Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Every football season, I wish that Baylor had more Polynesians on the field. I love seeing my Poly classmates and distant relatives succeed in sports and it would be amazing to see them on my own team. Polys have always excelled in physical activities (including Makahiki games) and football is one of our main shining sports. As I was researching our greatest players in history, Al Lolotai appeared as the first Polynesian to play in the NFL. I'm disappointed in myself for not knowing this crucial piece of history, so I don't want his legacy to disappear. Al Lolotai was a pioneer for future Polynesian football players in the pros. He went to both Kahuku and ʻIolani before playing at Weber Junior College. In 1945, Lolotai was drafted by the Washington Redskins as an OG where he was the first Samoan NFL player. Lolotai switched to the Los Angeles Dons a year later for which he played four years. After his five year stint in the NFL, Lolotai became a pro wrestler.
Although he only spent a few years in the NFL, Lolotai championed the way for a future generation of Poly football players. If it weren't for Lolotai's hard work and dedication, the likes of Jesse Sapolu, Troy Polamalu, Kurt Goveia, Junior Seau and Marcus Mariota wouldn't have the opportunity to succeed in the pros. There are now over 60 Polynesians in the NFL and the number continues to grow each year. Polys' natural strength, speed and size makes them some of the best athletes in the league. Thank you uncle Al for leading the way for the rest of us. Hopefully Baylor will add more Polynesians on the field in the next few years...
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Today is World Poetry Day and I choose to celebrate with ice cream and personified sunsets. Through Derek Walcott, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Claudia Rankine and other great artists, I can meditate on Truth and beauty. Poetry is my writing of choice and I hope I'll find my own voice one day. Maybe one day my words will bring other people healing and justice, just as the ones above have given me. Happy World Poetry Day, friends. I hope you'll find grace in these pieces.
Monday, March 20, 2017
The transition from winter to spring in the south is unpredictable when dressing. Some days are so cold that I wear three layers of clothing while others force me to sport dresses and flowy shorts. The weather in Louisiana was a mixture of rainy, sunny and freezing (thank you climate change) so I had to mix up a few pieces a day. I wanted to be both comfortable and stylish when we drove from Houston to Louisiana so I sported my coziest jeans, a loose top and my favorite tweed jacket to keep me warm. Because I am also a local tita, I wore my fancy beige slippers to complete the outfit. I threw on my pair of Oʻahu earrings and my three everyday necklaces for a fancy touch.
Sunday, March 19, 2017
The No. 3 seed Baylor men's basketball team held on to defeat No. 11 USC 82-78 in the second round of the NCAA tourney! This game gave me the most stress of my life (I say that after every football/basketball game where we scrape by) and I often stated that I hate basketball. Sometimes I think about all of the stress and anxiety I wouldn't have if I stopped watching sports but then I remember how amazing they are and I slap myself back to reality. Sorry, basketball, I love you and I could never hate you. After shooting 42.9% of field goals and 28.6% of 3's in the first half, the Bears held a mini lead over the Trojans going into halftime, 36-31. USC shot 52% and 44.4% in the first half, respectively. Sophomore G King McClure was Baylor's leader in the first half, scoring the first 3 points of the game and adding steals and 3's to Baylor's lead. Junior F Johnathan Motley followed with few jumpers and fellow junior F Terry Maston added his own mid-range shots. Two dunks by Motley and junior F Jo Lual-Acuil gave the Bears the lead to end the first 20 minutes.
USC struggled on defense in the first half but their offense came alive in the second. Each time Baylor scored (or didn't score), the Trojans would follow with a long 3 or easy jump shot. Sophomore F Bennie Boatwright was an absolute menace, making six of 11 field goals and four of nine 3's, totaling 16 points. Sophomore F Chimezie Metu was the Trojans' star, totaling 28!!!! (just using those exclamation points for emphasis, not proper punctuation) points after nailing 11 of 14 field goals. The second half gave me awake-nightmares as USC seemed to drain each 3 and field goal with ease. At one point, we were struggling to score for a while and the Trojans grabbed a five point lead with less than 10 mins left in the game. I worried that if the Bears couldn't get their offense rolling, the Trojans would literally roll all over us. After Motley fouled out, the odds were stacked even more against us. Fortunately, junior G Manu Lecomte drained his first 3 of the entire tournament at the exact moment we needed him. With 4:40 left in the game, we were down 65-67 and our shots were not falling. Lecomte has had trouble shooting for the past few games and he hadn't made a shot this entire tourney. BUT THANK THE OLD GODS AND THE NEW FOR A CLUTCH FIRE-EMOJI MANU. Lecomte nailed a long 3 and was fouled, giving him a four-point play. After USC turned the ball over, Manu was fouled again so he was back to the free throw line. Two more points plus a made layup gave him eight points in one minute. A final layup by Lecomte and four free throws gave Baylor the game.
