For the third consecutive Little League World Series, the west division champions will be represented by the Aloha State as Honolulu will open play in Williamsport, Pennsylvania on Thursday.
The team will be in search of Hawaii’s fourth World Championship in the prestigious tournament since 2005 but as a very important member of the team is showing by example, victories on the field take a backseat to the friendships formed through formidable times.
As anyone who has ever played youth sports would attest, the position group of team mom’s are often times the unsung heroes of the season. The west regional champs of the Honolulu Little League is not different as the sign making, flag waving, chee-hoo screaming sorority of mothers have created a tight knit family of families that have helped guide Hawaii’s latest team of summertime stars into the Little League World Series.
“They’re support system is the backbone of everything. They’re there at the games cheering, they’re doing the snacks, and especially on these trips to the regionals it’s been awesome having them here and we couldn’t have done it without them,” head coach Bud Sardinha told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello.
Beyond helping with travel, food, laundry, tutoring, transportation and countless other tasks to help make the once in a lifetime experience possible. One mother in particular, provides indescribable inspiration. Five months ago, Cindy Sardinha, the mother of infielder Coen and wife of head coach Bud was diagnosed with breast cancer and continues to undergo treatment amid the world series run. An exhausting endeavor that has given her a new outlook on the meaning of ‘ohana.
“It was pretty tough, but without family I couldn’t do this, and it’s not just family. It’s friends. Friends that have become my family,” said Cindy. “Everybody on this team has parents, cousins, aunties and uncles and grandparents that have their own trials on tribulations. It’s not really about what I’m going through because everybody has a struggle and to be able to fight for each other, stand up for each other and support each other in whatever we go through daily, that’s our world right? That’s ‘ohana. That’s family and that represents Hawaii.”
As strong as she is in her conviction, she is just as strong in her intentions. Not wanting to be put under a spotlight, the proud Hawaii-native was adamant that tonight’s story not be about her fight, but instead, the strength that comes from not fighting alone. As the team’s mantra of we got your back has been epitomized through her journey.
“They help me more than I’m helping them. It’s amazing how we, Hawaii just comes together. Everybody got your back and these boys got it,” said Cindy. “We talk about in sports, hey pick me up, because you’re not going to hit all the time. You’re not going to play a perfect game but pick me up. The next person got you. It’s not an individual game. Everybody will pick the next person up in life, not just baseball.”
Honolulu’s little league world series journey gets underway on Thursday, as the team affectionately known as “Da Boys” will look to join Honolulu in 2018, Waipio in 2008, and Ewa Beach in 2005 as world champs from Hawaii. Although many view the ultimate goal as winning a championship, Cindy says, it’s not the accolades that they bring back that will be most coveted, but instead, it’s what can’t be seen, That is what will live-on with the boys forever.
“Really the ultimate prize is these memories that these boys will be lifetime friends forever and knowing as parents, making sure boys make good friendships, having good friends growing up through life is priceless.”
As one could imagine, the sense of how important friendship can be, is one that Cindy is speaking of through first hand experience.
“For sure. We can’t go through struggles alone. So, it hasn’t been a struggle for me to walk this because I had so much support along the way. We teach our kids to do unto others. Right now it’s I got your back, because this will never end. Remember where you came from and these people continue to knock on my doorstep. It’s amazing. Amazing.”
Honolulu will open play in the Little League World Series on Thursday morning against Connecticut. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00am HST on ESPN.