Chock's spare time was spent coaching
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stacy Kaneshiro
When the O'ahu Interscholastic Association bowling season opens today, a familiar face will be missing.
Ted Chock retired as Kalani High's bowling coach after 45 years, or nearly as long as the school has existed. Kalani is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
"My wife is happy," said Chock, who turns 78 Nov. 15. "Family is first now. I used to tell my wife, 'I'm sorry, but I met bowling before I met you.' "
Chock, who retired as a counselor at Kaimuki Intermediate in 1992 after 30 years in the Department of Education, has been coaching the Falcons so long that when he started, Kalani was a member of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu and coaching back then was voluntary. He remained coach when the public schools merged with the OIA at the start of the 1970 school year.
Although he still runs the Waialae Strike & Spare Club youth bowling program at Waialae Bowl, several factors led to his retirement from the high school team.
For openers, he wasn't certain he was going to be the coach this season after the Kalani athletic department had all of its coaches reapply for their jobs. He did not reapply for the job, so since he wasn't the coach, he couldn't really say he was going to retire.
He ended up being offered the job, but went through an interview. "I'd never been to an interview (for the bowling job), except when I got hired the first time (in 1962)." He was later informed by a letter he got the job, but four days later submitted his retirement notice.
Another factor is the impending closure of Waialae Bowl. The OIA East used to bowl there, but has since moved to K-Bay Bowling Center at Marine Corps Base Hawai'i in Kane'ohe. Chock admits at his age, it would be difficult making the bus ride.
"All the years of bowling and everything, I said, 'Enough is enough,' " he said. "Forty-five years is a long time. I enjoyed it."
During Chock's reign, Kalani won four girls state titles, one boys state crown, three OIA girls championships and one OIA boys crown. He has coached four individual girls state champions and one boy state champion. He was OIA East Coach of the Year four times.
Ironically, Chock's interest in bowling didn't start as a bowler. During his freshman year at Michigan State, a friend was unable to pull his shift at the bowling alley, so he filled in.
"Back then, you had to set the pins by hand," Chock said. "But that's how I got interested in bowling."
A stint in the Army interrupted college. He returned later to Michigan to finish his degree at Olivet College. He started as a substitute teacher before obtaining his teaching certificate from the University of Hawai'i. While teaching and later counseling at Kaimuki Intermediate, Chock bowled in a teachers league, so he became a logical choice to coach the high school team.
Although only five bowlers count in team scoring for high school matches, it wasn't uncommon for Chock to carry as many at 15 bowlers. He did not want to cut anyone, as he wanted to encourage the reserves to stay in the sport. He would have his five starters, and rotate one or two in the course of a match with seven to eight cheering the team on. He said he has been criticized for "stringing them along."
"It's the same with football, you have your backups," Chock said. "That's the name of the game: to keep them all interested. If you cut them, it's like telling them. 'You're no good.' But it's these younger kids who have never bowled before that, who knows? After two, three years of working with them, they might be the star of your team. That's why I keep them."
STRIKE & SPARE CLUB
Chock developed most of his bowlers from when they were in grade school. As coach of the Waialae Strike & Spare Club, a junior bowling program run out of Waialae Bowl, he has practically raised most of the Kalani bowlers, including defending state champion Dara Ajimine. She got her start from the junior bowling club. Parents are appreciative of Chock's effort.
"The kids like him," said Diane Ajimine, whose daughter Dara is a junior. "He was very encouraging, very supportive."
Chock's club takes all comers, regardless of what school they attend. A number of bowlers at other schools, including private schools, were part of the Strike & Spare Club. Last year's boys state champion, Rich Kodama of Hawai'i Baptist, also started with Waialae Strike & Spare, Chock said.
"That's my ultimate (thrill)," Chock said, "to get them into high school and bowl on the team."
Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at email@example.com.