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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, May 4, 2002

Volleyball diary: Hoping for happy birthday

Editor's note: Each day a UH men's volleyball player will chronicle his day for The Advertiser. Today, Tony Ching, a junior, talks about his perfect birthday present.

Daniel Rasay: Win over Penn State euphoric
Vernon Podlewski: Nothing like hard practice to show that you're ready
Costas Theocharidis: Breakfast special worth waiting for
Dejan Miladinovic: To final 4: By plane, car and Subway
Jose Delgado: Lucky to be here as rookie

By Tony Ching

Hey, it's my birthday. It was cool. I guess everybody can't wait to turn 21. Twenty-one is not a big deal to me, but it is a big deal to have a birthday the day before the championship game. That's what I was really excited about. Hopefully, everybody can come out and do the job. Then I can have the best birthday party ever.

The day started off nicely. I woke up at, like, 10:45. Then I watched film for a little while. When I came back to my hotel room, my parents surprised me with some balloons and stuff. Then Delano Thomas and the rest of the guys came in with Silly String, and they shot it at me. That was cool. That was a nice surprise. It made me feel special.

I can't wait for the big match, but I want to do some homework, too. Finals week is coming up, and I can't wait to be done with all of my school work. Then I can spend all of my days at the beach. Maybe I can have my first legal beer at the beach. That would be nice. That would be awesome.

Know what else is awesome? Before the Penn State match, I was sitting in the locker room, and everybody was all excited and ready to play. I sat back for a little while to savor the moment.

Sitting in the locker room — thinking about playing in the semifinal match of the championship tournament in front of all of those people in the crowd and on the SportsCourt and national television — it was something special. I had to sit back for a little while and take it all in. It made me feel real good. It calmed me down, actually.

Sometimes I can get hyped up, but I wasn't that way last week, when one of my serves hit the scoreboard. I thought I was going to hit it good. I just smashed it, and it took off. I'm over it now, and I didn't make any serving errors against Penn State.

For the championship match, I think I have to sit back again and take it all in. This will probably be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to play in a national championship match. I want to be calm for that.

I'm ready to do whatever it takes to win. As long as we win, that's all I want. It will be like the icing on the birthday cake.