It’s hard to predict where Chad Owens would be today if it weren’t for the opportunities provided by the OIA.
After a prep career at Roosevelt as a star in football, track and baseball, Owens walked on to the University of Hawaii football team in 2000. From there, he became an All-American punt returner and receiver before getting selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the sixth round of the 2005 NFL Draft. After a brief NFL career, he latched on to the CFL for nearly a decade, where he was a four-time All-Star and named the league’s Most Outstanding Player in 2012.
Tuesday’s news of the OIA officially canceling its fall and winter sports for the 2020-2021 academic year struck a chord with Owens, who is hopeful that Hawaii’s youth athletes can still have an outlet during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know what we know now. What’s the next step? How can we help these kids? How can they still compete? How can they still gain the values and lessons from sports that’s gonna help them so much in life? That’s the things as parents, as teachers, as coaches, schools, media personnel,” Owens told KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello. “How can we help these kids so that mentally, they don’t go the other way?
“This can’t be the end. You can’t just, you know what I’m saying, stop. This is a lot of these kids’ lives. That’s why they joined sports, because they’ve always been involved in sports. So they’re just like, just cut them off? And then all of a sudden, you just expect a 16-, 15-, 14- and even an 18-year-old to just make that adult type of adjustment like that? It’s not gonna happen. … Before making a decision like this, I hope that there was a plan in place moving forward.”
The decision by the OIA will mark a full year’s worth of sports seasons getting canceled. In 2020, spring sports were canceled in March as the pandemic started to gain prominence worldwide.
“I just think there could be a solution to having something for the kids, especially the seniors, just to experience something one more time,” Chad Owens Jr., a senior football and baseball player at Moanalua said. “Maybe an inner-school thing, you don’t have to have a mix between different schools, maybe just a practice and film or something just to get interest or a schedule of how you used to do it. But it is what it is and you just gotta get through it and hopefully something happens.”