The Bears will face South Carolina at Madison Square Garden on Friday with a chance to advance to the Elite Eight!
Friday, March 17, 2017
After back-to-back years of falling in the first round of the NCAA tournament, the Baylor men's basketball team defeated New Mexico State 91-73 and advances to the second round! The Bears started off slowly and gave NMSU numerous chances to hold the game's lead. Baylor played well offensively in the first half, but NMSU dropped 3's like it was nobody's business. They couldn't miss! If the Aggies continued to make every 3, the Bears would be in dangerous territory. However, Baylor stepped up their game and kept the game close at halftime, 38-40. The Bears shot 55.2% of first half field goals and 60% of their 3's. When F Johnathan Motley was benched in the first half due to early foul trouble, coach Drew made lineup adjustments and added G Al Freeman and F Terry Maston to the rounds. In the second half, however, they kept the shooting up and made 59.4% and 33.3%, respectively. Al Freeman had the game of his career with 21 points and Maston joined him with 19 points. The Baylor bench contributed greatly to the outcome of the game and allowed the starters chance to breathe. A handful of blocks from F Jo Lual-Acuil and a couple dunks later, the Bears were on a 32-6 run to give them the game. The Bears worked tirelessly to come back from a mediocre first half and showed the nation how competitive they can be. They will face USC on Sunday and fight for a chance to play in the Sweet Sixteen.
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Song Contest is the most unique experience for Kamehameha students and alumni. Over the past 97 years, hundreds of nā pua a Pauahi work tirelessly to perform exceptional Hawaiian pieces. The men, women and coed songs are each memorized and sung a cappella in front of a collection of judges. I love song contest because it brings each class together and helps them to form a lifelong bond. Although there have been trophy disappointments over the years, there's nothing like singing Hawaiian music with hundreds of kanaka maoli. Tomorrow is the 97th Song Contest and I hope that each class enjoys the moment while it lasts! Enjoy some of my favorite pieces my class sang in our high school career.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
While I originally thought I would spend a week without school sleeping in my apartment, I instead followed my friend Rachel to her home in Baton Rouge. I had never been to Louisiana before and feared that everyone would be like Duck Dynasty's Robertson family. Fortunately Rachel's mom made us every Japanese food we could want and a nearby Trader Joe's meant lots of cookie boxes for purchase! One day we drove to New Orleans and walked down Bourbon St. Just a heads up: post-Mardi Gras is pretty nasty and the streets all smell bad but the journey was worth it! I ate my first beignets at Café Du Monde just like any typical tourist and then had even better ones at a place called Coffee Calls in Baton Rouge. My whole break pretty much consisted of crawfish, beignets and amazing Japanese food so I had no complaints!
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
When I was a kid, the Warriors and the Cavs weren't the best teams in the NBA and Steph Curry was simply an adolescent. Every one of my boy classmates loved the Lakers and the Heat and idolized LeBron James, Shaq, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Garnett and Dwayne Wade. Although I didn't care about basketball in the days of my youth (yuck I hate that phrase), I've always known about Dallas Mavericks PF Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk began his NBA career a couple years after I was born and his name is often equated with success. After 18 seasons with the Mavs, Dirk recorded his 30,000th career point. Regarded as one of the greatest power forwards in NBA history, Dirk helped lead the Mavs to 15 NBA playoffs including the team's first and only NBA championship in 2011. The 13-time All-Star and 12-time All-NBA player is one of the franchise's most impactful player of all time.
I was lucky enough to watch Dirk play in real life and I was amazed by his grace and agility. At 7-0 and 245 pounds, I wouldn't expect such a large man to float across the court with ease. Although I didn't get to see his record breaking career points, I'll always be a fan of his. While athletic greatness comes and goes, Dirk will always have a permanent place in NBA history.
