Catching Up With Past Subjects
Wednesday - November 17, 2010
I’ve written for MidWeek for more than 22 years now, and it warms my heart when I run into people who come up to me proudly and humbly to update me on subjects I’ve written about. Here are some recent updates:
Back in 2005, I wrote about the local Cal Ripken youth baseball team that won its 11-and 12-year-old world championship the same time that West Oahu won the Little League World Series title. The other day, I received a Facebook message from Mike DePonte, the Honolulu firefighter whose son Jordan was a pitcher on that Cal Ripken all-star team.
He wanted to let me know that the 12-year-old boy that I featured five years ago (he says he still has the MidWeek column) is now a strapping 6-foot 1-inch, 175-pound senior pitcher for Moanalua High School and was about to sign a National Letter of Intent to play baseball for the University of Hawaii. “It’s incredible to see these kids growing up,” Mike tells me. “Jordan always wanted to be a Rainbow and I’m so happy he’s staying home.”
The younger DePonte, who had his fastball clocked at more than 90 mph in the Arizona Fall Showcase Tournament in Peoria, Ariz., last month, is one of two former youth all-stars from that incredible summer of 2005 who have signed with Hawaii. The other is Saint Louis football and baseball star Layson Kaeo Aliviado, whose dad Layton was the coach of that team from Ewa.
It’s great to know that we’ll be cheering on Jordan and Kaeo at Murakami Stadium for years to come.
In early 2009, I wrote about Kamehameha’s Micah Christenson for the first time. The silky smooth 6-foot 5-inch Christenson had just made a name for himself in the HHSAA boys basketball state tournament as just a sophomore, but I noted that his biggest moments ahead would come in the sport of volleyball.
I recently ran into Micah’s mother, Charlene, the former volleyball All-American and three-time national champion at UH-Hilo, at the Kamehameha Senior Luau. When I asked about Micah, she graciously escorted me over to her son so I could hear his latest news.
When I asked him if he had made a college choice yet, he smiled broadly and said, “USC. I just got back from a great visit there, and I’m excited to play for them.”
Christenson, who will lead the Warriors into state championship contention in both basketball and volleyball this year, has had a busy off-season in volleyball. This past summer, he was the second-youngest player on the U.S. Junior National Team after previously starring for the U.S. Youth National Team.
Anational volleyball web-site said that Christenson was so impressive that he quickly turned from a “rookie into a leader.” Could a future Olympics be too far off?
And finally, in 2008 I wrote about Kailua master swimmer Mike Miller and his historic quest to swim the English Channel with his daughter Mackenzie. As you recall, Mike made the frigid crossing, but Mackenzie was stopped short.
I ran into Mike’s wife and Mackenzie’s mom, my former Channel 2 News colleague Laura Soller Miller, at the Hawaii Five-0 opening, and she told me that both were still swimming full throttle. Mackenzie competes for Orange Coast College in California, while Mike was one of 10 invited swimmers who completed the Gertrude Ederle New York Harbor Swim last month.
“We started at Battery Park near Ground Zero and swam to the shore of New Jersey (a distance of 17.5 miles),” Mike says. “At 55 degrees, it was significantly colder than the English Channel I did. But it was an honor to be invited. Gertrude was the first woman to ever swim the English Channel, and we swam it on her birthday (Oct. 23).”
Some great updates from people I consider to be part of our extended MidWeek family.
Congratulations to all!
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