Mahalo nui loa

Basketball’s over. Hockey’s over. The NFL appears closer to brawling over cash than battling over a pigskin.

In both a literal and abstract sense, school’s out for summer.

With that, it seems appropriate that this edition is my final one as the sports writer for The Garden Island.

I wanted to get in one more “My Thoughts Exactly” to let you all know that I’ve had a great time covering everything I could across Kaua‘i, thanks to the kokua of many others who have contributed so much to this section over the past 26 months.

Some of the most memorable moments for me will be the pair of buzzer beaters that sent both the Kapa‘a boys and girls basketball teams to states this season, the intensity of the Kaua‘i-Kapa‘a football game last year and Waimea’s absolute dominance in the volleyball ranks since my first day.

Standing next to Bo Jackson at the Ace Shootout golf event has to be up there, as well. It’s very difficult to feel masculine standing next to Bo Jackson. He’s one of those people who I won’t be surprised to learn someday is an extraterrestrial.

The same goes for Martha Stewart, but for much different reasons. I just can’t imagine how she and I are the same species.

But I digress.

I remember during my first week on the job, going over to Hanapepe Stadium for the Waimea-Kaua‘i 2009 championship baseball game. What stood out was the amount of support both teams had in the stands. I couldn’t remember seeing or feeling that type of outpouring before at a high school event.

Even regular-season contests were typically more exciting than they should have been. I couldn’t have previously imagined a packed house for a volleyball game, but each season, the heat and less-than-forgiving gym bleachers were made much more tolerable thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of everyone in attendance.

Thank you for making all those events as much fun as they have been, and make sure to keep giving the kids the support you already do.

The day that will stay with me most stemmed from tragedy, as thousands congregated at Pine Trees and engulfed Hanalei Bay for Andy Irons’ memorial, Nov. 14, 2010. Hearing the personal tales and seeing so many from different parts of Kaua‘i joined with those who had come from around the world was a profound experience, one that made this island feel like the focal point of the globe, if just for a short while.

Writing that story, I initially had a hard time thinking about what words could accurately describe the day, but I quickly realized I didn’t have to come up with much on my own. I simply channeled everyone there, who told their stories honestly and completely.

So again, I thank you.

Well, since I still have a few inches left before I make my official exit, I guess I have to quickly touch on the just-completed NBA Finals.

Anyone who read my column prior to Game 1 knows that the end result was very satisfying to me. Dallas proved to be the better team and good triumphed over evil, but it’s now time to adopt a new narrative.

My venom towards the Heat was mainly a product of this year’s arrogance, stemming from the offseason and all the misguided maneuvering Miami engaged in last summer.

That’s over now. They got their comeuppance. While I won’t ever bring myself to root for them, I’m no longer interested in seeing LeBron James fail. I want him to be one of the greatest of all time. Hopefully this was the shot in the arm he needed to get his priorities in order to make that a reality.

As for me, I’ll now be focusing on becoming the best one or two-nights-a-week pick-up basketball player I can be.

I’m staying on-island, so I’m sure I’ll see some of you around the neighborhood.

If you need to get in touch with me, contact the paper. They know where to find me (most of the time).

Mahalo nui loa. Aloha.

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