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.”