Shoji parents talk raising Olympic volleyball players and watching the Games from afar

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 4:23 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 22, 2021 at 4:26 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Opening Ceremony in Tokyo is Friday night and if you’re in Manoa, you may be hearing loud cheers from one home in particular.

It could just be the members of the Shoji family who are very excited for the Summer Games.

Mary and Dave Shoji are the proud parents of the “Bro-jis” ― also known as the Shoji brothers Erik and Kawika, who is the team captain of the Men’s USA volleyball team.

“There’s going to be a whole lot of people watching with us. Friends and family and, of course, our grandkids,” said Mary Shoji.

“When the ball is served to Erik, I’m very very nervous, I want him to do well,” added Dave Shoji.

“I’m constantly, I guess coaching and watching the game and trying to pick up on things to see what the other team is doing and see what our team is doing.”

Mary Shoji added, with a laugh:

“You know, we might need two different TVs going at the same time because Dave honestly makes it very difficult to watch with him because of that intensity.

“Once in awhile I have to say, can you jut please be quiet?”

Volleyball is in their blood.

Dave Shoji is Hawai’s winningest coach ever for the UH Wahine. Mary Shoji coached volleyball for Punahou. Daughter Cobey played in college and was director of volleyball operations at Stanford.

And Kawika and Erik? Well this is their second Olympic Games.

They took home the Bronze in Rio in 2016.

“It was an amazing experience. I just feel for other families who haven’t had that in person experience,” said Mary Shoji.

Added Dave Shoji: “They don’t need any fans to fire them up, trust me they’re going be competing at a very high level.”

When asked what’s the “Shoji secret” to raising successful kids, Dave and Mary responded, “Anything is possible.”

And, of course, the Shojis are so proud of their children.

“Erik doesn’t jump high, he’s not tall. Kawika is not very quick and doesn’t jump high. But what they have is skill. They’re self-made. They’re very very competitive, they’re focused,” Dave Shoji said.

“I’ve always reminded them never to forget where they came from,” added Mary Shoji.

The USA Men’s Volleyball team takes on France on Saturday at 3 a.m. and the Shojis say they will be staying up to watch.

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