Ching found his own way to U.S. team
THINGS you think about while putting up the Boys Day fish:
» Brian Ching is our one great hope. Our shining star. The example of success we can all point to.
As proof that someone in Hawaii can crack a national team, that local kids can be big-time in soccer?
No. Well, yes. But, no -- that's not what I mean.
Brian Ching is only the latest, greatest proof that you don't need to specialize. You can be a multi-sport guy, you can try to enjoy everything and still make it to the top (if you're good enough, of course; 99 percent of people don't make it to the top of pro sports no matter what they do). You don't need to pick a sport at age 4 and stick with it, at the expense of all the rest.
Yes, we have the story of Annika Sorenstam -- only the greatest woman golfer of all time -- picking up golf at age 12, instead of having been immersed in it for six years by then. But nobody listens.
Now it's all about traveling teams and kids getting into elite programs before they crack their teens and club coaches giving you all-or-nothing ultimatums. Specialization. Fewer multi-sport kids.
Sure, Ching played for the local club powerhouse, the Honolulu Bulls. But he never played soccer year-round. He always enjoyed other sports, too.
Now he's on Team USA. We should think about that the next time we believe our kids need to be in the pro pipeline 24-7.
» Oh, my goodness, the baseball 'Bows are at the top of the WAC standings. You know, it's probably a good thing they're on the road for the last month of the season, where it's just them and the game, quietly, just play. If they were at home and in first place the overkill would be crazy, people are so hungry for Hawaii to be good in baseball again. I know I personally would be foaming at the mouth.
» Is it significant that Michelle Wie made the cut in a men's event in Korea? Of course. But the best part of the story was that onlookers from the highway created a traffic jam and then the cops started doing a "Nothing to see here, move along!" with a megaphone (to be heard over the blaring siren, of course) while she was trying to putt.
» Ching. Wie. Now here comes another guy who might be the next big splash out of the islands, tennis ace Dennis Lajola. The 16-year-old is home this week as part of the USTA tennis bonanza.
» And now, more reader e-mail: "Great story on Chris Smith. At 5 years old the little (big) teddy bear was on my soccer team called the Huggers, made up of boys and girls. They had to hug each other before each game. ..."
Again, this has been reader e-mail.