HONOLULU (KHON2) — Mild-mannered church volunteer, amateur gardener Helen Furukawa was a teacher for 32 years, retired for 33 but has been a Warrior football fan for 38 years.
“I didn’t come for the football game. I came to see my son in the UH marching band and I’ve been coming since then, when was that ’81?” said 91-year-old UH Football Superfan Helen Furukawa. “Yep, 1981.”
“Mom just came to watch the half time show,” said her son, Bobby Furukawa. “Watching the marching band since I was in the band and she continued to enjoy it and she learned about football.”
“I don’t know everything about football even though I’ve been coming all these years but I give the boys a lot of credit. I mean just going to college was a big deal and for them to keep up their grades and do all the work they do for their team, it’s just amazing. I have a lot of respect for all the players and the coaches,” she said.
Helen always came with her husband, but since his passing in 2006, her son Bobby brings her. Helen is at every game, rain or shine, stadium packed, or not.
“The student section is so empty all the time. That’s a shame, that’s a shame,” she said.
She stays until the victorious or bitter end, winning season or losing.
“We also came during the Von Appen years. I don’t know if you remember but every game was a loss, you remember. My husband used to say we have to cheer the guys on so, knowing that we’re gonna lose we came anyway every game, to support the boys.”
Her favorite players over the near four decades?
“Jason Elam, do you remember him? I have a picture with him too, I gotta look for it, and Walter Murray. Those are my two favorite guys on the team long ago.”
Helen sits in the student section, she is a UH alumna after all, as was her husband, and as are their children and two of her six grandchildren, including Bobby’s son Pablo, who’s in the Marching band.
“We sit next to the band so that helps. A lot of music, a lot of excitement. It’s nice to sit out here.”
Helen has traveled for games, the Holiday Bowl in San Diego in ’92, the Sugar Bowl in Louisianna in 2008.
She won’t be at Saturday’s Boise game but would go to a bowl game, especially if it’s in Hawaii or Vegas.
She’s also hopeful for “this” year’s team.
“Great, great, their two quarterbacks great. I think they’re doing pretty good,” she said, referring to quarterbacks Cole McDonald and Chevan Cordeiro.
And Helen’s support means the world to the team.
“Helen, I want to thank you for all your support of UH football,” said UH Head Football Coach Nick Rolovich. “38 years, you’ve seen a lot of ups and downs, we appreciate you being there this year. You’re a big part of why we’re sitting where we’re at and about to get on a plane on Thursday so we’re going up to Boise and we’ll use you as some inspiration, I hope you enjoy it. Thanks again.”