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Keeping Score

By Cindy Luis

Wednesday, September 20, 2000

Book covers isle
sports from A to Z

LOOKING for something to pass the time while waiting for TV to catch up with the Olympic action? How about a good book?

From baseball to wrestling. From miscellaneous A (adventure racing) to Z (actually U for underwater hockey).

Dan Cisco's "Hawaii Sports" doesn't claim to be the definitive source for island athletic data. But it comes pretty close.

It's 651 pages of statistics, records, anecdotes and trivia. It's entertaining and informative at the same time.

It's also a labor of love for Cisco, a librarian by day and sports fan the rest of the time.

"When I came to Hawaii (in 1986), I discovered that there was no real hall of fame and not too many books on Hawaii sports,'' said Cisco, who grew up in Southern California. "And there was nothing about how sports evolved in Hawaii. That gave me the energy to pursue this. It was a real challenge.''

It was also a labor of love.

Cisco squeezed in the research while working on his master's degree in library and information studies from the University of Hawaii. His master's thesis on sports in Hawaii was the basis for the book.

"The problem was I didn't have a base to work with,'' said Cisco, who began his work more than 10 years ago. "I did a lot of personal interviews, went through game programs and used microfiche.

"A lot of the information came from the mainland, places like the Volleyball Hall of Fame. It would be easier to start now because of the Internet.''

The book was published last year (University of Hawaii Press, $24.95). Cisco considers it an ongoing project.

"This is a work in progress,'' he said. "The original research was the hardest and I'm hoping the revisions won't take as long.

"So much more needs to be done and I'm hoping that people will come forth with information. I want to update this every three to four years.''

THE hardest sports to document, said Cisco, were the "minor'' ones that he lists under "Miscellaneous." He might as well have called it "Obscure.''

There's Jacob Keliikipi, who moved from the Big Island to Mexico to pursue his bullfighting career. Known as "El Hawaiian,'' Keliikipi had a successful career in the 1960s before retiring to Florida.

There's a vignette about fencing and the 1980s TV show "Magnum P.I." After helping out as a technical adviser, local fencer Don Appling was able to buy the electronic scoring box from the show's staff. Before that, Hawaii's fencing meets had to be scored manually.

"Did You Know?" items range from the first state snowboarding championships (on Mauna Kea in 1994) to cricket (debuting in the 1860s thanks to King Kamehameha IV).

Cisco wants to continue his work with more in-depth information on sports that were only touched upon in the initial printing.

"I want to get more information on sports like softball and cycling,'' he said. "I'd like to also have a section for traditional Hawaiian sports and sports unique to Hawaii, like canoe paddling.

"I tried my best to give equal treatment to men's and women's sports but women's sports have not been that well-documented. I think with the growth and interest, it will be easier to obtain information.''

The book is more than names and stats. Cisco has tried to personalize it with narratives about the first documented competition held in a sport.

"This is more than just sports,'' he said. "It's Hawaii. I was lucky that I could combine my love of reference and research with sports.''

Hawaii sports fans can consider themselves lucky as well.

Cindy Luis is Star-Bulletin sports editor.
Her column appears weekly.

E-mail to Sports Editor

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