Kalani Simpson


By Kalani Simpson

Tuesday, June 26, 2001

Konishi deserves
his long-overdue

IT seems like Chad Konishi, the new University of Hawaii assistant baseball coach, and I have a little in common.

First, after years of toiling his way up through obscurity on the mainland, he finally got a chance to come home.

Second, when he finally got his big opportunity, everybody said, "Who?"

Third, did I mention that after years of toiling his way up through obscurity on the mainland, he finally got a chance to come home?

That's tough. I know.

There's only one Hawaii. And in Hawaii, often there are a limited number of jobs in your field. And they're filled. And they've been filled for 15, 20, 30 years.

We can't just try the next town. There's only one. The next state is five hours by plane and a world away.

It's not like going from Illinois to Indiana, California to Washington or Massachusetts to Rhode Island.

There is no substitute.

(It's rough out there. The rice doesn't even stick together.)

And if you want to coach Division I baseball in Hawaii, there's only one place you can do it. (UH-Hilo only recently joined the ranks, and we'll see how long they hang on.)

Are you going to break into the staff at UH? You can try. You can coach high schools for 20 years and hope something happens.

Do you give up?

Or do you leave?

Many people, in many fields, have given up -- or rather moved on to other things.

Many have left.

You leave and you work and you hope. You make your name on the mainland. With each step, you cast a hopeful eye toward home.

The people are nice, but it's not the same. Nothing is the same. You get used to it. But you also spend many a night cursing the cold and wondering if you'll ever make it back to where you belong.

Should you have stayed and started from the bottom here? Did you make the right choice?

Chad Konishi made the right choice.

IT HAPPENED for him, somehow.

Sometimes in life, as in sports, it can all come together. If you work and believe and improve, the world can open up for you. Sometimes. If you're very, very lucky.


There are people on the mainland thinking it should have been them. People still working and hoping for their chance, still dreaming of sweet breezes and laulau, of mountains and valleys, of green fields and clear waters and blue skies and speech that sounds like music.

If you've never had to leave, if you've somehow been able to stay in the land that you love, doing what you've wanted to do, know how lucky you are. If you're one of those people who's had one of those good jobs for the past 20 years, take a second to appreciate it.

The new coach and I certainly will. We've seen the other side.

And now Chad Konishi is coming home.

It's wonderful to see Hawaii people making good, making it back to the islands. A homecoming is a beautiful thing.

Even if everybody says, "Who?" when you get there.

But I know you, coach.

Welcome back.

We deserve it.

Everybody does.

Kalani Simpson's column runs Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays.
He can be reached at

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