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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, February 4, 2006

Inspirational soccer story earns top contest honors

 • Sportswriter For A Day Contest winners

By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer

From left: Atlanta Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall, Stayson Isobe, 16, Zach Helms, 17, New Orleans Saints cheerleader Lindsey Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers punter Josh Bidwell and Finn Curran, 14.

JEFF WIDENER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Kaiser High School freshman Finn Curran, whose story about teaching soccer to a boy recovering from brain surgery and watching him score a goal, has been selected as The Advertiser's Sportswriter For A Day contest winner.

Curran's story, "A Tribute To Trevor," was one of about 20 entries in the contest for Hawai'i high school students writing about their most memorable sports moment in 500 words or less. A panel of Advertiser sportswriters and editors selected the best stories.

"I was really happy, and excited," Curran said. "Maybe not as excited as my mom, but still really happy. It was a really big moment."

As his reward, Curran will interview an NFL Pro Bowl player. His story will be published in The Honolulu Advertiser. He also will attend the game and sit in the press box. Three other finalists Zach Helms, Stayson Isobe and Michael Kamikawa will win prizes from Burger King and the NFL.

The group were all invitees to an NFL Pro Bowl kickoff luncheon at the Hilton Hawaiian Village yesterday. Kamikawa was sick and could not attend.

Curran, 14, wrote about Trevor Bierwert, who underwent brain surgery for epilepsy, and needed to relearn simple tasks such as walking and speaking. The Bierwerts enrolled their son in VIP soccer, which helps people with special needs play soccer. Curran was Bierwert's soccer guide, or buddy.

"I felt the story represented what I thought was a really good moment in my life and Trevor's life," said Curran, who is the son of Lee and Dan Curran of Hawai'i Kai. "I think it really helped a lot of people, and it was really good for everybody involved."

In his story, Curran wrote he did not understand the philosophy of VIP soccer at first, and he was "very competitive" in practice drills. However, after a few practices, Curran realized the league was "not established so I could improve my soccer skills, but so other volunteers and I could help the players."

"Once I understood that, I was really able to assist the players, especially Trevor," Curran wrote.

Curran, who is a member of Kaiser's varsity soccer team, requested Trevor accompany him at the Pro Bowl. Trevor will be sitting with the Currans, who have tickets to the game.

"He was just as much a part of it," Curran said. "I used the story about me and him. I thought he deserved to go. He's been a really good person. He's really helped me. I was hoping he could come."

Reach Brandon Masuoka at bmasuoka@honoluluadvertiser.com.