Lessons learned from Senior Softball reboot

For Keonimana Gents’ Senior Softball League player Sam Sheldon, not being able to play on Saturday was torturous.

With lockdown restrictions imposed and no Saturday competition on the horizon, the Gents’ slugger struggled to not replace Saturday competitions with laps back and forth to the kitchen for rounds of binge eating.

Sheldon managed to curve his cravings and overcome his urges by finding ways to stay in game condition.

No easy task.

These senior sluggers struggled to fuel the competitive fire they demonstrate on Saturdays during the lockdown.

They had a momentary sigh of relief, and the softball league hopes to complete its first round of competition by the end of July.

Will it happen?

You might as well shake a Magic 8-Ball and hope the answer “outlook not so good” doesn’t appear.

When glancing ahead of the schedule, the June 27 battle between the Gents and the Rookies had an intriguing narrative.

The Gents, the defending champs, were trying to maintain their position as top dog.

The Rookies were trying to dethrone the Gents as the league’s best.

Observers of the contest may have gotten a slightly different tone between these two high-octane groups of competitors Saturday afternoon at Bryan Baptiste Sports Complex in Kapa‘a.

On the surface, it was a fiercely-fought, first-round battle for supremacy in the league standings, with loads of bragging rights at stake.

Those bragging rights are still owned by the Gents, who won the low-scoring affair between the two power-packed lineups 9-7.

A more in-depth look into the game yields a sense of relief, an unspoken consensus that everyone was just itching to return to normal.

Rookies’ standout Nelson Chiba articulated the return to the diamond as “heaven.”

This is an entirely different sentiment you get from Major League Baseball with the continued standoff between MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and MLB Players Association’s Tony Clark.

The saga continues and, hopefully, it doesn’t end up with the same result as the 1994 World Series that never was.

They lost sight of the purity of this great sport now entangled in a tug-of-war battle of money, power and, most importantly, their egos.

With COVID-19 numbers continuing to wreak havoc on the mainland, and numbers booming in Hawai‘i, our brief return to normalcy looks to be that.

Many questions are left unanswered, and so many safety protocols will have to be in place for the high school, collegiate and professional levels before the start of the season.

No doubt, updating all of the safety protocols to ensure the safety of competitors will be a costly maneuver for all Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association contact sports.

The senior softball game was more than just another game.

It was a glimpse into our past lives.

Enjoy it while it lasts.

•••

Jason Blasco, sports reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or jblasco@thegardenisland.com.

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