A Ring Comes Home 22 Years Later
This is the story of a former Hawaii high school baseball star, a championship ring, a retired submarine officer and persistence. It’s the story of misfortunate at Lanai Lookout and then incredible luck there some 22 years later. “It’s unbelievable,” says Kyle Hara.
Hara is the former baseball star. He was the Player of the Year for Mid-Pacific in the spring of 1990, pitching the Owls to the state title. That summer, Hara went to Lanai Lookout with some of his friends, proudly wearing the championship ring he had earned. “We were just messing around,” he recalls of jumping into the water when, “the ring came flying off.”
Hara went back to the spot he lost the ring the next day, but couldn’t locate it. “It was just gone,” he says. As much as he treasured the ring and what it meant, he figured he would never see it again.
Flash forward to late July 2012 when former Lt. Cmdr. Paul Hasley went diving.
“We took a few dives at Lanai Lookout near Hanauma Bay,” he says. “I had gone down on a couple of deep dives when I decided to go down for a third time, this time for a shallow dive in the 30- to 40-foot range.”
He says the weather was cloudy that day, and as he made his way down the ledges, “the sun suddenly came out and shined on a deep pocket of coral,” he says. “I saw a glint of some thing unusual, something that didn’t seem to belong there.” He went to investigate closer. “If the sun had not shined bright at that exact moment, I never would have seen it.”
The glint turned out to be a ring partially covered with coral. Hasley brought it to the surface to get a better look. “I could definitely see that it was a championship ring,” he says. He says he could make out words like “K Hara” and “Mid-Pacific” and “1990.”
Hasley was now intrigued. He wanted to find its owner.
Hasley began to search, but searching wasn’t as easy as he thought. He checked the Internet and phone book and the Mid-Pac alumni association. Everything came up empty. Along the way, he even contacted me via email because of a <I>MidWeek </I>story I had written about the Owls’ longtime head coach Dunn Muramaru, the man who guided Hara and his teammates to that championship 22 years ago.
Hasley kept searching. Finally, he located a couple of addresses in Kaneohe. One of those addresses belonged to Kyle Hara.
“That’s me,” Hara told Hasley.
“Cool,” he recalls saying, “I’ve got your ring.”
Hara, he says, was “very surprised.”
The two agreed to meet later at Pearl Harbor where Hasley now works, and the former lieutenant commander turned over the coral-infested championship ring. “It was unbelievable, says Hara. “It looks pretty good for being there for 22 years.”
“What are the odds?” Hasley says. “For 22 years in the water, it’s in pretty good condition. I get the most satisfaction out of returning it – more than anything else.”
But will Hara be cleaning the ring in order to wear again? “I think I’m going to keep it like this. It looks pretty neat,” he says. “I think I’m going to put it under glass.”