26 Years Of Meeting Good Sports

UH volleyball star Teee Williams was an early column subject for the author. Star-Advertiser photo

UH volleyball star Teee Williams was an early column subject for the author. Star-Advertiser photo

I’m thrilled to say Happy 30th Birthday to MidWeek. I’m especially humbled to think that I’ve been writing for this great publication for 26 of those years. I remember back in the late ’80s how honored I was to attend a dinner of local MidWeek columnists hosted by then-publisher Ken Berry in Waikiki that included Larry Price, Bob Jones, Dan Boylan, myself, and the late Eddie Sherman. We were a small group, but already very proud of MidWeek‘s ability to touch local people’s lives while also making a positive difference in the community.

I wrote my first published story for our weekly magazine back in the fall of 1988; I believe it was a feature about a kite-flying enthusiast who owned a shop at Ala Moana and regularly flew his amazing kites at Sandy Beach and taught others too. Within the next several columns, there were stories about University of Hawaii football, Wahine volleyball, Rainbow basketball, high school sports, island recreational activities and much more.

But most of the features were about people. And most were focused on the positive. That seemed to resonate with readers. I was used to getting stopped in the grocery store or the movie theater or at a ball game because of my association with KHON Channel 2 News. Now people were also approaching me to say they had just read the latest edition of Mid-Week. And most of the time, they came up to me with a smile.

They wanted to tell me how much they enjoyed the story about Teee Williams or Garrett Gabriel or Aileen Soule or the Little League Mom. And they didn’t just speak with me about my column — most often they would also have something nice to say about MidWeek in general. Soon I found that just about everybody read us — coaches, athletes, sports fans, politicians, entertainers, executives, laborers, teachers, administrators, retirees, doctors, dentists, attorneys, professionals and staff members in virtually every line of work, and moms and dads, sons and daughters, and of course, grandpas and grandmas.

When I wrote a tribute to my own grandpa, Peter McLachlan, on the occasion of his 100th birthday in 1998 — he had lived in Manoa and Honolulu since the early 1920s, and worked for Dole Pineapple for more than three decades — I received a considerable amount of both regular mail and e-mail. Readers wanted to tell me their own memories about “the old days” or loving stories about their own grandparents.

Very often, some of these letters or emails turned into columns of their own. That was the beauty of the independently creative format. One local story begets another and that one turns into yet another idea. The options to write about were endless, and many of the stories were timeless. Please keep your ideas coming my way.

I’ve been lucky enough to grow right along with MidWeek, from sportscaster and coach to state legislator and eventually PacWest Commissioner, and wherever I am I love catching up with up-and-coming local sports stars, island athletic legends of the past, and those wonderful people who make Hawaii the special place it is.

Helping guide me during the better part of the past three decades have been MidWeek editors Vera Benedek and Don Chapman, and Terri Hefner who’s served with both. Their support, encouragement and suggestions spur me on week to week. We should all be so lucky to have supervisors so positive and so great to work with. They help make MidWeek a great place to read — and to write, too.

Here’s to the next 30 years!