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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, June 6, 2010

Thanks to act of kindness, I didn't blow assignment

By Kyle Sakamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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Editor's Note: Kyle Sakamoto has been a reporter and copy editor with The Advertiser since 1999. The compiler of our radio and TV schedules, Kyle is a McKinley High School and University of Hawai'i graduate.

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I would like to think I grow wiser with every day that passes by.

But every once in a while I do a really bone-headed thing that really sets me back.

This incident happened Feb. 20 of this year during the Interscholastic League of Honolulu wrestling championships at Punahou.

My aunties live on Vancouver Drive, which leads to the school, so I park in their garage when I'm covering sporting events at Punahou.

I arrived at 2 p.m., said hello to my aunties, walked to the gym, covered the tournament and arrived back at 7 p.m.

I put my backpack with the wrestling stats sheets and tape recorder and black seat cushion on (not in) the trunk of my gray 2004 Toyota Corolla, and went to say a quick goodbye to my aunties. Guess what I forgot on the trunk of my car while I took off for the office?

I arrived at the office on Kapiolani Boulevard, looked around and realized I was missing something very important.

I drove back to my aunties' house as quickly as I could. Got there in seven minutes and didn't violate any rules of the road. I was hoping my backpack and seat cushion had fallen off nearby and I could find them easily. By the way, I didn't really care about the seat cushion. I really needed the backpack.

I got there, looked around and I was out of luck. Nothing. I was wondering, How am I going to explain to my co-workers I wasn't going to have a story?

I took a deep breath and came to the reality I had blown it. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw something sitting on top of the brick wall across the street. It's my backpack!

Everything was in there so I was really relieved. I headed back to the office again in a good mood. I drove up Vancouver Drive and took a left onto McKinley Street. Then I noticed something in the middle of the road and swerved around it. Wait a minute. That was my seat cushion! I pulled over and retrieved it. No tire marks or anything on it. Looked like new, except it was flat from heavy usage by me.

I got back to the office, typed up the article and submitted it for editing. I was glad it was over. Putting oneself through that kind of stress isn't healthy; trust me.

The next day I looked at the article in the paper and thought about what I had put myself through.

Just wanted to thank the person who put the backpack on the brick wall, and for the drivers who didn't run over my seat cushion.

I did something really stupid that day, but I got really lucky in the end.

First, last bylines

The first byline article I wrote for The Advertiser came out on July 1, 1997. It was a feature on 5-year-old Mary Hatagaya, who was a member of the International Karate Federation. My final article ran My 23, 2010. It was the HPU softball team against Chico State in an NCAA Division II Super Regional. The Sea Warriors won two games that day to advance to the national championship tournament in St. Joseph, Mo., where they won the whole thing.

I had a chance to watch many athletes, coaches and spirited contests, mostly at the high school level, while covering sports for The Advertiser. I also met a lot of great administrators/behind-the-scenes people like Deren Oshiro, Keith Amemiya and Chester Chee. Without individuals like these none of what I experienced would have been possible.

It's always nice to be recognized by the people you write about.

In July of 2008, I wrote an article on Jesse Sapolu and his induction (along with five others) into the Farrington High Governors' Hall of Fame. Emme Tomimbang, a Farrington alum and former local news anchor, liked the article and invited my boss, Curtis Murayama, and me to the induction dinner at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Thank you, Emme.

Just this past Saturday, Hawai'i Baptist athletic director Deren Oshiro invited Stanley Lee, Wes Nakama and myself to the school's annual athletic awards banquet at Dole Cannery. Deren and his wife, Wendy, knew we'd be out of jobs and wanted to do something for us. Thank you, Deren and Wendy.

One last shout out. Thank you to all the umpires, referees and officials. I enjoyed chatting with some of you when you had the time, and learning a thing or two about your respective sports. Thanks for putting up with all the stuff you have to put up with. You guys all have my respect.