HONOLULU (KHON2) — It is the day the University of Hawaii (UH) sports fans have been waiting for — the chance to finally cheer on the Rainbow Warriors in person. On Saturday, Oct, 23, UH battled the New Mexico State Aggies at Clarence T.C. Ching Stadium.

Saturday night’s game was the first time fans were allowed back in the stands and play in front of spectators since 2019 and since the COVID pandemic began in 2020.

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There is excitement in the air; the buzz that comes before a big game, and it is a big game for UH fans and the Rainbow Warriors. However, for fans getting into the game, it required a little extra effort. Although there were a few hiccups, for the most part, the process went smoothly.

After almost two years, die-hard fans could not wait for the chance to cheer on the Rainbow Warriors in person.

“I’m so excited. I’m a sophomore, never been to a football game; so I’m super excited.”

Juliana Kindell, UH sophomore.

“Same here,” said UH sophomore Olivia Granum. “It’s gonna be really cool.”

“I feel bad for people last year, but I’m excited. We’re blessed this year,” said UH student Daisy Tulaupua.

COVID pandemic restrictions limited capacity at the new 9,000-seat stadium to just 1,000; tickets sold out quickly for the game, and no one was permitted on campus and near the field without a ticket.

KHON asked: “How did you guys score tickets?

“I have no idea,” Kindell said. “We entered the raffle. I literally told her we’re not gonna get one, then I got the email. I’m so, so, so excited!”

Long-time UH fans Lynn and Richard Ando also felt lucky.

“(We’re) so glad we got tickets, not too many of my friends got tickets,” Richard explained.

Those lucky enough to get in had to adhere to some new rules. Proof of COVID vaccination was required to attend the game. Additionally, before heading to the stadium, fans had to complete several extra steps –including downloading the Lumisight UH health check app to their phone and uploading vaccination information.

Once spectators reached campus, they had to check in at one of six marked Lumisight clearance locations to show the “You May Report to Campus” screen on their phones. After the health screening was verified, they received a wristband.

“We just had to download an app and enter a raffle; honestly it was not a big deal at all,” Kindell explained.

“It was a pretty easy process. And, you know, we want that so we’re all safe here.”

Kamilia Lirio, a UH student

“They set it up pretty well,” Richard noted. “It was easy, and I like that they separated it out away from the ticketing”

UH’s clear bag policy was also in effect; concessions were closed and no food or beverages were allowed — except for water.

Gates to the stadium opened at 4 p.m. Saturday The only hiccup came for those who did not have a hard copy of their tickets.

“The scanner machine is not working,” Tulaupua said. “We understand because, you know, they haven’t used it in almost two years; so we don’t blame them, but we’re pumped. We’re super excited to cheer on our school. I mean, if we have to wait, we’ll wait.”

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“As long as we get in,” Lirio added.

“As long as we get in. We worked hard for these tickets,” Tulaupua said.

The kickoff was at 6 p.m.