City Council unanimously approves Safe Sports Hawaii resolution

Proponents for bringing organized youth sports back to Oahu are hoping that a resolution led by Councilmember Andria Tupola is approved on Wednesday at Honolulu Hale. Star-Advertiser photo

It is official for the continuing mission to bring youth and high school sports back, at least on Oahu.

The Honolulu City Council passed RES21-018 CD1, spearheaded by Councilmember Andria Tupola, on Wednesday at Honolulu Hale. The measure was drawn up by Safe Sports Hawaii and passed by a 9-0 vote.

Now, it moves to Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s office for examination and adjusting.


“COVID-19 has brought a new challenge to the world and this comes with a set of protocols and restrictions, but dealing with this isn’t impossible,” Tupola said. “Through RES21-018 we can create a safe sports framework for Hawaii’s youth. I’m grateful for the full support of the Honolulu City Council to convene a working group to start the path forward. Our hope is that these efforts will help future generations of athletes, leaders, and Hawaii families.”

The passage doesn’t mean high school football will return. It does mean that organized youth sports are one big step closer to returning. Chad Owens, a key part of Safe Sports Hawaii, envisioned a return by March for club sports to Parks and Recreation field and gyms. His son, Moanalua senior quarterback Chad Owens Jr., is clinging to hope that the stars might align and leagues across the state reconsider their cancellations of football. The sport was postponed in the fall and was pencilled in to be played in the spring by the state’s public-school leagues, but that was cancelled earlier this month.

“That’s amazing. There’s just a chance of football happening and sports being back,” Owens Jr. said.

The City Council and City and County of Honolulu have no direct relationship with the State, but the C&C’s tier system regarding COVID-19 have apparently been somewhat influential on the DOE and high school sports.

Owens Jr. also plays baseball, and all five of the state’s leagues plan on playing spring sports. There is doubt, though, among some even as Oahu’s COVID-19 new-case total has declined in the past week below 100. On Wednesday, the new case total was 61, well below the levels that followed the holiday season.


What many student-athletes and families are looking for is certainty. They know it doesn’t exist in this pandemic. Roosevelt boys basketball coach Steve Hathaway saw his team’s dream dissipate when winter sports were cancelled. His older son, Taven, is a baseball player at Saint Louis. Like most programs in the private-school Interscholastic League of Honolulu, Saint Louis is dependent on Parks and Recreation fields to play games. A younger son, Trystan, plays youth baseball.

“I am hoping we get back to youth sports. We are taking Trystan’s team to Reno in June. Without a return to sports, it would have been a year since their last game when we get to Reno,” Hathaway said.

If there’s no football, student-athletes like Owens Jr. may have their chance to compete in baseball, softball, boys volleyball, track and field, and more.

“I won’t be better off (without football), but kids will have opportunities, something will happen for some people here,” he said. “I play baseball. I love baseball, too.”


Owens Jr. won’t give up the dream of playing football in his senior year.

“I just hope for the best and when they do come to an announcement, be ready for whatever sport they bring back,” he said. “Just be ready for it.”

COMMENTS

  1. Equity January 28, 2021 2:30 am

    I hope ALL sports organizations will be considered when deciding to resume activity in City parks. Club sports, as opposed to youth sports, like Little league, Pop Warner and AYSO, are not the same. Are we only trying to get elite athletes these opportunities? Will this initiative share it’s vision with the vast majority of families of novice players, who have participated in decades old non-profit established leagues for fun and recreation, too? Should a child who’s parents pay more for the Club be given first opportunity over a child who just wants to play for fun, for a league with standard dues/fees?
    Also, are parents willing to sacrifice their personal desire to attend practices and games to safely control the numbers gathering at City parks in order to facilitate a practice or games? Is it clear to adults that they have much more responsibility in Safe Sports than their child, as decisions and behaviors are allowed away from the fields, at home?
    I want to see our keiki resume play too, just hoping that ALL are a part of the plan, not just those who have greater skill and resources than others. Much to be discussed and discussion is Good! Thank you Chad. Andria for bringing it to the table.


  2. SMH SMH SMH Makakilo / Ewa bound January 28, 2021 9:26 am

    Might as well just let the kids play already. People in hawaii dont care about the future effects. They already doing it out in the public. 7 on 7 games at parks with hundreds of people , most not even wearing masks. SMH. I even seen head coaches out there on the field with these 7 on 7 games and i believe this is all 100 percent illegal right now , so i dont know how they are getting away with it. At this point , might as well just bring back sports, because people are not listening and finding ways around it to do it.


  3. IloveHawaii January 29, 2021 8:36 am

    Those soccer teams I see up at Waiau must have a crystal ball.
    They knew it was going to be passed.

    They’ve been holding full practices for the past couple weeks.
    Fo’real.


  4. Falcon Future January 29, 2021 10:15 am

    LOL, you should see Kapiolani Park. Full teams practicing every afternoon AND parents all lining their chairs along the field talking story. It’s not just one team, it’s like 7-8 teams throughout the park. It pretty much looks like it did pre-pandemic already at Kapiolani.

    Of course if the City is going to continue sticking their head in the sand on this, then by all means these teams can take all the risks they want to until someone tells them to stop.


  5. Rebel January 30, 2021 11:38 am

    At Kapiolani Park, I know that one soccer club breaks the rules of five or more. This soccer club coaches also coach at Punahou.


