Hall of Fame
"The great thing about (University of Guam) is that it has a rich history of athletics,” Doug Palmer, athletics director, said in an article posted on the UOG website. “You have to have a history. If you don't, you really don’t have anything.”
History certainly enriches context.
My mom, Dr. Lorraine Yamashita, professor emerita, has a library rich in historical context. My sister, Dr. Velma Yamashita, was happy to share photos of the early days of the Triton athletic history with AD Palmer.
It was nice that he was happy to receive them. They helped him further identify Triton athletes and coaches from years past whose contributions nurtured the athletics program.
AD Palmer established the Triton Athletics Hall of Fame with the first-class induction in 2017. There is a Wall of Fame in the UOG Calvo Field House that proudly presents accomplished athletes and coaches in soccer, football, basketball and volleyball. They are John Borden, Susan Lupola, Tommy Morrison, Hauhouot Diambra-Odi, Ronald Camacho, Theresa Sison, David Nelson, Susy Rechebong, Joe Taitano, Art Rabon, David Zimms, Susie Borden, Tony Thompson, Lawrence Johnson, James Whippy, Cristobal Mesa, Mark Wessling, Patrick Wolff, Rhoda Bamba, Tosca Lindberg, Harold Parker, Frank Stotts, Rob Call, Swingly Dismas, Rick Manibusan, Richard Martinez, Art Merlan, Cecile Olandez, Vic April, Robert Borden, Ben Diaz, Bruce Haines, Gage Johnson, Noriekka Lekka, Uchel Sechewas, Terry Stotts, and our dad, President Emeritus Antonio Yamashita.
The story goes like this. During the early 1960s, dad was teaching a chemistry class when then-governor Manuel Guerrero called and said, “Need to see you.” The meeting was a mandate. Dad was told to take the college and get it under control, or it would be sold.
And with that, dad’s genius was on fire.
During the UOG Triton Athletics Hall of Fame ceremony on Nov. 6, Ryan represented our family. Ryan shared how his grandad knew that community engagement was essential to the realization of his vision for a local institution of higher education. He knew that an athletic program would motivate players, students, families and the community to identify with UOG.
He knew that a sense of pride would emanate from competitive sports. He knew that athletics adds vibrant energy to academia. As an athlete himself, he knew that sports are an essential intelligence. With community engagement, identity, pride, vibrant energy and the integration of athletics as an essential intelligence, dad knew the Triton community would root and blossom.
I remember Joe Paulino as a key physical education leader. Joe’s enthusiastic energy and ease of engagement were contagious. Dad looked for such leaders who knew their stuff. Then he got out of their way. “Pouring gasoline on fire” was dad’s description of how he would ignite their excitement, share a vision and then let them work.
As mom reminds me, Joe echoed what dad believed: all are welcome to study and play.
In the Congressional Record dated Nov. 12, 1997, then congressman Robert Underwood wrote the following entry: “Throughout his teaching career, Joe Paulino consistently demonstrated the kind of care and commitment to students expected for all good teachers. Joe reached out not only to Guam students but also to hundreds of young men and women from our neighboring Micronesian islands. Whenever necessary, he took these visiting students under his wing during their stay on Guam.”
Guam has incredible initiators of cheering wonderful memories. We are blessed.
It’s awesome that we have athletes who make Guam proud through their God-given talents. Ryan would like to see golf added to the UOG athletic program.
While we await the return of our young athletic stars, including Ale Ada, Mason Caldwell, Ivan Sablan and others, I hope UOG will develop a mentorship program for all aspiring athletes.
Physical fitness, team work and a sense of pride are winning ingredients for our Blue Continent.
Thank you, AD Palmer and team, for your leadership and carrying the torch!
Aline Yamashita is a mom, a teacher and former senator. She served in the 31st and 32nd Guam Legislatures. You may write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.