Shoji enjoys early ‘birdie’ special with handicap, handyman duties in retirement

Local Sports

Not many knew that Dave Shoji was battling prostate cancer during the 2016 Rainbow Wahine volleyball season.

Spend a morning golfing with the 70-year-old, and you’d never guess he’s just 46 days removed from finishing his treatments.

Shoji plays 18 holes at the rigorous Oahu Country Club with his friends three times a week without a cart. The course equates to a steep five-mile hike.

“I feel great,” Shoji said. “I’m thankful to God and how he’s guided me here in the last year, and I have great doctors, so I’m feeling pretty good.”

Golf is nothing unusual for Shoji. During his 42-year tenure as the face of University of Hawaii athletics, “Uncle Dave” was notorious for his razor-sharp “8 or 9” handicap before he retired, and has maintained his bag of skillful strokes throughout his treatment.

Outside of his handicap, Shoji has worked on becoming a handyman since joining retirement, a hobby that joins his love of stand-up surfing.

“You also have a few things at home you got to take care of,” Shoji laughed. “You got stuff around the house that you want to get done, stuff that your wife Mary wants you to get done.”

Side wagers on the course are heavy enough that a one-foot putt is still required to earn a par. Even if Shoji’s need for competition isn’t fulfilled by golf, he remains feverish in his love for following University of Hawaii athletics.

“Well, it’s different, obviously different (than coaching), but it still fulfills something along those lines,” he said. “I was squeezing for (Mike) Trapasso the other day and softball, I was watching the game, so I’m still really involved in watching UH. That won’t change. I love watching UH, and I’ll continue to do that.”

UH will return the cheers with a sendoff on Sunday, May 21, at the Stan Sheriff Center. The university is hosting an “Aloha Ball” retirement ceremony from 4-6:30 p.m. to garner proceeds supporting the Rainbow Wahine volleyball program and newly minted Dave and Mary Shoji Scholarship Endowment Fund.

“I’m anxious to see all the old players. I’m anxious to see people that went to Klum Gym come out. That part’s going to be real exciting,” Shoji said. “There’s going to be a lot of families and friends, old players, so I hope it goes well.”

Tickets are $42 and can be purchased by clicking here.

Barefoot League and UH collaborated to create shirts to celebrate Shoji’s retirement, with proceeds also going to the Dave and Mary Shoji Scholarship Endowment Fund. Click here to download an order form.

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