Keeping Score

By Cindy Luis

Monday, January 4, 1999


Be a volunteer
and make a
difference

NEED a New Year's resolution? It's not too late to make one, especially if you've got some free time.

It's not going to cost you anything. And the rewards will be priceless.

Consider becoming a volunteer for a youth sports team. The signs are up all over your neighborhood, announcing registration dates for leagues and sports.

But even more than players, these leagues need adults who will coach, keep score, officiate and be a supportive influence on the youngsters. Sometimes, it's a league that's just waiting for an adult to make it happen.

It only takes a spark to get a fire going. In the case of the Windward Volleyball League, Joslyn Chapman has ignited a wildfire.

With little notice or fanfare, last year's inaugural season drew 200 youngsters, ages 7-14, for coed recreational volleyball play. Chapman expects upwards of 500 this season and "we'll really be needing coaches," she said.

"But the nice thing about this league is there's no pressure to win. Some of the teams that did the best last season started off without a coach. The parents, who had no volleyball experience, stepped in. Those were the teams that won and had the most fun."

The WVL is a sanctioned Police Activities League with the PAL philosophy of fun and good sportsmanship. The emphasis is on learning skills and teamwork.

THE league was born out of a conversation between Chapman and daughter Dawn Malia. The younger Chapman, who paddles competitively, was looking for a sport to play just for fun.

"She wanted to know why there weren't teams to go have fun instead of having to tryout," Joslyn Chapman said. "If you're not good, you never get to play. We put a little notice in the papers and I was overwhelmed by the response. There were so many people who felt the same way about having friendly competition, where you don't have to be worried about rankings or ratings.

"And some of our coaches didn't even have children in the league. But I think it showed the kids that if you love the sport, you're going to stay involved. They have that organization 'Parents Without Partners.' Maybe we've started 'Parents Without Kids.' "

The WVL is an all-volunteer organization. The cost is $15 to cover the basics: a T-shirt and insurance. The season is short: five weeks with play at the gyms in Kailua, Waimanalo and Kaneohe.

"I hate fund-raising so we don't," Chapman said. "The parents end up buying most of the stuff the kids are selling anyway so why not just make it a basic registration fee. And we wanted to keep the season short so the kids want to play again.

"We also wanted to give the younger kids an opportunity. There aren't that many things for 7-year-olds to do. When (Wahine assistant coach) Charlie Wade came to give a clinic last year, he was so surprised to see the 7-year-olds. I don't think he'd ever seen players under 3-feet."

CHAPMAN'S personal athletic background isn't deep. She ran track and was a high-jumper at Kamehameha Schools, and she played mountainball.

A lot of her interest comes from being a mom to James and Daniel Andrade and Dawn Malia and Kai Chapman. Her two older sons recently moved back to Hawaii "and they already have their teams for this season," she said.

One learns quickly that Chapman rarely takes no for an answer. And if a board member doesn't show up for a meeting, they get volunteered for a job. Ask Chapman's sister, Odetta Wong, who missed a meeting and ended up as a coach.

Chapman's next goal? "Wouldn't it be neat to have 2,000 kids for the year 2000?" she asked, semi-seriously.

Seriously, she'd settle for up to 500 players this year and a few more coaches. Donations are always welcome.

Call Chapman at 263-8068. And be prepared to say "Yes."



Cindy Luis is a Star-Bulletin sportswriter.
Her column appears weekly.



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