Lisa and Pono Ma’a have always given their children the freedom to participate in any sport that gives them joy. It just so happens that what gives their four children pleasure is the same sport their parents fell in love with and shared for many years.
Pono and Lisa both played volleyball for the University of Hawaii in the early 1980s, with Lisa helping to lead the Wahine to its first national championships in 1982 and 1983. Following their UH careers, their love for one another and for volleyball continued.
Lisa returned to California, joining the newly formed Women’s Professional Volleyball Association, playing exclusively on sand. “Beach volleyball was my first love, and I started playing again for the love it,” she says.
Pono followed his heart, too. He played for three years in Italy before returning to the Mainland to play on the Association of Volleyball Players tour. The two then phased over to a four-person tour and were married, promising they would move back to Hawaii when they were ready to start a family.
Shortly before their oldest child Misty was born, Lisa and Pono returned to Hawaii. Since appearing on MidWeek‘s cover in 1994 - they still have the framed cover - it seems inevitable that volleyball will remain a part of the Ma’as’ life. Misty has developed into a standout player as a junior at Kamehameha, being heavily recruited by top Mainland teams.
The younger three children, Micah, 13, Mehana, 10, and Maluhia, 8, are all playing volleyball too. “They all get to pick and choose what they want to do, but they all seem to enjoy it,” says Lisa. “Our kids never saw us play. To them, we’re just their parents.”
Volleyball for Lisa and Pono nowadays is revived in the backyard of their Kaneohe home. “They are at a point where it gets a little competitive, but it’s really fun,” adds Pono, admissions manager at Kamehameha Schools-Kapalama, his alma mater.
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