Aloha. I’ve been lazing on my couch in my own boozy-stink for the last 12 hours, still hungover from a fabulous Derby De Mayo wedding. As the Sunday Scaries increase, I’m trying to dull the shame of my actions by eating Ben & Jerry’s Chillin’ Truffles. It’s not helping and there’s not enough cocoa clumps in it anyway.
Desperate for a pick-me-up, I scanned the channels until I stumbled across the Cubs v Cardinals game. The Cardinal’s second baseman & resident Hawaiian, Kolten Wong, was at bat & I was drawn to his colorful sleeve. He smashes the ball to right field and past the glove of Cub’s Jason Heyward for a triple.
His sleeve is Hawaii’s Kanaka Maoli Flag, also known as the ‘Kingdom Flag’, and Wong has been wearing it the last couple of games to show support for his home state as they deal with a natural disaster.
He grew up in Hilo, less than 30 minutes from the Leilani Estates area on the big island, Hawai’i, which is now being rocked by earthquakes, sulfur dioxide gas, and eruptions from the Kilauea volcano. Over 1,700 people have been evacuated and 26 families have lost their homes so far.
In recent interviews he said he’s been getting texts from friends and firemen back home keeping him updated on the extensive damage, and he plans on starting a GoFundMe for those effected. He admits it’s been heavy on his mind but also understands it’s part of life there.
It’s also not the first time he’s been far from home when big news was on his mind.
That doesn’t seem to stop him from getting the job done. In 2014 during Hurricane Iselle (the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in Hawaii’s recorded history), Wong slammed 2 home runs in a 5 – 2 victory for the Cardinals over the Boston Red Sox.
Clearly he’s got a gift for staying focused on the game, & now he’s taken a real dumper on the Cubs in this series. On Saturday he had a walk-off, two-run homer against them bringing the score to 8 – 6 for the second W in the series.
As I write this, I’ve finished chugging down that ice cream, it’s well after midnight in Saint Louis & the game is still going. At 2 – 2 in the bottom of the 13th, the atmosphere is electric as Wong steps up to bat again & gets to first on a grounder.
But it’s still Sunday in Hawaii and the sun is just setting. Hoping the next few days bring a calmer island and that people like Wong, who are stepping up to bring awareness & assistance, can bring some relief to those effected.
**Update: Bottom of the 14th and Dexter Fowler has clinched the final W for the Cardinals in this series as another one slips by Heyward for a walk-off home run. Final: 4 – 3. Think it was a bit of laki maika’i (good luck) from Wong & the Big Island.