Off the Beaten Path on the Big Island


I’m pretty bad at sports. The single time I tried it, doing track and field in elementary school, some kid cut into my lane and kicked a ton of dust and gravel into my face. Yeah, he was faster than me. But I literally ate his dust and that wasn’t cool.

Losing, I can handle. But losing because someone cheated? I immediately quit the race and ran into the restroom, frustrated and fuming. I also had to wash my eyes out, from the dust. I totally wasn’t crying. I couldn’t see anything from all that dust; I definitely wasn’t blinded by hatred of that kid who cheated.

He actually wasn’t the only one cheating, either. My coach told me that there were a bunch of rules to follow – where to put your hands at the starting line, how to use the push block, how to stay in your lane, and the fact that you must wear shoes. Well let me tell you! Half the kids were barefoot. Some of them weren’t even using the push block. A couple dangled their hands in the air before the starting pistol fired. Not a single referee seemed to care. I was only 10 years old and at that point I knew it was a cluster fudge.

So from then on I kind of lost faith in all things organized and athletic. Cheaters won, my coach was wrong, and I didn’t really have any fun.

But you know what? To this day I still marvel at the kids who do stick to sports. Kids who make it their passion. Kids who YOLO the hell out of the school experience. Because I didn’t do any of that… and I wish I had.

So it was a blast taking a family photos with the Isbell ohana! Most of the session was just them, being themselves, playing, challenging each other. And it was beautiful to see.


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