SATURDAY day morning. The first day of Christmas vacation. While most young creatures weren't stirring, over 400 of them were out at 8:30 a.m., saying Y.E.S. to the NCAA-sponsored Youth Education through Sports volleyball clinic at the University of Hawaii.
Kids just say Y.E.S.
For over three hours, Hawaii's volleyball future learned about conditioning, rules of the game, team dynamics and how it all comes together to create successful athletes.
"It was awesome,'' said former U.S. national volleyball team member and Hawaii School for Girls athletic director Beth McLachlin, who emceed the event. "It was a really wonderful clinic. I popped into all the sessions and saw so much enthusiasm.
"It seemed all the kids had a great time. It's a wonderful way for the NCAA to give back to the community.''
The NCAA holds the free clinics whenever and wherever there is a national championship event. The clinic was held here two years ago in conjunction with the men's volleyball final four.
Registration usually fills up quickly and Saturday was no exception. The 480 slots were filled by mid-November, less than a month after registration opened.
FIFTEEN college coaches, numerous Hawaii high school coaches and a few dozen college players gave up their Saturday morning to share their love of the game. The young players, ages 12-18, got a goody bag as well as a good look at what it takes to reach the next level in sport.
Besides the routine sessions for skill drills and scrimmages, the clinic also included nutrition education and a team-building session called life skills, on academics, responsibility and team work.
"We play ice-breaker games and do other things for the kids to get to know their teammates,'' said former Punahou boys' volleyball coach Chris McLachlin, who ran the life-skills session. "It's fun but educational at the same time. I had several of the Wahine players as well as (UH quarterback) Dan Robinson giving up their Saturday to do this.''
Among the coaches with local ties who were involved were former Wahine associate head coach Howard Wallace, now head women's coach at Creighton, and Punahou graduate Julie Morgan, the coach at Illinois State.
"It's such an outstanding, positive program,'' said Beth McLachlin. "I know the kids had a great time because a number of them came up asking about next year's clinic. Unfortunately, it's only held in conjunction with a final four.''
NO complaints from here about yesterday's ESPN2 telecast of Saturday's championship volleyball match between Penn State and Stanford. Well, other than it wasn't shown live.
Had the Wahine been playing, Oceanic Cable was poised to make a deal for a live broadcast. But considering that networks have shown the final up to two weeks delayed, a 12-hour time lag wasn't too bad. Especially since the teams were overly accommodating in getting the match played in under two hours.
What a concept. The network actually showed the final in its entirety, without having to splice out any of the action.
There have been occasions when the network that had the broadcast rights would be in the middle of Game 2 and , after a commercial break, would be saying, "OK, let's move to the action in Game 4.''
There's got to be a way to convince the national networks that volleyball works on TV.
Cindy Luis is a Star-Bulletin sportswriter.
Her column appears weekly.