Archive for April, 2011

Inspiration from students

April 27th, 2011
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Mahalo to the high school journalists from around the state for once again making my day. Each year the Hawaii Publishers Association sponsors a contest and luncheon for them.

I put some time into judging entries, but receive way more in return because I get the opportunity to meet some of them, as well as their advisors, talk story over lunch, and help them celebrate their best efforts.

Their positive energy and enthusiasm is always contagious and makes me want to do better.

Kamehameha Maui won the overall title. Star-Advertiser education reporter Mary Vorsino delivered an excellent speech.

I actually knew one of the student journalists at the luncheon: Michel Trapasso, the son of University of Hawaii baseball coach Mike Trapasso. Michel is a senior at Mid-Pacific and a sportswriter for Na Pueo, MPI’s paper. Michel’s going to UH next year. He plans on eventually going to law school and maybe becoming a sports agent.

I got to sit with Thaddeus Padua, who is the editor-in-chief of the Pearl City High School Messenger, 32 years after I was. He’s a bright, thoughtful guy who had a smile on his face the entire lunch. Enjoyed meeting his parents, Tony and Sandra, also. Thaddeus has strong interests in graphic media, as well as engineering.

Also, at the table, the Moanalua contingent, senior staffers from Na Hoku Moanalua and advisor Helen Lau. Lindsey Txakeeyang (editor-in-chief), Trishia Yada (features editor), Marisa Kuga (staff writer), Jessica Leung (art director) and Clinton Winham (features editor, sports editor).

When Clinton’s name was announced as the winner of the award for the best public school sports story of the year he was so happy and excited that he was shaking.

“I was just so stoked,” said Clinton, who deftly profiled Moanalua math teacher and super sports fan Jason Nagaoka. “Journalism can be thankless sometimes.”

I was even more impressed with his reaction when Jessica won the state’s top award for illustration. He was more excited than when his name was called. You can tell the guy’s  a good teammate — Clinton played football, basketball and volleyball at Moanalua.

“He’s an all-around helpful guy,” said Helen Lau, the advisor. “He teams well with others to get things done.”

Clinton, who interns at scoringlive.com, is going on to study journalism at the University of Oregon in the fall. I’m pretty sure you’ll be seeing his byline on a regular basis in the not-too-distant future, that is if sports journalism is fortunate enough to hang on to him.

I also got to talk with Rebecca Dang of the Hawaii Baptist Eagle Eye. She won the statewide sportswriting award. She wrote a very well-researched story about how Guillain-Barre Syndrome affected HBA athlete Jana Tanouye. This story especially touched home for me, since my brother’s high school sports career was affected by the same rare illness.

Rebecca played basketball at HBA. She agreed that the teamwork skills she learned on the court helped her on the school paper staff, too.

“Everybody helps each other out,” said Rebecca, who plans to major in biology at UH. “This was my first year (on the newspaper), so it showed me I can write if I have to.”

NFL Unlocked … Rhetorical (?) Questions

April 25th, 2011
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A judge has ruled that the NFL must allow players to return to work. This looks like a significant milestone toward avoiding a late start to the season this fall.

But the owners are appealing, and the ruling doesn’t bring the two sides closer in the collective bargaining agreement.

***

Plenty of reaction pro and con to Monday’s column. Reader Donald Blaser writes with some questions about the pink uniforms the University of Hawaii baseball team wore in the Valparaiso series.

Thanks for today’s column; I’ve been waiting for someone to say something.  Lie you, I tuned in to the game a little late and couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Perhaps you can do a follow-up and report on:

1. How much did the UH get paid?

2. What happens to this shirts and sox?  Collectors’ items?  A public bonfire?

3. What will the Athletic Department sell next?

4. Since they must raise money for the football coach’s million dollar salary, how about pink jerseys for the football team?  (Maybe recycle the baseball uniforms.)

All sorts of possibilities; I’m sure you and your readers can come up with more!  How about a contest?

Brennan, Glanville to reunite in UFL

April 18th, 2011
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Part of the old band is getting back together … in Hartford, Conn.

Quarterback Colt Brennan is set to join coach Jerry Glanville with the Hartford Colonials of the United Football League, Colt’s father, Terry, said this morning in a phone interview. Colt Brennan and Glanville were together in 2005 and 2006 at the University of Hawaii when Glanville was defensive coordinator and Brennan was a sophomore and junior.

Brennan and Glanville were both at an SMU practice last week. That’s where June Jones, who was their head coach at UH, is now the head coach. “It was good for Colt to see June, Dan Morrison and his other coaches from Hawaii,” Terry Brennan said.

