What DOE Can Learn From Ewa Boys

Larry Price
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Wednesday - September 07, 2005
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Isn’t it interesting how excited everyone in Hawaii was over the West Oahu (Ewa Beach) Little League World Championship?

There was a big reception at the Honolulu International Airport when Flight 935 arrived; live television coverage, dignitaries, donated leis and limousines to take the team and coaches to Ewa Beach for more celebration. Fort Weaver Road was lined with well-wishers, and everyone in Ewa Beach was unified in praise for their team.

And just look at who is on the cover of this issue of MidWeek.

Try to think of another event in the state that would command that kind of excitement or interest. Furthermore, the members of this team are 12-and 13-year-olds, and their efforts have no direct impact on the state’s economy.

Even the UH Wahine volleyball team’s return from capturing a national championship didn’t command that kind of attention.

How rare a moment in Hawaii’s history where everyone agreed that this was a truly remarkable accomplishment by not only the players, but the coaches and parents!

There is something for everyone in vicariously sharing their success. But is there a message in the success for others to emulate? I think there is, and hope that the Legislature, Department of Education and the Board of Education see the magic of what happened.

Over the last year, Hawaii’s junior athletes, both boys and girls, have received international recognition for their accomplishments. Isn’t it time for our legislators to recognize that our public school system could benefit immensely from some kind of competitive athletics at the middle school level?

The elementary schools have the A+ Program to take care of the kids until the parents can retrieve them after work. It is a very constructive program and it doesn’t cost much.

The high schools have competitive athletic programs, and the interest there is intense. When high schools start competing with each other in the Oahu Interscholastic Association’s programs, school pride reaches its pinnacle.

At the most difficult time of their lives, the middle school youngsters have nothing on campus to challenge their raging hormones. It’s when they learn to smoke, drink alcoholic beverages and experiment with drugs. These vices have no competition as soon as school is out.

Isn’t it amazing how well these young athletes performed all over the Mainland and demonstrated such poise when the television cameras were on them during their exploits?

I don’t think having a Junior Varsity sports program would bankrupt the DOE. The state is spending so much money on Green Harvests year after year and another huge amount on fighting the crystal meth problem, it seems a JV sports program at the middle school level is worth a sincere effort.

The carryover benefit of a JV sports program could not only teach lifelong skills, it also could become big a benefit to promoting the health and welfare of the youngsters in our public school system.

After all, one only has to look at the unifying effect the accomplishments of the West Oahu Little League team has had on the state and the West Oahu community. Most of the private schools have JV programs. Ever wonder why?

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