It appears one of Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s latest goals in loosening the island’s COVID-19 restrictions is to have a gradual return to recreational and high-school sports.
According to a recent Hawai‘i News Now Report, Blangiardi has confirmed that he is working with Gov. David Ige to do just that.
O‘ahu is in a different scenario than Kaua‘i. O‘ahu remains in Tier 2 and is currently restricting outdoor sports.
This is in contrast to Kaua‘i, which is in Tier 4, and the Kaua‘i Senior Softball League, recreational tennis, pickleball and some youth baseball and basketball continue to proceed with business as usual.
Unfortunately, life isn’t fair, especially when you are dealing with political red tape.
According to the article, Honolulu City Councilmember Andria Tupola has spent weeks working with the athletics community to draft a 44-page handbook with protocols on how to safely reopen sports.
“I think what would be fair is for the state to release these restrictions on venue capacities and spectators and allow people to play sports safely,” Tupola told Hawai‘i News Now.
Tupola expounded to say in the interview that sports can be played relatively safely.
Kaua‘i has proven this to be true since the start of 2021 with the success of their recreational activities.
What do O‘ahu’s actions have to do with dictating what the Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association and the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation do moving forward with bringing back their sanctioned sports?
It doesn’t appear the HHSAA will move forward without the sum of all of its parts moving in the same direction, and it appears all eyes will see what O‘ahu does for forward progress to be made with high-school sports.
Another area that has been forgotten in the translation of HHSAA events getting lost is the mental-health aspect and the bonding sports create with a community. Right now, because everything has become so fragmented, that sense of unity has all but evaporated under the glare of the global pandemic.
With COVID-19 variants starting to impact communities, to an unknown extent, and if the current vaccines can be modified, the caution flag as we take our first laps around the 2021 track will continue to be drawn.
The decision on whether to continue high-school sports certainly is a unique one here in the islands, compared to the majority of the mainland states that are now playing full or abridged season schedules.
There is so much at stake, and one bad move, one bad decision, can end up being costly.
Hawai‘i is doing the right thing by proceeding with caution, because nothing, moving forward, will ever be status quo again.
Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.