  6. Hmmm? January 30, 2021 12:04 pm

    I’ve seen workers at Kapiolani Park talk to those large groups. They don’t listen, they need to be cited by HPD.


  7. Fa'a February 1, 2021 7:31 am

    Allowing Sports at this time to me shouldnt be a good idea. We are doing good with #s, vaccines are here, by summer all sports will be back in full swing including high school football. Why take the risk now ? Trust me on this , if sports go back especially football, i dont care how you look at it, kids/coaches/parents will the get the virus regardless with all this safe things that are trying to implement. Thats just the nature of it. Yah it sucks for the seniors , i feel for them, but we didnt plan to have this virus and its out of our control to stop the spread even if we do the right things. Sacrificing this season is safer that opening up a can of worms. But by putting yourself around a 100 plus kids and coaches on the field at the same time is just a time bomb waiting to happen. And I could imagine the spread and what it would be like especially when alot of house holds in hawaii have multiple families living in it. IDK how the DOE is allowing HIgh school coaches to be holding these scrimmages and practices , I mean what kind of messages are we sending these kids about following rules? Whats even more sad i see head coaches out there on the field. SMH . Parents all cruzing on the side , all not wearing masks mingling. Terrible.


  8. ILoveHawaii February 1, 2021 9:35 am

    #1-

    Has there been an indication that this is happening?
    That there may be some sort of unequitable treatment upon the “novice’s” as you put it.

    Are they at the table to assist with the push to re-open sports?
    Do you anticipate the Mayor and all his staff overlooking the need for equity?


  9. Equity February 1, 2021 10:44 am

    ILoveHawaii

    I went to rhe City website to view the resolution. It seems to be focused on the governor and mayor reviewing the current teir system and amending the restrictions to allow sports in City parks. The problem I see is that the 808 Safe Sports plan may not be all inclusive. I am not certain, and would love for Tupola to specify the full range of who will gain from the allowance of a return to play.
    If all sports leagues are eligible to play, then the question of field and court space availability comes into consideration. Who will get and who will miss out? My concern is that a short sighted decision will impact the way fields are permitted in the future and if it opens the door for money making interests to take advantage of free public parcels. I believe there is a place for “club” activity…..public and private school campuses. There, administrators can charge appropriate fees that can truly balance the equity of all interested in returning to play. Families who have been financially impacted are the ideal persons to gain access to a City park, as most do not have the resources to play for exclusive clubs. Trouble is, there are no schools who want to invite groups on their campuses. This is where the governor could help expand the the number of available facilities.

    Like I said, much to discuss. But to your point, dangerously at risk of oversight by mayor and gov if nobody tells them. Like, legally dangerous. Hope adults can openly fund solutions.


  10. ILoveHawaii February 1, 2021 1:41 pm

    I dont see it becoming an inclusivity issue.
    At least with populations you have been referring to.

    What is the current process for fields, well, pre-covid?
    First come first served?
    That wont work, everybody and their auntie will be standing in line for those permits.

    Private schools will not offer their campus to outside entities and I assume public schools will do the same citing covid-concerns.

    I certainly agree that there needs to be some guidance on this issue in addition to clear and concise requirements of the coaches/organizations on how practices should be run.

    And fines or loss of permits if an organization is not following the rules.


  11. Face the Facts February 1, 2021 2:28 pm

    Bottom Line, Too much liability and state is not going to take that chance. For all your hopers out there , football aint happening until next season. Just face the facts. The state aint going to let it happen, again, too much liability is what it comes down too. Period.


  12. Parent/Coach February 22, 2021 1:28 pm

    I am all for youth sports and I understand the importance of it. I also understand the need for high school students to get sport scholarships for college, they would need to be have exposure. Unfortunately, my issue is if parents cannot send their children to school for fear of COVID , then children do not belong playing organized sports at this time. You can’t control how young people will behave in dugouts, on benches or on the field during practices or games. Next, there’s a surprising amount of students who are at home failing in their education. Did we forget that when they are in high school and college you are a “Student Athlete”. Student is first and athlete second. This mentality and behavior is instilled when they are young in elementary, through middle school and on. What really is important? My priority will always be the health and welfare of my child. Sports will come and go and honestly a lot of what sports teaches begin in the home anyway. Parents are the first coaches/ teachers in a child’s life. Team work, communication, hard work, etc. all starts from home. The adults who are allowing practices in parks when clearly shouldn’t, should ask themselves the message you’re sending to these kids. ” Its alright not to listen to authority?” ” Its alright to give Park employees a hard time when they are doing there jobs by reminding these group they shouldn’t be there.” Sometimes parents want an excuse to go out and hang out with friends as if its a social event. Our actions and decisions shape the minds and perceptions of our youth- whether you are a parent, coach, professional athletes,or an older teenager.


  13. Paul Honda February 23, 2021 12:39 pm

    Caution and safety have been top priority at these exhibition games. Not a single spectator. Meanwhile, thousands of people flock into stores and malls.

    Parents have every right to have their children opt out of on-campus learning and sports. They also have the right to allow their children to participate on campus and in extracurricular activities.

    No easy decisions, but I do respect the schools that are trying to preserve the high school experience for their students and student-athletes. Imperative word is “Try.” What remaining memories of joy are still available, have at it and extract what can be extracted.


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