Finding an escape route from reality no easy task

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island file

    Kapa‘a High softball coach Micah Furtado gives advice to a runner at third before the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation season was prematurely canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

No athlete in the history of sports would financially benefit from a global pandemic that ravaged the global economy more than sports’ ultimate pitchman, Michael Jordan.

Through impeccable timing, “The Last Dance,” a 10-part docuseries chronicling Michael Jordan’s rise from a high school blue-chipper to becoming a worldwide phenomenon, has caused mass post-career Jordan hysteria.

Collectors and fans alike are once again clamoring for anything with Jordan’s name and likeness.

They are bidding on eBay for his memorabilia, and they are doing it quickly.

Through this docuseries, Jordan went from being a cultural icon to another brush with immortality.

Go figure.

An online sports memorabilia auction last week included a ticket stub from an NBA preseason game between the Chicago Bulls and the Indiana Pacers, played Oct. 5, 1984, at the Peoria (Illinois) Civic Center Arena, according to an article published in the Peoria Journal Star sports section. This was rookie Jordan’s first game as a professional basketball player.

The original ticket price for a seat in the second row was $8, and the stub sold for $34,800.

Collecting memorabilia is just one escape from the bombardment of fear-mongering and frightening statistics we’ve all endured during this pandemic.

From murder hornets to death tolls, a brain that suffers emotional stress is one that needs an escape route.

Baseball cards are one psychological ploy to allow temporary disappearance from the grim reality of our state of affairs, and if you can’t afford Jordan cards, there are other options.

Former Kapa‘a standout Micah Furtado is more into surfing than collecting baseball cards these days, but during his playing days he was a member of the Texas Rangers.

While playing with the Rangers’ organization, Furtado’s fortitude not only got him noticed by his organization but also by some of the top-name brand cards of the hobby, including Bowman and Topps, in 2005.

From Mickey Mantle to Albert Pujols, a 2001 Bowman rookie, the Topps Company has produced some of the most iconic cards.

Furtado’s rookie cards and parallel refractor insert cards can be found for between $1 and $10 on eBay for the former Warriors’ star. For him, getting to play with the best the world had to offer will be something the Kapa‘a grad will always cherish.

“You kind of always emulated your style after baseball cards when you were a kid,” Furtado said. “I never really had watched TV back in the day, but I would always look at my favorite players and their poses, and study their swing. It was neat to be approached by these guys (during my career), and it was an affirmation things were becoming a reality. Having your card is something special that you will always have.”

Furtado is more into the outdoors than he is collecting baseball cards, and he surfs three to four times a week to relax his mind from the rigors of life.

“I would say about three to four times a week I surf in the early morning, and then get a quick session and get back to the family that needs me around the home,” Furtado said.

Furtado, who is now coaching softball at Kapa‘a High School, is more focused on a place where he once starred and on the players he coaches. He hopes his graduating seniors Taelyn “Koko” Dakamas and Kaylana “Mags” Maghanoy, can learn valuable lessons from the pandemic.

Furtado, who will always have memories and the knowledge he acquired from playing baseball at some of its highest levels, hopes he can pass on his knowledge and experience to his seniors and children.

From Noa Cardinez, a player looking to get drafted by Major League baseball or will get a chance to play for the University of Hawai‘i, to the average senior, none of these 2020 graduates with bright futures has seen their own “Last Dance.”

“Seniors shouldn’t think of their senior year as their ‘Last Dance,’ because the school year faded away early,” Furtado said. “They need to go out and make a name for themselves, whether it be playing college ball, graduating from college or whatever they choose to do in their work life to make an impact for themselves.”

Sometimes our best escape is the reality we create.

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Jason Blasco, sports reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or jblasco@thegardenisland.com.

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