• ‘Coach Michael’ inspires Hanapepe Jr. Pee Wees
‘Coach Michael’ inspires Hanapepe Jr. Pee Wees
By Duane Shimogawa Jr. – The Garden Island
Diagnosed at birth with a heart condition called ventricular spetal defect (a hole in the heart that causes extra blood to be pumped into the lungs), 23-year-old Michael Basilio turned out to be the biggest inspiration for the Hanapepe Jr. Pee Wee football team on their way to a near-perfect 10-0-1 season, which culminated in a 19-0 bowl game win over Moanalua.
From the start, ‘Coach Michael’ was a favorite to all of the players.
But a serious illness (liver cancer) in January sidelined the 2001 Waimea graduate from both games and practices.
“When this happened, our coaching staff and players dedicated this season to ‘Coach Michael’ and if you asked any of our kids who this season was all about, they’d tell you ‘Coach Michael’,” Hanapepe coach Keith Ana said.
Before the team headed to O’ahu for the bowl game, he gave donations to each of the players.
“Everyday after practice, a prayer was given by one of our players for him and others less fortunate,” Ana said.
Even during tough times, the team remembered ‘Coach Michael’ and his high spirits.
“Everytime we would have a hard time, we would stop as a team and remind everyone who it was all about, not ourselves but to ‘Coach Michael’,” Ana said.
Ana mentioned that this was not just a year for their championship, but instead, it was a lesson of life for the boys, who learned that everyday counts.
“Our heart goes out to Michael, who is a true fighter and a true champion,” Ana said.
Michael loves Menehune foot-ball and was once a statistician for KQNG AM 570’s radio broadcasts with Anahola Joe.
“From the moment we first met, we were friends. He was always nice. The one thing he was most passionate about was Menehune football. He was just so happy to be there. He treated every game like it was the last game in the entire season,” Anahola Joe said.
Michael was also the person who opened the door for doing stats on a computer for the broadcast.
“Michael was the start of what my team has gone into. It was good to be apart of somebody’s life like that. I thought that was pretty touching,” Anahola Joe said in response to Michael’s enjoyment of doing stats. Michael is currently at Wilcox Hospital and his family and numerous friends will be having fundraiser for him soon.
“The cancer is growing rapidly, but my brother is a fighter and a miracle boy,” his sister Rhocel said.
- Duane Shimogawa Jr., sports editor, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 257) or email@example.com