It is without doubt one of the options I look forward to yearly in The Maui Information, normally printed on Christmas Day: “Folks Who Made A Distinction” is one in every of our annual traditions that can by no means get outdated for me.
Began in 1994 because the brainchild of my former colleagues Christie Wilson and David Hoff, it’s nearly as outdated as my profession on the paper (I began as a younger man in 1990).
Now, with highschool sports activities tantalizingly shut however nonetheless just a few months away, we’re going to broaden the concept of recognizing those that have made a distinction within the sports activities realm on Maui.
We’re in search of nominees for options that can run all through the summer season, sports activities of us in Maui County who’ve gone above and past to “make a distinction.”
Sports activities of us dot the annual listing, from surf and wrestling aficionado Kim Ball in 1998 to Main League Baseball star Kurt Suzuki in 2017.
Amongst different exceptional accomplishments for Valley Isle sports activities, Ball bought browsing sanctioned as an official highschool sport within the Maui Interscholastic League just a few years again — it was the primary and nonetheless believed to be the one highschool league within the nation that has browsing as an official sport.
Suzuki, a 2001 Baldwin Excessive College graduate, runs an annual baseball clinic the place he pays the best way for quite a few children from Molokai and Lanai to attend at Maehara Stadium in January. In 2019, slugger Albert Pujols, a pal who shares the identical agent with Suzuki, confirmed up.
Suzuki has completed exceptional issues behind the scenes as properly, each on the Mainland and right here. Baldwin baseball and Maui youth baseball gamers are in higher locations now due to Suzuki, who owns championship rings from Cal State-Fullerton (2004) on the faculty stage and the Washington Nationals (2019) on the huge league stage.
If COVID-19 has taught me something, it’s that that issues can change rapidly, in a single route after which again the opposite method moments later.
The dearth of MIL sports activities for the equal of 4 seasons — spring 2020, fall 2020, winter 2021, spring 2021 — has challenged us to search out sports activities tales in lots of locations apart from regular.
One of many extra enjoyable tales just lately that we maybe wouldn’t have gotten to is the story of Vaai “Uso” Seumalo, a Molokai Excessive College graduate who performed one season of highschool soccer that lasted six video games. He simply completed his freshman season at Backyard Metropolis Neighborhood Faculty, which completed 7-1 and ranked fifth within the nation.
Seumalo is now an NCAA Division I prospect as a defensive lineman who has one other soccer season to study from within the fall.
Molokai soccer coach Mike Kahale requested me once we talked for that story, “What number of tales like this one have we missed as a consequence of COVID?”
That made me suppose, there could possibly be a number of tales like Seumalo’s that we might have missed.
For the final couple weeks, I’ve been engaged on the obituary for Fred Guzman, the Maui County iconic soccer coach and broadcaster who began to right away make his mark right here the day he arrived in 1991.
The suggestions on my Guzman obituary has been exceptional, however it was a textual content from Baldwin athletic director Wade Hondo that actually made me suppose that this sequence is a good thought.
“We gotta cherish and honor these folks earlier than they’re gone,” Hondo wrote to me. Now, remember I’m sufficiently old to have lined Hondo as a swimmer at Baldwin, and his youngsters are attending to the purpose the place I’ll have the possibility to cowl them as properly.
Heck, I’m closing in on grandchildren of parents I lined as excessive schoolers within the Nineties.
I take a look at the “Folks Who Made a Distinction” listing and marvel.
Mixing Kahale’s and Hondo’s ideas, let’s not miss anything that we will cowl, give the folks maybe behind the scenes the publicity they deserve once we can.
In between Ball and Suzuki, baseball coaches Craig Okita and Dean Yamashita had been honored in 2016; volleyball coach Scottie Zucco in 2014; rugby chief Jack Breen in 2013; waterman Archie Kalepa in 2012; MIL Division II pioneers Steve Colflesh, Albert Paschoal and Kahale in 2011; MIL icons Spencer Shiraishi, Kenji Kawaguchi, Garner Ivey and Warren Shimabukuro in 2010 (Shiraishi and Ivey have since died); and Ken Nakayama and the state champion Molokai Excessive College baseball workforce in 1999.
Now, with time (hopefully) working out on the COVID dwell sports activities break we’ve all been subjected to, now we have the possibility to inform some extra tales. I’ve bought to be crystal clear, this concept is just not mine — it was considered by my longtime colleague and boss, sports activities editor Stefanie Nakasone-Ramsey.
I’ve many, many concepts in thoughts for nominations, however I don’t wish to affect the poll field. E-mail any ideas on nominations to sports [email protected] by June 15.
This could be a new particular person to the Maui County sports activities scene or a lifetime achievement award. We wish to reap the benefits of this (hopefully) quick window when now we have the time and house to do that — and do it.
Nominations at the moment are formally open.
* Robert Collias is at [email protected]
To appoint an individual for consideration to be featured in The Maui Information’ Folks Who Made a Distinction: Sports activities Version sequence, ship an e mail to sports [email protected] that features the next:
• “Folks Who Made a Distinction” within the topic line;
• The nominee’s identify and a quick abstract of how they’ve impacted the sports activities neighborhood in Maui County;
• Your identify, contact telephone quantity and relationship to the nominee.
Nominations should be acquired by 11:59 p.m. on June 15.
Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox