Q&A: Kalani tennis player Dale Emoto

Kalani girls tennis player Dale Emoto, center, loves to play the saxophone and has made a lot of friends through band practice. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.
Kalani girls tennis player Dale Emoto, center, loves to play the saxophone and has made a lot of friends through band practice. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

There are 23 players combined on the Kalani varsity tennis team this spring.

Eleven of them have a music background, and of them, 10 are currently engaged in the school’s wind ensemble or marching band.

Kalani’s Dale Emoto was featured in Tuesday’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Kalani’s tennis musicians:
Nickolas Ashikawa: retired clarinet
Trevyn Dobashi: Piano, Guitar, Trombone
Dale Emoto: saxophone
Jin Kim: piano
Kelly Kwak: Viola
Ace Inouye: Trumpet
Jacob Marutani: Trumpet
Ellis Murayama: Piano
Isabel Rogers: percussion
Jordyn Tanaka: percussion
Justin Terada: Guitar and Ukulele

Emoto is perfectly content to blend right in, a brilliant young student (4.1 grade-point average) who happens to enjoy playing tennis (unbeaten in OIA East play), yet truly at home when she plays the saxophone.

Somewhere between concerts, tennis matches, exams and papers — after a wind ensemble whirlwind trip to Indianapolis and sometime before a trip to Kona for the state tourney — Emoto spent some time chatting with Hawaii Prep World.

Dale Emoto
Kalani tennis

Q&A / Favorites
Athlete: Roger Federer
Emoto: I think he has good sportsmanship. I really like his playing style, his one-handed backhand. And the fact that he’s cool-headed. He doesn’t get angry.

HPW: Have you ever seen video of John McEnroe? Would you describe him as angry?

Emoto: Uh, yeah.
Food (at home): Steak
Emoto: Dad (Douglas) puts a lot of seasoning and salt.

HPW: On the frying pan or the grill?

Emoto: In the frying pan. He throws oil in there. He heats it up first and throws (the steak) on. Salt and pepper. That’s pretty much it. It looks easy.

HPW: Medium rare or medium well?

Emoto: Medium.

HPW: How often does he make it?

Emoto: Once a month maybe. Not enough.
Food (eating out): Udon w/Karaage Chicken at Minato Japanese Restaurant.
Emoto: The first time was a couple years ago and I always get it at Minato. We go once every few weeks.
Hobby outside of sports: Playing the alto saxophone.
HPW: Mom says you’re one of the top sax players in the state.

Emoto: Uh, I don’t know about top, but I work hard and practice. I try to get first seat. I wouldn’t say I’m the top, though.

HPW: This is wind ensemble, so it’s not a marching band. Pieces are 8-10 minutes long, right? Which are your favorites?

Emoto: Spirit of the Falcon. No, Olympic Fanfare. It’s a faster song. It has a lot of low brass, so it sounds really nice.

HPW: When your group went to Indianapolis after auditioning, this what you played?

Emoto: No, I played it for a summer camp, a UH summer camp. It was one practice a week for two hours, for like a month and a half.

HPW: The importance of repetition is crucial in music and sports. How closely related are they?

Emoto: Repetition is very important, you want that muscle memory. Playing the saxophone, your fingers get used to the rhythm. Each time you play it’s not as hard as the last time. The same goes for tennis, the same strokes over and over again, you get that muscle memory and become more consistent.

Movie: Beauty and the Beast
Emoto: I like the original.

HPW: You’ve seen the new one?

Emoto: It’s OK. The original, the plot, the way it develops is better. The voices are the characters fit the musical features. Gaston has a lower voice and fits him more than the second one, didn’t really match.

HPW: How many stars for the original?

Emoto: Four stars (out of four). 2.5 for the new one.

TV show: None.
Emoto: There’s just nothing good on.
Video game: None.
Emoto: I don’t play. I haven’t played since elementary school. Probably Wii Sports.
Music artist: Bruno Mars
Emoto: I really like his style, and he’s a really good dancer, too. Him at the Super Bowl halftime show was really good.
Teacher (elementary through high school): Mrs. Heen (third grade)
Emoto: This is at Kahala Elementary. I think she’s still there. She was really nice and she never really scolded me when I did something wrong, and she was really funny, too.
GPA: 4.1
Emoto: I just stay up really late doing my schoolwork. I don’t really go out with friends because of homework.

HPW: It sounds like you go to ‘Iolani. Are you taking AP classes?

Emoto: Yeah, I’m taking three. AP English, AP Biology and AP Psychology.

HPW: Isn’t Psychology what your coach (Kelli-Ann Kobayashi) is majoring in?

Emoto: I didn’t know that.

