Hawaii’s keiki allowed to hit the field for competitive play after 1 year

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — It is the first weekend since March 2020 that children on Oahu are able to competitively play sports — both kids and adults are thrilled.

“I don’t know if this is a league game or a scrimmage game, either way, it’s a game and that’s all the matters,” said Pal Eldredge, whose grandson was playing in Manoa over the weekend.

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It has been 13 months since keiki have been able to play and practice with their teammates.  

“It’s great to have the kids out you can just feel the energy here,” said Ben Bright, president of the Manoa Youth Baseball League. “They’re just so happy to be out but there are a lot of restrictions but still it’s for the kids and we’re happy to be here.”

Coaches, staff and players must wear a face covering at all times under the City and County of Honolulu rules, and no socializing is allowed before or after the game. Spectators and fans are also not allowed near the court or field.

“We also have to do social distancing, so what we’re going to do here is extend the dugout so we can have kids sit spaced out,” Bright added. He says the spectator rule will be the most difficult one to enforce.

“I think the rules are hard for the parents more so the kids,” said Mike Englar, Pearl City Little League president.  “There’s a lot of things but the parents have to stay up in the parking lot, when usually they’re sitting right there watching their children play.”

Leagues have sent out emails to remind adults to play by the rules due to the harsh consequences.

According to City rules, permit holders are responsible for ensuring compliance with the terms of the Department of Parks and Recreation permit. Failure to comply with permit conditions by the same group/team within a two week period should result in the following actions:

  1. First violation = written warning
  2. Second violation = second written warning
  3. Third violation = one day suspension of field/court use under the permit
  4. Fourth violation = one week suspension of field/court use under the permit
  5. Fifth violation = revocation of field/court use under the permit

“That’s probably going to be the easiest way to shut sports down so we’re going to have to follow the rules but we can do it though, it can be done,” Bright added.

Bright’s son’s baseball coach streams the games live so Bright can watch them from his phone. He said it is something he hs considering for Manoa youth sports games.

“That live feed is going to be huge and once people see it and see how interactive and personable it can be, I think they’ll enjoy it,” he said.

The stands have currently moved to the tailgate and the parking lot.

“It was just really quiet [when we parked], like eerily quiet, I mean there was a full-on game, with refs, and girls running around but it was just so quiet,” said Aja-Ann Woodman, who was waiting for her son’s soccer game to begin at Waipio Soccer Complex on Saturday.

“There was one family that was honking when their child made a goal so I mean [parents are] finding ways to make it work, because it’s more important for the kids to get out then it is for us to be sitting next to the field,” she added.

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