NIKKI KUMURA / KA PUNAHOU
These athletes are not only trying out for the soccer team, they are also trying out the newly implemented girls soccer season.
A revised schedule for school sports causes other problems
Last year, Hawaii and Michigan were rebels. No, not like guerrilla warriors. But in 2006, Hawaii and Michigan were the only two states to have their girls basketball and softball seasons and boys volleyball season at different times from colleges and high schools in the other 48 states.
1601 Punahou St.
Honolulu, HI 96822
James K. Scott
Buff and blue
3,750 (grades K-12)
This year they are now part of the flow. Because of complaints from several Michigan communities, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of uniformly applying Title IX to promote equal opportunity between both female and male athletes. Girls basketball has been moved to winter, the same time as boys basketball; softball now coincides with baseball and newly rearranged boys volleyball in the spring. Originally, the plan was to put the changes into effect in the 2008-09 school year, but the Hawaii High School Athletic Association was forced to accelerate initiation of the new schedule in 2007-08 out of fear of lawsuits.
Equality is good, but no one can ignore the space issues that have been plaguing athletic directors islandwide since initiation of Title IX. With our limited space in Hawaii, it is extremely difficult to share practice and playing area. At Punahou we have access to incredible facilities, but it's next to impossible to squeeze about 12 basketball teams into the gym and outside courts, and eight softball/baseball teams onto Middle Field and the baseball field.
The athletic directors (ADs) have a formidable opponent to tackle. All the season changes bring up important issues; however, the one that appears to cause the most difficulty is the change in softball season.
AD Tom Holden considered everything from utilizing Middle Field and the Junior School PE Pavilion to putting up a gigantic dividing net across Lower Field. However, while each solution might solve one aspect of the space issue, it conflicts with something else. For example, Middle Field has to be used for soccer in winter, so no huge changes can be made. Similarly, the PE Pavilion needs to be in use for the Junior School after-school care.
The change in basketball season initially posed a huge problem, as well. However, because it is an indoor sport, there are no daylight-hour restrictions and there can be morning/later practices. Holden also mentioned the plan to restrict non-Punahou teams from using our gym for their games to optimize gym time for our teams.
Though there seems to be a general consensus that Title IX advocates gender equality by giving girls more opportunities to get recruited, girls varsity basketball coach Mike Taylor has a different opinion: "In reality, I don't think the change gives our girls that much of an advantage. ... Right after the regular season ended in May, our girls were in shape and ready for the summer team, where college coaches had more opportunities to see our talent. A lot of them are going to be too busy with their own teams to watch our girls now."
The new schedule will also have a potentially harmful effect on his players. With three games a week, on top of schoolwork and late practices, the girls will have a lot on their plates. Other disadvantages involve competition between boys teams over experienced officials/referees and press time.
Varsity baseball player Evan Yamamoto thought the new change would bring positive results, saying, "Hawaii athletes need all the exposure they can get." Though this certainly reinforces the purpose of the season switch, with the amount of time and work it will take to get everything running smoothly, it seems like the whole season change has dug a big, bottomless hole.
But as Holden summarized, "Everything has to be on the table; then we can pick and choose which options will be able to work. It's going to take a lot of cooperation and communication between the coaches. This'll be a transition year, but the school will be really involved and supportive."
How to get yourself ready for campaign 2008
Voters have a duty to be fully informed about their choices
The countdown to the 2008 U.S. presidential election has already begun. Yet something is significantly different about this one: We -- the high school seniors, as well as several juniors -- will be able to cast a ballot. We're no longer voting for our class president who reads the school announcements; we're talking about the leader of the free world, and that's something that shouldn't be taken lightly. For those who turn 18 by the February primaries, this voting process is just around the corner. Yet how many of us really know who the candidates are? And I don't mean their names and faces; I mean their policies, methods and campaign promises. Now that we have the right to vote, are we prepared for it?
Recently, campaigns have been made to strongly encourage people, especially the younger crowds, to vote. During the election in 2004, there was the "Vote or Die" campaign, which was often publicized on MTV. As this slogan illustrates, voting seems to be sold as an obligation, a requirement. And while these campaigns stress the need to vote, they don't particularly stress the need to know who you're voting for.
While I do believe that voting can be thought of as a citizen's duty, I believe it is more of a privilege than anything else. And as we all well know, with privilege comes responsibility -- in this case, responsibility to yourself and your nation to make wise, judicious decisions.
Unfortunately, viewpoints can often be swayed. Programs like "The Daily Show" tend to present current events from a biased, slanted perspective, as well as trivialize some rather serious matters. They provide us not just with the news, but with preformed opinions, making it harder to judge the news for ourselves. With a lack of solid knowledge, it is also more likely for us to be swayed by popular opinion. We will hear what our parents and teachers have to say and, not having developed our own sound position, might adopt their viewpoints as our own.
Or, we could tend toward narrow-mindedness. By this, I mean judging a candidate based on just a few facts. For instance, many people from Hawaii might be interested in Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., simply because he is local. Others might be interested in another Democrat, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, just because she is a woman or because she is former President Bill Clinton's wife, while others might be opposed to electing Clinton because she is a woman or Bill Clinton's wife. Some might favor former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney because he is Mormon, while others might dislike him for the same reason. Many might vote for a candidate merely based on political party affiliation. But these factors barely skim the surface. What we should really be concerned with is the candidates' policies and methods.
There are 17 candidates -- yes, there are more than just the couple of first-tier contenders -- currently in the running. And while you can read about them in your typical magazine or online news source, there are other ways to find out information. All candidates have MySpace pages -- run, of course, by their staff. You can also access related videos on YouTube. There is a specific YouTube channel titled "You Choose 08," where each candidate has his or her own file of videos. There are thousands of videos, ranging from speeches to debates, interviews and news stories.
Voting is a privilege, first and foremost. We have been given the opportunity to elect the president of one of the world's leading nations. Therefore, it is our duty to be informed about our choices. Frankly, it is inexcusable and rather appalling that some are willing to make blind decisions when it comes to determining our future leader. So hopefully when we go to vote next year, we will know more than just the names on the ballot.
"As you get ready to vote for the first time, what information would you want to know about a candidate in order to decide whether you would support that person?"
"When making decisions, to what degree are you guided by the Bible to solve the problems presented to you?"
"Tell me about your background. Knowing where you come from will tell me where you are going to go if you are elected."
"Why do we get involved in so many world issues when we have a hard enough time solving the issues facing our own nation?"
"How does family play a part in your life?"
"What are your plans for America's taking action against global warming?"
"What changes would you make to our current tax system, and how hard would you push for these changes?"
"How are you going to help those who can't help themselves like homeless people, children, and the elderly?"
"What's your stance on less prevalent issues such as the genocide in Darfur and the other inhumane acts being committed there, and how do you plan to resolve them?"