Monday, March 13, 2017
In a perfect world, I would summon Zora Neale Hurston's Truths and spout poetic beauty every day. Poetry contains the only words I truly believe in nowadays and each letter has helped me cope in a damning world. I've been studying each daily poem I receive from poets.org (the absolute greatest website in existence) and meditating on a new religion. These pieces of art were written by both known and unknown authors and I hope to be like them one day. If only I could easily create art! Why is beauty so damn difficult to construct? For now I'm cleansing myself of the struggles, death, deception, disgust and fear and choosing to love through my words. I hope these inspire you.
Sunday, March 12, 2017
The Baylor men's basketball team is going dancing for the fourth consecutive year! On Selection Sunday, the Bears were selected as a 3-seed in the East Region of the NCAA tourney. They will play New Mexico State in the first round on Friday. Tip off is scheduled for 11:40 a.m. on Friday. Unfortunately, Baylor's path to the final four is treacherous with potential games against SMU, Duke and Villanova. However, I've repeatedly stated how much faith I have in this unique team from the beginning. When the Bears faced then-ranked No. 10 Louisville in the Bahamas, they faced a 30-point deficit in the game. With their tenacity and perseverance, Baylor stormed back to defeat the highly ranked team and then added a handful of top 10 wins to their resume. Although they've recently had trouble shooting, I'm hoping that a healthy Manu Lecomte assisted by Al Freeman, Jake Lindsey and Johnathan Motley will bring the team back to their original greatness.
Friday, March 10, 2017
I hate the Patriots more than almost anything (except Mexican food, Gary Patterson, loud girls, Trump/Pence, etc.) so I was dismayed when I discovered a love for TE Martellus Bennett. My uncle is randomly friends with Martellus' brother Michael (Seahawks DE), whom I also love, but am currently more fond of the former. Marcellus is an author, artist, father, husband and football player who was a five star recruit in high school. Although he was recruited by many power 5 schools, Bennett chose Texas A&M. In his collegiate career, Bennett recorded 105 catches for 1,246 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round of the 2008 NFL draft as the 61st pick. After bouncing around between the Cowboys, New York Giants and Chicago Bears, Bennett spent the 2016 with the Patriots (barf) where he earned his first Super Bowl ring.
Martellus is extremely vocal about his desire to write and create art. He created the Imagination Agency to produce films and books including Hey A.J. It's Saturday for his daughter. Bennett recognized a lack of minority characters in books, so he decided to write his own. Through writing, Bennett has given children of color an inspirational figure to look up to. He's encouraged children to pursue filmmaking, painting, coding, politics, engineering and other non-athletic careers. His philanthropic work includes donations to children's hospitals and supporting other charities like his brother Michael.
The Packers announced their acquiring of Bennett this morning where he'll be joining my favorite S HaHa Clinton-Dix. I guess I'll have to try and get over my hatred of Clay Matthews to become a Packers fan now!
Thursday, March 9, 2017
Ah my poor Bears. In the Quarterfinal round of the Big 12 tournament, Kansas State triumphed over my beloved Baylor 70-64. The Bears started off with a strong run including a dunk by junior F Jo Lual-Acuil to score the first points of the game. Unfortunately, the Bears struggled offensively throughout the entirety of the game with their best shooter in junior G Manu Lecomte sitting out for a majority of play. Lecomte has had difficulty draining balls with an injured ankle after the Kansas game, forcing sophomore G Jake Lindsey to start. The Bears were only making 44% of their field goals and 37.5% of their three's in the first half while Kansas State shot 41.7% and 33.3%, respectively. With both teams bumbling around on offense in the first half, the game was tied 25-25 at the half.
Lecomte made strides in the second half, hitting three's and knocking down jumpers with ease. Unfortunately, the Bears didn't have enough time left in the game for Lecomte's efforts to make a difference. Kansas State's players were making almost every three and kept full control of the game until the end. In the second half, the Wildcats made 13-20 field goals and 3-5 three's, while the Bears made 14-30 and 4-9, respectively. F D.J. Johnson, G Kamau Stokes and G Barry Brown were Kansas State's impact players who challenged Baylor every chance they could.
The Bears will need a lot of rest and recovery for the upcoming NCAA tournament, but their resume and record against ranked teams gives me hope for their championship bid!
