Let’s expand school sports to intermediates

Bobby Curran
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Friday - August 15, 2008
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The announcement last week that the Board of Education would spare athletics from its budget cuts, allowing junior varsity sports to continue, was an excellent first step. The data on the benefits to our young people who play sports is hard to ignore, and a large number of people in our community get it.

But I think we need to plan on dedicating more funds to athletics. Knowing that other states devote between 3 percent and 6 percent of their school budgets to athletics, and that currently Hawaii devotes only .56 percent of our school budget to athletics, I have a modest proposal: Why not devote 1 percent of that money to sports? We then would no longer be one of three states without intermediate-level athletics. We could take another 6,000 or so of our young people, our most at-risk age groups, and give them the same opportunities for directed activity, role modeling, creation of self-esteem and avoidance of anti-social behavior that benefit the older kids who are involved in athletics.

I’m not advocating slighting the academic mission, but rather enhancing it. And we can do it with a commitment of 1 percent. Just a 1 percent investment in our young people.

Is that too much to ask?

When the U.S. Olympic women’s volleyball team takes the floor in Beijing, it’s quite remarkable to see three former Rainbow Wahine in the starting lineup. Robyn Ah Mow-Santos, Heather Bown and Kim Willoughby are a big part of this Olympic team, and they’re a huge reminder of the long-term success of the Rainbow Wahine program under Dave Shoji.

This year’s Wahine edition will blend some talented new-comers with a core of returning veterans, and Shoji has again compiled a challenging non-conference schedule. Single game tickets are available now. Go to Hawaiiathletics.com for details.

Who says the Olympics lack excitement? If you were on the edge of your seat during the men’s 4 x100 freestyle swim, you weren’t alone. Jason Lezak’s anchor leg goes on the all-time highlight reel. I’ve got a feeling we’ll see some drama with the U.S. gymnastics and basketball teams before it’s all over. It’s unbelievable that more than 1 billion folks around the world watched the U.S. play China in the hoops opener. I can’t wait to watch the U.S. men play Greece and Argentina.

By week’s end we should have some clarity on the UH quarterback situation. Right now it may be too close to call. Expect either Inoke Funaki or junior college transfer Greg Alexander to have the reins against Florida at the swamp Aug. 30. Competition is brisk for some special team spots - that could be one of the most improved areas for the Warriors this year.

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