By Stephen Tsai
C'mon, there was no doubt retired Air Force Lt. Col. Tracey Saiki was going to attend yesterday's volleyball match.
It was "Military Appreciation Night," after all. And as director of military affairs for the Chamber of Commerce, she was largely responsible for the Rainbow Warriors training at Joint Base Pearl Harbor/Hickam this past offseason. Plus, she's a huge volleyball fan.
Of course, there was an obstacle. This past New Year's Eve, she suffered a stroke.
The proverbial road to recovery isn't always smooth. There's daily physical therapy and rehab. Simple tasks can be large accomplishments. So keep the prayers and well-wishes coming. She's going to conquer this, partly because of her will, partly because of continued encouragement from family, friends and people who care about others.
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Imagine driving 55 mph on the freeway when a brick wall instantly pops up 20 feet in front of your car. Your likely options: 1) Accelerate and try to knock down the wall, 2) Brake and brace for the inevitable crash, 3) Try to swerve around the wall. If you choose "1," yes, you're brave, and we'll put that on your tombstone. Most of us probably would end up going with option 3.
Now imagine you're a volleyball line judge and a ball traveling at 65 mph is heading your way. You're likely to turn your body and use your peripheral vision to determine if the ball lands in bounds. It's human nature.
The point is, it's not easy to make a call in the line of fire, heat of battle, or whatever mixed metaphor. Men's volleyball is played at a snap-quick pace. Maybe you see a touch, maybe you don't. Maybe you see the ball land, maybe it's a dig. All MPSF matches are recorded as part of the video exchange program, even if the match is not televised. If the tools are available to help make the right call, why not use them? Many times a controversial call won't impact a match. Yesterday, when a net violation overturned an apparent 9-6 lead to make it 8-7 in a first-to-15 fifth set, it was a factor.
An official can't be faulted for seeing what he thinks he sees. But if the technology is available, why not allow for visual aids?
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When you wish Robert Kekaula a happy birthday today, think about these images: