Kalani Simpson Sidelines

Kalani Simpson

Shoji using all 1,000
lessons this season

ONE thousand. Tomorrow night, if all goes well, Dave Shoji will have coached in 1,000 matches for Hawaii. That's a staggering number.

It boggles the mind. Or at least minds easily boggled, like mine.

One thousand. It makes you think. Have I ever done anything 1,000 times?

Hit the "snooze" button, maybe.

I've eaten 1,000 potato chips. At least.

Wilson Pickett once sang of 1,000 dances.

I think Paul Arnett may have 1,000 hats.

But 1,000 volleyball matches! That's incredible.

Shoji has coached this team 1,000 times.

There is a section, in this year's Rainbow Wahine volleyball media guide, that highlights all the memories. It remembers all the highlights. And there are many. Many.

(It's called "Shoji Through the Years." I would have gone with "30 Years of Dave." But that is just me.)

In it, Shoji does not have 1,000 hairdos. Not quite.

It also shows the cover of every year's media guide back to 1976, which is apparently when they started printing them. On many, there are players. On some, trophies. On one, the "Magnum P.I." car. My favorite is 1984 -- on the cover, Shoji is wearing a tuxedo and seems to be performing some kind of magic trick.

But this one may be one of the best he's ever pulled out of a hat.

It's fitting that this landmark comes in a year in which he's coaching his okole off. And one in which that's working.

It's perfect that this night happens to fall at a time when this state is celebrating this team the way it is right now.

It's great that No. 1,000 comes at a time when everyone is already having so much fun, in a season that is already special, with players who are smart enough (or young enough) to savor every emotion, every rally, every win.

The comebacks. The momentum. The excitement. The hugs.

The best part is that everyone knows enough to enjoy it in the moment, as it happens, in real time.

It helps you understand what No. 1,000 really means.

Too often these "feel-good" moments come too late. Too often they're bittersweet reminders of greatness that is already gone.

Too often these come on the downhill slide. Too often, they come at the end.

Too often the best part is they help you forget, just for a moment.

But no. Now, this happens just when everyone acknowledges that these are good times. Good times again. Good times still.

This one makes you remember.

This shows that Shoji can still exceed expectations. That the Rainbow Wahine can still make you sit up in your seat and hold your breath and go along for the ride in this year of pleasant surprise.

This lets you know that, just in case you missed it, this is what it must have been like.

So, good. One thousand. What a picture.

One thousand. What a number.

It's a staggering number.

This one comes at the perfect time.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Kalani Simpson can be reached at ksimpson@starbulletin.com



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