Like Father, Like Son: Sports Fun

Former UH two-sport star Carlos Anderson  PHOTO COURTESY CARLOS ANDERSON

Former UH two-sport star Carlos Anderson

Carlos Anderson couldn’t be more excited this summer. The former two-sport star at University of Hawaii says his 14-year-old son Caleb has just been promoted to the varsity baseball program in Anderson’s new place of residence, Irvine, Calif.

“He’s only a freshman, but he’s already 5-foot-11 and he’s as fast as can be,” the proud father told me.

When I wondered if Caleb was a chip off the old block, Anderson laughed and said, “Hopefully, that chip is like a snowball and it just grows and grows. He played some football (in junior high school), but we’re focusing on baseball now.”

Carlos Anderson never settled for just one sport after he arrived on Oahu at the age of 13 as a self-described “military brat.” He was an all-state running back/kick returner/defensive back in football, and an all-state outfielder in baseball at Leilehua before taking his speedy talents to University of Hawaii.

“I wasn’t the biggest guy (he stood about 5-foot-8 and weighed about 175 pounds), but you couldn’t drag me off either field,” he recalls. “I remember one of my favorite football players at the time was (Hawaii’s) Mike Tressler. He also wasn’t real tall, but he was tough and I wanted to be just like him.”

Anderson was a return man and cornerback on Bob Wagner’s UH teams in the early ’90s.

“One of my favorite memories is our 1992 team,” he recalls of Hawaii’s Cinderella squad that won a share of the WAC title and beat Illinois in the Holiday Bowl. “We were picked to finish eighth in the

WAC, and that made us mad. Darrick Branch and I were the design guys, so we came up with a T-shirt (a No. 8 with a circle and a slash through it) that showed our determination to prove everyone wrong. We trained every day and worked so hard to prepare for that season. I’ve been on teams with more talent, but the camaraderie on that team was second to none.”

Also recruited by Les Murakami out of high school for baseball, Anderson couldn’t get clearance to play his second sport until after that Holiday Bowl win.

“I lived at the Wainani apartments, and it was killing me to watch the baseball guys at Rainbow Stadium without me being down there,” he says. “I went to Coach Wags to plead my case after the bowl win, and he said since I had cemented my position, he was OK with it. I went to Coach Les and told him the news, and he said, ‘Can you switch hit?’ I told him I’d learn as fast as I could.”

Anderson played two years with the Rainbow baseball team (1993-94), along with his four years with Rainbow Warrior football (1991-94). “I probably would have played more baseball, if I didn’t keep getting hurt playing football. I loved both sports, and there was no way I wanted to drop either one. I feel like I got the best of both worlds. There was no off-season.”

After college, he played a season with the Arizona Rattlers in the Arena Football League before an injury ended his professional career.

Then he embarked on a career in multimedia. He moved from Honolulu to the Mainland about a decade ago, and now is partners in a creative agency called TRIPL5 Creative that promotes Web development and marketing.

“I love what I’m doing,” he says.

He still thinks of the Islands as his home. “I was born in Georgia, but when it comes to feeling at home, it’s always Hawaii. My mom still lives there, and my nephews and so many of my friends and college buddies.”

At the age of 41, Anderson is focused on the growth of his business and cheering on his son, hoping that some day — who knows? — he may follow in his father’s talented footsteps in the Islands. “It’s fun right now.”