A champion shouldn’t be defined by a first-place trophy or a school banner that will hang on the wall for decades.
The Damien volleyball team, who were heavily favored with their No. 1 seed and ultimately captured the 2019 New City Nissan Girls Volleyball Division II championship crown, certainly are well deserved to wear the crown of a champion, but let’s not forget being a champion is a state of mind.
The Waimea High School volleyball team worked and hunted all season for the Division II championship crown, but ultimately came up short in their quest of being crowned a champion, or did they?
Throughout the season, the Menehune volleyball team navigated through the hyper-competitive talent of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation to capture the KIF championship. They went through round one and round two with and finished the season with a perfect 11-0 record against top-tier, on-island opponents.
The Menehune volleyball team positioned themselves to have a significant opportunity to capture a Hawaiian Division II volleyball title headed into the Division II state competition.
When the Waimea High School seniors were honored in a post-game celebration after their Oct. 11 match against Kauai High School, one could quickly get the idea they were playing for something more than just volleyball.
You got the sense this entire team wanted to bring home the championship crown for Waimea High School and the island because of all the on and off-the-court adversity this team has endured all year long.
After junior varsity volleyball player, Shyann Freitas suffered an ATV accident last Labor Day, and the school had to deal with bomb threats, you felt that the Menehune team wanted to win to create positive news for their school and community.
One psychological component that is significant in sports is that it’s an avenue of escape, especially when you win. It’s also an outlet to represent your community in a positive light, which, as a spectator, is always fun to live vicariously through a team that understands and embraces wearing the name of their town on their jersey.
Ultimately, Waimea fell short of hoisting the championship trophy.
Still, their energy and commitment to getting there was an adequate representation of Kauai and the KIF, and their community should treat them like the champions they are.
The sheer determination to play for something bigger then themselves makes this group of teenagers wise beyond their years and is the state of mind of a champion.
This team displayed those characteristics all season to make the 2019 Menehune girls season one of the most successful in recent memory, and that in itself is a true embodiment of a champion.