Glanville was recently named the Colonials head coach. Hartford went 3-5 last season. Former NFL quarterback Josh McCown started for Hartford last year and is the only QB on its protected roster.

Brennan was seriously injured in a car accident on the Big Island last November, but has since recovered and vowed to give pro football another shot.

“He’s in good shape, been working out in Arizona the past two months,” Terry Brennan said. “He’s put on some weight.”

Colt Brennan finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting after leading UH to the Sugar Bowl in 2007. He was drafted in the sixth round in 2008 by the Washington Redskins, but did not play a regular-season down and was released last year. He had a preseason tryout with the Oakland Raiders but did not stick.

In 2009, a panel of Hawaii sports reporters and former UH football coaches put together by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin voted Brennan the No. 1 player in UH football history.

Kobe Bryant: Wrong. Josh Hamilton: Wrong. And that’s life.

April 13th, 2011
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The heat of battle.

That’s where we often place the blame for a lot of the things that come out of our mouths.

So when Kobe Bryant insults an official with a vulgar word modifying a slur offensive to homosexuals, some want to excuse it, no questions asked.

And when Josh Hamilton throws his third base coach under the bus for his part in a play in which Hamilton is injured, some want to place all the blame on the relatively anonymous coach rather than the superstar.

Intensity and passion combined with pressure sometimes leads to raw emotion that manifests itself in negative utterances or rants that are regretted, sometimes as they are being spewed. It’s part of the human condition for all but the calmest souls, especially people with high-stress jobs. And when every move is watched by millions …

Not an excuse; they’re wrong. And they’re public figures viewed by many youngsters as role models, and are supposed to do better.

But this is also part of what makes them human.

Who do you like in The Masters?/Future of the OIA

April 6th, 2011
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I’m thinking Phil Mickelson wins, but not counting out Tiger Woods.

Is Woods toast? I’ve heard his putting is poor now and he can’t hit the ball straight.

Ian Poulter ripping him might be just what he needs to get it together, regain his confidence and forget about any lingering distractions.

***

The following is long, but worth reading if you care about the future of Hawaii high school sports. Tom Haynes, a keen observer of the local preps scene, raises several pertinent questions in response to today’s column about the OIA at a crossroads with director Dwight Toyama’s retirement.

A topic that needs lots of attention — the OIA needs a real leader (not a former DOE anything) who perceives the OIA’s most important customers as being the student/athletes themselves.  The OIA needs

greatly enhanced transparency (it is a public school league after all) – from its media relations to a total re-do of its website.  As in, make it user friendly — an approach which should be inculcated (is that really a
word??) throughout anything and everything the OIA does.

The OIA should support, if not actually push for, the HHSAA to become a true statewide ruling body which oversees all five leagues.  (The current status quo of the OIA/ILH trading political favors back and forth to continue to dominate high school athletics statewide is reprehensible.)

Which might happen if the OIA dumped its top-down (typical bureaucratic) mission statement and instead rewrote its mission statement to focus on the needs of its customers, and why not back it with a vision statement — both of which should be prominently displayed on its website’s landing page.
(The current mission statement is found at the bottom of the “About OIA” tab — after its listing of phone numbers . . .)

And why does the OIA Foundation (essential to the OIA’s financial health) tend to work essentially as an elitist organization which, in all practicality, works to keep out the average public school citizen. (And, by
the way, just how much does that full-page ad every year cost….???  When I made the inquiry a couple years back now, I did get a timely response in the form of a letter from Dwight — although he managed not to include the cost in dollars).  A whole new approach to fundraising needs to be formulated (it would of course include the OIA Foundation, instead of using the foundation as its sole fundraising apparatus).

Streamline classificiation (and how about an explanation of the current formula on the OIA website?  Which should include which teams are D-I and D-II for the current school year); streamline play-offs (so that the regular season is also important — especially when it’s $5 admission per adult in sports like basketball ); ensure balance between fall/winter/spring sports (the extended football season — thru states — hurts the so-called pre-season basketball tournaments (which traditionally have been huge fan favorites); work to enhance the coaching experience (education and pay); elevate the importance of improving facilities in the public’s eye (for example, why not make any given facility’s condition a consideration in classification — which I think, eventually, should be primarily based on student population statewide); stop the institutionalized degradation of D-II on all fronts; and why not begin to create a network of student position SIDs and staff at each school (who would support the ADs and coaches and help ease the flow of information and game reports).  There’s
plenty more.

The basic structure of the OIA is no doubt in place.  But as you point out the OIA needs creative, forward-thinking elements put in play.  Easy to say, eh?

And just who determines who the new exec dir of the OIA will be??

And is Chris Chun satisfied with the way things are over at the HHSAA??