HPW: What did you think she was majoring in?

Emoto: I thought it would be something related to science. I thought she majored in biology.

HPW: What do you think you’ll major in?

Emoto: Medicine or biology.

HPW: Have you decided yet on a college?

Emoto: I’m not sure yet. I’m hoping to mainland college and come back and apply for a John Burns School of Medicine.

Class Math
Emoto: Algebra is my favorite math. I’m taking trigonometry/pre-calculus now.

HPW: What is the common denominator among most students who consider math their favorite subject?

Emoto: I don’t know really anyone who likes math except me. All my friends don’t like math. Everyone likes English. I hate English.

HPW: For a long time, musicians like Wynton Marsalis have said that jazz is a actually a form of mathematics. The symmetry and timing and all that, doesn’t it make sense?

Emoto: I feel like in both there’s a general line. In music, if you get the feeling and the beat, then it’s easier and in math if you have the general idea of multiplication and addition then every else comes easier.

Place to relax: Home.

Motto/scripture: Hard works pays off.
What your mom (Lori) says that you can’t forget: Always do your best in everything you do!
Emoto: She doesn’t say it that often, but when she does, it’s kind of like my motto.
What your dad (Douglas) says that you can’t forget: 
Emoto: He doesn’t really say that much. It’s usually my mom. She’s the one who takes everywhere and pushes me. I feel like a lot of it, especially at school, is self-motivation.

HPW: You decided some time ago that a 3.5 GPA isn’t enough.

Emoto: My main goal in high school is to become a valedictorian.

HPW: Isn’t that almost impossible with all your activities? And yet, you and other kids are getting a 4.0, 4.1, 4.4, 4.5.

Emoto: Some of them are like me, they have a lot of stuff on their plate, even busier than I am. One girl does multiple sports and she probably has a higher GPA than I do.
HPW: Some parents are afraid to challenge their kids.

Emoto: She pushes me because she knows I can do it. She wouldn’t push me if she knew I couldn’t do something.

What your coaches say that you can’t forget: Just have fun!
HPW: If you had a coach who stressed tennis, tennis, tennis, what would be different?

Emoto: I’d be lazy and I wouldn’t have the self-motivation with homework and studying. I feel like I would have different friends, too. A lot of my friends are from band, and they have a huge influence on my life. They’re very supportive, they’re smart and they don’t do bad things.
How does your tennis affect your daily life during the season and offseason?  
Emoto: It’s only during the season, tennis is really crazy.
What middle and elementary schools did you attend? Kahala Elementary and Kaimuki Middle School.
What youth teams did you play for? What club do you play for and what are the daily commitments like year-round?
Emoto: I still play for Kilauea Force Open 18 team. We actually don’t practice. We do matches.
Where have you travelled for tennis? I attended the USTA Regional Girls Training Camp held at Sonoma State University in July, 2013… Traveled to Kona for the 2016 Hawaii tennis Championships.
What do you like to do — or what’s something else you’re good at — that would surprise most people?  Playing the alto and soprano saxophone.
What is your ultimate dream/bucket list? I would like to work in the health field (maybe a doctor) and travel around the world.

HPW: Becoming a doctor is a both a dream and a goal, so what kind of medicine?

Emoto: I like pediatrics, maybe.

HPW: You’re willing to do the years of med school, possibly longer, go heavily into debt?

Emoto: Yeah. My sister (Lee) has scoliosis, she went through a lot of surgeries. Seeing how the doctors helped her so much in her early years, I kind of want to be with them.

HPW: How old was she?

Emoto: Seven. She had nine surgeries. I used to wonder why her, and we know she’s going to be OK.

HPW: Do you consider it a miracle that she overcame all of it?

Emoto: I don’t know if it’s a miracle, I don’t know how to explain it. She’s all good now.
What is the history and background of your name? My mom’s best friend from high school is named Dale.
Any shout-outs or additional thoughts are welcome. Mahalo! I owe all my efforts to my mom who pushes me to do my best everyday.

Emoto: I also share a passion for music and I’m very proud to be a part of the Kalani Concert and Marching Band. Shout out to Mr. Dennis Kaneshiro (Kalani Band director). Can I add someone else? I forgot to mention, I’m also in Girl Scouts.

HPW: So what’s the Girl Scouts equivalent to Eagle Scout?

Emoto: The Gold Award. I’m not even close to getting it.

HPW: There is not enough time in your day.

Emoto: I’m kind of of dying right now because of the AP (classes).

Dale Emoto is one of 11 musically-inclined players on the Kalani boys and girls tennis teams. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.
Dale Emoto is one of 11 musically-inclined players on the Kalani boys and girls tennis teams. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.


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