By: Michael Bower
SD Spirit Coach and Director of Soccer Operations Howie Hawver was honored by The Amazing Race champions Meghan Rickey and Cheyne Whitney as the two Patrick Henry HS alums wore red “Fight ALS” wristbands all the way to the finish line.
Rickey (SD Surf/Patrick Henry HS) is a coach for the Poway Vaqueros. Hawver, who formerly coached Rickey at Patrick Henry, was diagnosed with with ALS, often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in December 2008. Hawver was the biggest fan of jet-setting duo, as he watched the two explore the world and win a million dollars.
XK: What was your first reaction when you seen the two had won the million dollars? Howie
Hawver: Obviously, I was excited to see them come running in first with those huge smiles on their faces. I was proud of them but not surprised. They're gamers, they always knew how to bring out their best when they need to. They really did when they counted the chips.
XK: How often did you watch and track how they were doing on the Amazing Race?
HH: My wife, Lianne and I watched every week at her family's Sunday dinners. After a couple of weeks, most of her family was pulling for them too.
XK: Did you contact Meghan at all since the win or did she contact you?
HH: No, she is too famous now. Just kidding. I plan to but emailing takes me awhile. I do want to tell her I am proud of her and Cheyne.
XK: How much did it mean to have them honor you with the wrist bands the way they did?
HH: It's the ultimate reward for a coach or teacher when a former student says you had a positive effect on me. For them to do that in that way on national television made it even more special. If it helped increase awareness of ALS, then their gesture takes on an even greater meaning. Yes, I felt honored that they wore them.
XK: What did you enjoy most about watching the two during the show?
HH: I thought they displayed outstanding character. They had a great balance of support, encouragement and enjoyment. They helped each other through their frustrations but were not afraid to get under each others skin. They did it just enough to motivate each other through the next challenge.
XK: Any other thoughts about the two?
HH: I am sure Meghan will use her race experience to motivate her players. I look forward to hearing more in a week when we see her at the alumni game, that is, unless her and Cheyne are planning a return trip to Dubai for Christmas.