Insight, News, and Opinion by Nick Abramo
  • April 13, 2021
Momentous First 2021 ILH Volleyball Match Through The Camera Lens of Hawaiian Mission Yearbook Staffer Ah-Hyun Jo

One person’s momentous event is another person’s ordinary affair.

That’s why one volleyball match in the ILH Division III on Thursday night fits, for the most part, the latter category — one game among many.

But it was also momentous in this day and age of the killer COVID-19 because it signaled the start of sports normalcy. Of the few high school sporting events that have happened in Hawaii in 2020-21, this was the first varsity SPRING SPORTS event that was actually a real SPRING sport. All of the other happenings (such as swimming, cross country and exhibition basketball, among others) are either fall or winter sports that were played in the spring.

That’s why the word “momentous” was used in Bedrock Sports Hawaii’s headline that was first published Thursday night after Hawaiian Mission Academy’s three-set victory over Island Pacific Academy.

Lots of volleyball matches in ILH gyms all across Oahu will follow. But that one was the first, and we can all hope and pray that it will turn out to be a proper second kiss goodbye to the dreaded enemy virus. The first was, of course, the start of vaccinations in Hawaii and the rest of the world.

You can read about Thursday night’s match and the players’ reaction at that link above.

But there was more to that night that I’d like to relate to Bedrock Sports Hawaii’s readers. It’s about a feel-good moment.

In 40 years as a journalist, I have stuck to writing and editing and have left picture-taking to the professional photographers. And there have been many amazing photographers along the way.

These days, getting fresh photos for is a challenge. My son Elijah Abramo, a senior business major at Chaminade and occasional photographer by hobby, helped with taking ILH swimming championship photos last week and pulled through with flying colors. I’m out $100, but it was worth it. Haha. Take a look at what he came up with by clicking this link.

When I arrived at the Hawaiian Mission gym Thursday night, the only photography equipment I had was a Samsung Galaxy S7 — ancient by cell phone standards but it has a fairly good camera for still shots.

So it turned out that I was able to get two relatively quality photos of the IPA seniors and the HMA juniors (seniors are in California on a class trip). No frills. They were just standing there, just the kind of shot that big newspapers like the Honolulu Star-Advertiser — my former employer — do not want. Action is the word in that realm (or galaxy, if you will).

But, during the first set, I saw a girl taking action pictures with her camera. Like my son at swimming, she did not have a gigantic lens or anything. Just a camera. I knew whatever she could come up with would be better than my Galaxy photos, and so I asked her if she might be able to send me some after the match.

It turns out her name is Ah-Hyun Jo and she is a student at Hawaiian Mission, a member of the yearbook staff.

Whenever you ask (or beg) people to send you something to help with illustrations for a story or results from an event, there is never a guarantee that you’ll get it. What can a beggar expect anyway? There are a lot of busy people in the world with many more important things going on in their lives.

I figured that in this case Ah-Hyun Jo would pull through. But even so, would it be in time for publication? My thinking was that she might send them Friday morning.

I could have held off writing the story until Friday morning, but being in that “deadline” mode for 40 years, I kind of just wanted to get it out there.

And so I wrote the story and got it out to the ether/inter web at about 9 and shut off the computer for the night. I used a junk action photo from my Galaxy S7 as the featured photo along with the still shots in the body of the story.

So, did Ah-Hyun pull through, eventually?

When I checked email in the morning, there it was, an email from her, saying she was sorry for being late, with seven attached photos!!!

A little bit later, though, I realized that she actually sent the photos at 10:30 p.m., and that is REALLY GOOD HUSTLE in my book. I have no idea if she wants to go into journalism, but producing when asked (even if in this case it was actually just a HUGE favor to me and not a job) is ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS about the profession.

And it turns out, she got some good, quality photos, too. So, in the morning, I updated the story and replaced my blurry featured photo with her crystal clear shot.

So, thank you Ah-Hyun Jo!!!!

And here is her work:

Hawaiian Mission’s Kristoff Ramirez hits, teammate Micah Castillo waits, and Island Pacific’s Luke Garcia defends. (Photo courtesy of Ah-Hyun Jo).


Three HMA players wait for a serve. (Photo courtesy of Ah-Hyun Jo).


The Knights’ Micah Castillo serves. (Photo courtesy of Ah-Hyun Jo).


Luke Garcia with a kill attempt for the Navigators. (Photo courtesy of Ah-Hyun Jo).


HMA team huddle. (Photo courtesy of Ah-Hyun Jo).


Preparing to take an IPA serve. (Photo courtesy of Ah-Hyun Jo).


Hawaiian Mission’s Roczen Simeona serving. (Photo courtesy of Ah-Hyun Jo).



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