Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Today's Los Angeles Times headlines tell of Moammar Kadafi's regime crumbling in Libya, the Obama administration discontinuing legal challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, and rising oil prices threatening economic recovery. But let's focus on the truly important cover story: Caltech's basketball team snapping a 310-game losing streak to win its first conference game in 26 years.

Surely my father is part of a Beaver basketball alumni celebration beyond the veil. Dad lettered in basketball at Caltech, as well as football and track. Growing up, whenever someone would brag about their father's athletic accomplishments, I casually would mention that MY father was a three-varsity sport letterman. They'd be impressed and then I would play straight man to my own joke, adding after an appropriate pause, ". . .at Caltech."

Dad said there was, shall we say, alot of opportunity to participate in sports at Caltech during his undergraduate years, especially because it was not long after World War II, 1947-1951. Where else could someone about 5'6" play collegiate basketball? But Dad also was a fast runner. When he and his brothers were teenagers on a work release from the Poston II internment camp, he chased and caught rabbits with his bare hands for dinner. And he could really jump and leap. He was a natural at the high jump, long jump, and hurdles.

The one school sport I ever participated in was junior high track. My PE teacher thought I had a natural form for hurdles, which pleased Dad no end. He coached me to clear the hurdles in an efficient way. He loved watching my three brothers play basketball, whether for school or for SEYO. Alan was the one who was serious about high school football. Among the Kamei grandchildren, Thomas, Bronson, and Akemi have played basketball. Thomas set high school records for cross country and was the captain of his cross country team, and Carly is our current track representative.

Dad taught me some Caltech cheers. I only remember one: "Cosine, secant, tangent, sine/Three point one four one five nine/CIT, CIT, CIT/Caaaaal Tech!" When Caltech President Jean-Luc Chameau and Nobel laureate Robert Grubbs joined other fans to storm the court after Tuesday night's win, Dad undoubtedly was leading a cheer, too.

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