Archive for June, 2011

One more game

June 28th, 2011

Spencer Smith thought he was done playing football, and had started working on a coaching career back in his home near Atlanta. But then the former University of Hawaii safety got an invitation to play in a game in Japan on July 10.

Smith said he and five other former UH players — Nate Ilaoa, Blaze Soares, Tuika Tufaga, Tala Esera and Bronson Tiwanak — will serve as player-coaches in a game in Osaka against a similar team featuring five player-coaches from UNLV.

Smith leaves his home in Kell, Ga., on Saturday for the long trip to Japan.

“I’m in good shape, still been training and working out,” Smith said. “I’ve got a coaching job at my old high school (Kell). I’ll be linebackers coach for the freshman team.”
Smith said he’s also been hired as a para-professional teacher of special education classes, working with autistic youths. He will also pursue a master’s degree in special education, probably at Georgia State.
He said he hopes part of the trip to Japan includes visiting the Sendai area that was hit hardest by the recent earthquake and tsunami.
“I would love to, but I’m not sure what the plans are,” he said. “I’m excited for the chance to play one more game.”

Kaimana Award winners

June 26th, 2011

Here’s the  list of HMSA’s Kaimana Awards. The recipients are school athletic departments and student-athletes that excel in the classroom , as campus leaders, and in the community as well as on the playing fields. It was a pleasure and honor to help present the awards and get to know the recipients, as well as superstar slam poet Kealoha, who was the featured speaker. Today’s column features Kealoha and two very inspirational award winners.


Big Island Interscholastic Federation

Div. I: Hilo.

Div. II: Hualalai.

Interscholastic League of Honolulu

Div. I: Maryknoll.

Div. II: Hawaii Baptist.

Kauai Interscholastic Federation

Island School.

Maui Interscholastic League

Div. I: Kamehameha-Maui

Div. II: Seabury

Oahu Interscholastic Association

Red: Mililani.

Blue: Anuenue.

White: Kalani.


Distinguished Scholarship Recipients: Miracle Helekahi (Hana), Kyle Nakatsuka (Kamehameha), Zachary Pezzillo (Seabury).

BIIF: Jonathan Chow (Keaau), Melissa Plato (Kealakehe), Jordan Heres (Mauka Lani Christian).

ILH: Kendal Kagawa (Maryknoll), Brittney Like (Kamehameha), Rachel Roley (Mid-Pacific), Katherine Lum (University), Kyle Nakatsuka (Kamehameha), Ryan Lau (Punahou), Jordan Thibodeau (Kamehameha).

KIF: Chas Okamoto (Kapaa), Kyle McDonald (Island), Stephanie Steuri (Island).

MIL: Miracle Helekahi (Hana), Chris Nunokawa (Kamehameha-Maui), Zachary Pezzillo (Seabury)

OIA: Uy-Di Nancy Le (Kalani), Fadi Youkhana (Roosevelt), Brendan Nakatani (Roosevelt), Stephanie Kalili (Nanakuli), Adam Kostylo (Kaiser), Daniella Reyes (Leilehua).

Click here for more information and photos from HMSA.

Rory (and Jason, not far behind)

June 20th, 2011

I spent a good chunk of the final day of my vacation Sunday watching the final round of the U.S. Open. There was no drama but plenty of drama as Rory McIlroy won going away.

Hard to not root for the guy, especially considering the grace in which he handled faltering at the Masters. LeBron James could learn a thing or two from McIlroy in dealing with disappointment.

I’ve heard the words “arrogant” and “swagger” used in connection with McIlroy, but only in the way he attacks the golf course. With the fans, media and his competitors, he projects humility and respect. I never liked Tiger Woods’ aloof persona, even before his problems. This guy, I like. Seems genuine and sincere.

I also like Jason Day. It’s too early to really tell, but perhaps Rory and Jason can become the new Tiger and Phil … but with Jason giving Rory more competition than Phil did Tiger.

Do you care that neither of the brightest young stars on the PGA Tour are American? Doesn’t bother me.

Aloha, Pro Bowl?

June 10th, 2011

By now, you’ve probably read or heard about Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s comments made Thursday regarding the Pro Bowl.

My question now: How does NFL commissioner Roger Goodell react (if at all)? As I wrote around the time of the last Pro Bowl, he’s got bigger mahi to fry.

And: Does this make negotiations for Hawaii to host the game beyond 2012 difficult or impossible? … Or, does it give Hawaii a chance to decrease the $4 million annual hosting fee?

It comes down to who needs who more, and if the players — who always say they’re all for keeping the game in Hawaii — get a vote in it.

On Vacation

June 8th, 2011

I’m off for the next couple of weeks, but will likely post a blog item or two. Next Further Review column will be Wednesday, June 22.