WAIMEA — Waimea High School volleyball player Shyann Freitas’s long-time dream of making the Menehune varsity volleyball roster in the 2020 season in her junior year may have evaporated.
Freitas, who lost her foot in an ATV accident Labor Day of 2018 near the Old Kola Sugar Mill, has endured multiple surgeries and adjusted to the prosthetic to play sparingly last season on the Menehune JV squad but might have to wait longer.
Freitas, like several other high schoolers who participate in Hawai’i High School Athletic Association-sanctioned events, remains in limbo.
Now, Frietas claims she spends most of the time she would have devoted to playing the sport coping with the setback but is “just fine.”
“I am not sure if they have pushed it back or just canceled it for this year regarding COVID,” Freitas said.
Coping with loss
These days, Frietas’ coping mechanism for lack of time spent on the court is just trying to stay active filling her schedule with recreational activities.
Going to the park, playing volleyball with her friends, hiking up Koke‘e trail, walking and jogging is how she’s filled her schedule.
“It keeps me busy, moving and is in my liking,” Frietas said. “There are some days where I do feel exhausted, but I rest and get back to it.”
Dealing with setbacks has become normal for Freitas.
She admits the loss of her sport is a loss for the Menehune community, something Freitas addressed in a recent letter to the editor at The Garden Island.
“It’s sad to think that our precious years of playing high school sports are being taken away from kids who work very hard to get positions on the court or field,” Frietas wrote in her letter. “Who also gain opportunities from playing sports, like getting recognized or college scholarships.”
A community lost
During volleyball season, Waimea High School bands together during the fall to support a team that finished running in the Hawai’i High School Athletic Association Division II state tournament last year.
Frietas, who said kids play sports because they “enjoy it and even find a hobby in it,” acknowledges sports can be used as a vehicle to fund a college education.
“We don’t get to interact with our friends,” Frietas said. “Kids may have a lower chance of getting a sports scholarship because they don’t have sports right now.”
According to Frietas, the other concern for young players is the ripple effect on kids for not getting recognized.
“Kids won’t get recognized as easily if there were sports right now,” Frietas said. “Some kids are very passionate about sports and having it taken away from them can be very devastating.”
At one point throughout her injury, Frietas wasn’t sure if she would walk again, much less see the volleyball court.
Now Frietas is ready to show the progression of her recovery to the community.
“My injury has progressed a tremendous amount, and I’m as good as new,” Freitas said. “I walk and jog, I ride horses, and I am even practicing driving. A lot of things I do can have some challenges to it, but I adjust myself and find a way to do it just fine.”
In her letter to the editor, Freitas emphasized the importance of the sport to both kids and adults.
“Sports at Waimea High School on the west side are so important,” Freitas said.
Learning to accept change was one lesson Freitas learned through the injury, and now through the COVID-19 pandemic, she said she is learning yet another life lesson.
“The most difficult thing I have been able to overcome was learning to accept the fact that things will be difficult,” Freitas said. “I told myself, ‘I can do anything if I try hard enough and to never give up.’”