It’s my brother’s 40th birthday! If you’ve met my brother Steve, you know instantly you’re probably meeting one of the best human beings on the planet. He’s an amazing dad and husband, he’s a great son and grandson and to me (and my sister) he’s been the most incredible friend and big brother.
I remember growing up dressed exactly like him (thanks mom), following him everywhere, copying his every move. But he’s one of those guys that’s just irreplaceable – you can’t really copy him. You notice when he’s not there… you miss his unconditional love, you miss his charisma, you miss his laugh but most of all you miss his authenticity.
He was always good at EVERYTHING. He may not have been the best (although in many cases he was) but he was always just good. Don’t let him fool you, behind that smile is a ruthless competitor.
A lot of people know about his swimming at Industry Hills Aquatics Club or the pure Southern California domination in water polo and swimming at Walnut High (c/o 1993). There are those that know he was the starting sprinter for UCSD water polo all 4 years in college (scroll to the very bottom of the page – Captain’s club). He’s that guy. I remember getting bullied as the smallest kid in middle school but when I got to high school, Steve was king… literally. I have friends today because of him.
But I remember watching Rad with him and riding bikes in the dirt behind our old house in Rowland Heights, CA.
I remember the day we bought Super Nintendo with our Christmas money and how late we used to stay up just to beat another level at Super Metroid or the epic battles we had when Street Fighter II came out. I remember watching Search for Animal Chin with him and then him going out and actually attempting something on the crappy ramp our Uncle Richard made us.
I remember all the snowboarding trips to Lake Arrowhead with the ping pong Russian Roulette. I remember our Dana Carvey impersonations of Dana Carvey’s impersonations – like Opportunity Knocks.
I remember all the Lakers championships and losses we’ve lived through and playing ball in Suzanne Park mimicking Magic Johnson and James Worthy. I remember both of us hating our third brother Ryan Tokuda for inviting himself over on holidays just to cheer against the Lakers. I remember watching Kobe’s 81 point game from the nosebleed section with James Liau screaming at ‘the ocho’ to pass the damn ball. We lost our minds that night.
When I got out of the army in 2005, Steve changed my life. He gave me a surfboard and taught me to how to surf. He adjusted me two days a week and essentially put me through a major military detox. He taught me about eating well and Whole Foods, he introduced me to yoga, and he taught me that our thoughts matter. He showed me how the body could heal itself, that my mind could heal, as long as I gave it what it needed. He inspired me to do what I do today and he inspires me today to be a better person tomorrow.
I remember the email he sent me while I was in Iraq telling me he met the love of his life and together they now have the world’s greatest, cutest, and most amazing kids.
Steve is a beautiful man, a brilliant dad and an incredible husband that all men should emulate.
Steve, you’re 40. You’re getting old dude but I want you to know that I still love following you. You still shine a light on my path ahead and I will always appreciate you even if I didn’t surf with you this morning… who knows what I was thinking? I can’t wait for your birthday party this weekend! I love you bro!