The nostalgia that goes with Hanapepe Ballpark, a.k.a. Hanapepe Stadium, is understandable.
Small town. Coastal view. Pristine skies. Passionate community.
One thing that can be replaced — and has been replaced — are those ancient, unforgettable gray-painted wooden bleachers. The facility, operated by Parks and Recreation, Kauai County, has been shuttered for major renovations.
Bleachers are part of the latter-stage changes to the home field of Waimea High School’s football team. This season, the Menehune have played home games in Lihue’s Vidinha Stadium.
“Hopefully, we will be in the stadium for our Oct. 15 game. The county will notify us on Monday,” Waimea Athletic Director Jon Kobayashi said.
Oct. 15 is a date with Kapaa, he noted. If the facility is not ready in time, the game will be played at Vidinha Stadium. It is the regular-season finale, essentially the last game of the year for the Menehune.
Waimea’s football team is 3-3 so far, including 2-2 in the KIF. One of those losses was a narrow 3-0 score against defending champion Kapaa, widely regarded as the top D-II team in the state.
“The county does an outstanding job of supporting KIF and youth sports. They go out of their way,” said Kobayashi, who guided Waimea to league titles as a head coach in the 1990s. “Sometimes it doesn’t go our way so we make adjustments.”
The relic bleachers are long gone, possibly recycled by the county.
“The termites were getting to them and the cost of replacing them was getting too high,” Kobayashi said. “The sea salt was doing damage.”
Longtime football fans are keeping their fingers crossed for a game at Hanapepe soon.
“I’m bummed we haven’t had games at Hanapepe,” longtime radio play-by-play broadcaster Joel Pahukula said. “I love going to games there.”