‘Grandpa’ Never Sounded So Good

While the world got excited about the new royal baby last week, we had similar excitement in our family – I became a grandfather for the first time.

My daughter Jesica, who grew up in Kailua and attended St. Anthony School before graduating from Iolani, gave birth to a baby boy – Micah Steven Rothwell. Jesica’s husband Steve is an HPU graduate who was previously stationed in the Coast Guard here and who coached basketball with me at Academy of the Pacific.

The young parents are thrilled, and so am I. Call me Grandpa Bob. There’s so much to tell. In my new role as grandpa, young Micah, what should I tell you as you grow up? Do I tell you how to throw a baseball or how to follow through on your jump shot?

Do I tell you how to softly catch a football or kick the soccer ball with authority and precision?

Do I encourage you to try as many sports as possible? Do I buy you a tennis racket and a lacrosse stick and a hockey net and a football helmet and more?

Do I tell you all I know about my love of the world of sports? Do I tell you about meeting Willie Mays and Arnold Palmer, Magic Johnson and Jerry Rice, Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Cal Ripken Jr.?

Do I teach you how to analyze a box score and fill out a scorecard? Do I give you books filled with baseball statistics and sports history?

Do I tell you about the excitement of attending Super Bowls and NCAA Championships and jam-packed college football stadiums? Do I tell you about my favorite players of all time? About Sandy Koufax and Jerry West and Joe Montana and Jackie Robinson? Do I tell you that I love sports movies and that I can’t wait to sit down and watch Hoosiers, Field of Dreams, The Natural and 42 with you?

Do I tell you about some of the most intriguing sports figures I ever interviewed? Like John McEnroe and Shaquille O’Neal? Do I tell you I once broadcast one of Hawaii’s most famous football victories over BYU?

Or what a thrill it was to call a national championship game when Hawaii Pacific brought the national softball title back to the Islands?

Do I tell you about tail-gating at Aloha Stadium, the best seats at Stan Sheriff Center, and the best views from Rainbow Stadium? And what it’s like to go to games at Fenway Park and the Super Dome and Staples Arena?

Do I tell you that your great-grandpa was a college athlete and so was your grandpa? Or that your great grandmother is still playing tennis into her 80s? Or that your aunties loved to play basketball?

Should I tell you that your Dad and Mom are very humble about it, but they are very good athletes, too? That your Dad had the highest hops of just about any basketball guard I’ve ever seen? Or that your Mom played basketball and softball and soccer, as well as track and field and paddling, and moved all the way up to the fastest heats during her years as a kayaker at Iolani?

Should I tell you all of this? Or should I at least wait until you learn how to crawl? I’ve got so much to tell you, Micah. I’m so excited about being a grandpa, but I’m willing to wait – to let you take your nap, and when you wake up, perhaps even squeeze my fingers a little.

Micah Steven Rothwell, there’s so much time for us to be Grandpa and Grandson.

Let me tell you just that, for now.