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
I've always admired strong male figures in both history and my life- Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, King Kalākaua, King Kamehameha, Marvin Gaye, Bernie Sanders, Bill Snyder, my former band director Mr. Riggle, my dad, grandpa and papa. Unfortunately, through my adoration of creative, intelligent and determined men, I dismissed all of the inspiring women who have created movements. Women are the creators of life; every single being was delivered through a woman. On this International Women's Day, I wanted to recognize the beautiful, powerful, empowering women I look up to and admire. Papahānaumoku, Rosa Parks, Anne Frank, Michelle Obama, Ke Aliʻi Pauahi, Toni Morrison, Queen Liliʻuokalani, Zora Neale Hurston, Linda Sarsou, my mother, my sister, my grandmothers and my friends. These women have birthed me, helped me grow, taught me, inspired me and have made me who I am. WoC, undocumented women, LGBTQ women, Muslim women, women with disabilities, today is for us all.
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
I first discovered Adam Gase when I was researching football coaches without playing experience. As a female aspiring coach, it's difficult to find inspirational figures I can relate to, but Gase is as close as it gets for me. Adam Gase was a mediocre high school football player who loved the statistics and technical numbers of the game. He fervently studied all aspects of football and broke down his opponents' strengths and weaknesses. Gase's coach Rich Hulkow took notice of his football knowledge and recommended his hiring to the then-head coach at Michigan State, Nick Saban. Saban hired Gase to work for him throughout his undergraduate career and was so impressed that Gase was the only assistant he brought with him to LSU. After his stint as a grad assistant, Gase moved back to Michigan where he vied for the Detroit Lions' offensive quality control position. He then worked his way up as an offensive assistant and eventually became the quarterbacks coach for four years. In 2008, Gase moved to San Francisco and became an offensive assistant for the 49ers. He spent the majority of his coaching career with the Denver Broncos as he worked a majority of the offensive roles including wide receivers coach and quarterbacks coach before developing into the offensive coordinator. In 2015, Gase became the offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears and was named the head coach for the Miami Dolphins in 2016- the youngest head coach in the NFL.
Gase's unique journey toward becoming a young and successful NFL coach has inspired me not to give up on my dreams. Even though it will be more difficult for a woman without playing experience to find a spot in CFB or the NFL, I know it's not impossible with hard work and determination.
Monday, March 6, 2017
The best sports moments are sudden and unexpected. Hail marys, buzzer beaters, half court shots and grand slams (I know nothing about baseball so that term could be used inaccurately haha) bring excitement to all sports fans no matter which team they're cheering for. This weekend saw two of my favorite basketball and baseball moments for the Spurs and Baylor, respectively. San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard is a freaking monster who excels on both ends of the court. In Monday's game against the Rockets, Leonard made a game winning three before running back to block the Rockets' last shot. Leonard's performance will launch him into MVP discussions and shocked both fans and haters. My second favorite achievement of the weekend is Baylor baseball's win over No. 11 Texas A&M via a grand slam. The Bears were down 2-3 at the bottom of the 9th (please ignore everything I'm saying if it's wrong, I know 3% baseball facts) with the bases loaded as Tucker Cascadden launched a bullet to win the game 6-3. Although I'm not a baseball fan, I love seeing happy Bears congregate in a jumping circle. Which sports moments were your favorite this weekend?
Sunday, March 5, 2017
The Big 12 announced their men's basketball postseason awards and Baylor was a top winner! Kansas, West Virginia and Baylor split the awards with the Bears nabbing spots in each team.
Coach of the Year: Bill Self, Kansas
Player of the Year: Frank Mason III, Kansas
Defensive Player of the Year: Jevon Carter, West Virginia
Newcomer of the Year: Manu Lecomte, Baylor
Freshman of the Year: Josh Jackson, Kansas
Sixth Man: Tarik Phillip, West Virginia
Junior F Johnathan Motley was unanimously named to the All-Big 12 First Team along with Monté Morris (Iowa State), Josh Jackson (Kansas), Frank Mason III (Kansas) and Jawun Evans (Oklahoma State). Junior G Manu Lecomte was placed in the All-Big 12 Third Team with Deonte Burton (Iowa State), Wesley Iwundu (Kansas State), Jarrett Allen (Texas), Keenan Evans (Texas Tech) and Nathan Adrian (West Virginia). Senior G Ishmail Wainright was also named to All-Big 12 Honorable Mention. Junior F Jo Lual-Acuil and Wainright were both added to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team with Vladimir Brodziansky (TCU), Nathan Adrian (West Virginia) and Jevon Carter (West Virginia). Lecomte and Acuil were also chosen for the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team as well as Josh Jackson (Kansas), Kameron McGusty (Oklahoma), Alex Robinson (TCU) and Jarrett Allen (Texas).