in the NFL.
Puhl is a staunch UH fan who wants to attend at least one Rainbow Warriors game every year. In the past few years he has seen her play in Colorado and Washington.
His group, he said, will be watching tonight’s game from the End Zone Club at the south end of the University Stadium. The UNM ticket office, he said, was “just great with us”.
Who is it rooting for tonight?
“As much as I’m a Lobo fan,” he said, “I hope the old Hawaii Rainbows can make it for this one game.”