1 One Sunday In Perry
2 What the Army Taught Me
3 Not My Mother's Shopping List
4 Brain Calisthenics
5 The Pono Nano Diet
6 Oatmeal Jim-Jams
7 A Walk in the Park
8 Escape to California
10 Printer's Devil
11 Pono - The Addict
13 Love in the Woods
14 It's a Small World
15 Culinary Crutches
16 We Want Sandin
17 Better With Age
18 Parallel Universes
19 Mårten Nilsson Finne
20 Hawaii Is A State
21 Shake-em-up Flashlight
22 The Use of E-mail
23 Normal American Schoolboy
24 Lake Gogebic Early Days
WE WANT SANDIN
Recognition is a wonderful thing, right? Well, maybe not always.
I attended high school in a small rural agricultural school. In my senior year, there were 44 of us and only 11 boys. Tiny Tim could have been a starter on the football team, but he might have had to settle for second team in basketball. I would probably have been chosen after Tiny Tim.
I played (at) football for a year and a fraction, and I really got excited about basketball until I discovered that I had bursitis in both shoulders and also was endowed with two left feet. Nevertheless, I served as fodder for the good guys during practice, followed the teams on their regular schedule, and usually got to play the last two minutes unless the game was close and mattered.
Two vignettes stick with me. Once during practice, something got me a little worked up and I stole the ball from one of our aces as he was dribbling casually without regard for me. I heard the coach say “Where did that come from?” A couple of minutes later as I continued to harass the ace, he passed the ball with both hands straight at my face from about 3 feet. With my lightning reflexes, I assessed the threat, directed my hands to deflect the ball, and directed my head to turn away from the path of the ball – all about 4 seconds after I received the facial. Somehow I lost my incentive.
The second memory was of football practice. I occupied the position of right guard (I suppose some would say “I played right guard” but that would give what I did too much dignity). Coach was ragging me to put some energy into it, and for about 4 plays, I gave it everything I had. Now remember that this was an agricultural school and I was a town boy. I was absolutely no match for those big husky farm boys and I was pulverized. Mediocrity reigned from then on no matter what coach said.
I recall that I scored 3 points in one basketball game (one field goal and one free throw) and I suppose I accidentally participated in a tackle once or twice in one of those sports. Needless to say I didn’t achieve a lot of recognition – except once.
We were a C conference team (whatever that means) and played mostly in our own conference with other C teams. Once in a while to fill our schedule we would play a nearby team in a higher or lower conference. One Friday night we played a D team and of course laughed about how easy it was going to be. To make a long story short, we got warped.
The school didn’t have a gym. They had purchased an old church and put in a raised floor and bleacher seats. Nothing was quite to regulation. The floor was narrow. If you went out on one side or either end you hit the wall. On the other side you would fall into a pit in front of the bleachers. Proximity of the walls gave us all claustrophobia.
But the worst part was the height of the ceiling. Lay-ups were fine, but shots at the basket taken from any distance beyond about 10 feet using the usual trajectory hit the ceiling! The aces were flummoxed. The home team was very accustomed to the place and they were deadly as they took very flat shots off the backboard.
By early in the second half it became obvious that we were going home sad. The ridiculous nature of the whole thing started getting to the fans. Someone (I never have found out who) started yelling “We want Sandin”. It caught on and there was wave after wave of yells. I was on the end of the bench farthest away from coach, and I wished I could crawl under the raised floor and disappear. The coach ignored the sporadic recurrence of yells until the usual last two minutes. We were so far behind it certainly didn’t matter, so I got the call. By that time the fans that were left were either too tired or too bored to remember and I got just scattered applause and no more yells. I didn’t fall down and the game finished and I showered and went home, having had all I wanted of recognition for one day!
Now that I’m older, I’m beginning to get the right kind of recognition. The government has designated my birthday (9/11) as Patriot Day and in addition they have put my name (Pono) on the official Hawaii State quarter. Why they didn’t add my surname, I don’t know. We want Sandin!
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