The Good Friday holiday did not mean sleeping in, although there was no school for public-school students including players on the Kalalea fourth- and fifth-grade basketball team.
“They were waiting for this,” said coach John Kaneholani of the team from the Eastside Basketball League. “They were here early. We told them 8 o’clock, but they were already cleaning the beaches from 7:30 a.m.”
The team, including parents and siblings, took advantage of a bye week to spend a day cleaning Anahola Beach Park of some of the driftwood that had accumulated from the recent rains and washed down from the Anahola River.
“There was so much wood you couldn’t even walk safely,” said Carleen Haneburg, a teacher at Kapa‘a High School. “I mentioned it, and coach said ‘it’s done.’”
Kaneholani said he just mentioned “beach cleanup,” and the kids already knew they were going to the beach. They got excited.
The Kalalea basketball team, named for the Kalalea Mountains, is made up of a lot of players from the Anahola community, Kaneholani said.
“We try to teach them to become good community members,” he said. “They need to learn to help whenever they can, and however they are able to. We didn’t have any games scheduled for this week, and we had this holiday, so we just said we’ll do it on the break.”
The cleanup involved clearing the beach of driftwood and accumulating the beach debris into a central area back of the parking lot so the County of Kaua‘i could haul the mass away. The team players and their siblings (and pet dogs) foraged for small pieces while parents unpacked their chain saws and started hacking away at the oversized logs that littered the sand.
“Remember that traffic accident in Kealia where everyone in the small car perished?” Kaneholani said. “Two of that family’s children play on Kalalea, so we gave flowers before we started cleaning.”
Amidst squeals of excitement, the players learned another aspect of team, as groups loaded and unloaded wheelbarrows of debris and, once that task was completed, continued with the team effort of lugging chunks of cut-up logs to the collection pile.
There was ample time for doughnut and water breaks before lunch that was being prepared by team parents not occupied with cleaning the beach.
“We’re having good, good stuff for lunch,” Kaneholani said. “Chicken and papaya!”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.