Keeping Score

By Cindy Luis

Tuesday, October 29, 1996


Treats would make
local sports sweeter

FOR us procrastinators, it really is too early to be thinking about Christmas shopping. After all, there are 76 more days . . . 1,824 hours . . . plenty of time.

But there are some gifts that are desperately needed, the sooner the better. Consider these treats that should be popped into Halloween goodie bags.

For UH arena: Outside of a much-deserved name change - to Stan Sheriff Arena - the two-year-old facility begs for a more efficient ticket system. Fans are being held hostage by an archaic mode of printing tickets as they are purchased, particularly on game days.

Wahine matches are near sellouts, with over 8,800 in the arena last Friday and a capacity crowd of 10,225 expected for Saturday's sold-out match against Stanford. How much money is being saved by not printing up a full complement of tickets ahead of time?

There should be a directory map of the arena outside the ticket office, a la Blaisdell Arena, with ticket windows selling specific sections. And, specifically, a window for up-coming matches.

Currently, tickets being sold on game days are for that particular game. If one wanted to purchase tickets for the Nov. 17 regular-season finale, for example, it has to be done during weekday business hours.

Where is the logic in this? Normal working people are also working during those same business hours, with little time to get to the arena during even the most extravagant of lunch hours. How much more convenient it would be if the fans who are already at the arena were allowed to buy other tickets ahead of time.

One UH athletic department official said there was a good reason for advance tickets not being available during game days, but he couldn't remember what it was. Obviously, it's something that is worth forgetting.

For volleyball players: An indoor facility with both sand and hardwood courts would be a great addition for night leagues.

Recreation centers are overflowing with athletes sharing the gyms, from indoor soccer to basketball to volleyball leagues.

This probably would have to be a private-sector business venture, but one worth pursuing. The concept has been successful in several mainland cities, places where the only sand to be found is in hour glasses.

If it can happen in Iowa and Illinois, why not Hawaii? With our miles of beaches, there still are very few places for sand volleyball play. And none for night use.

There have been so many plans for Olympic-type training facilities on Oahu. With beach volleyball making a successful debut at the Atlanta Games, an indoor facility would be an ace.

For winter baseball: It truly would be a Field of Dreams if the Hawaii Winter Baseball league could find a home for its windward-Oahu expansion franchise next season. Negotiations for use of the field at the Kaneohe Marine Corps Base-Hawaii ran into a legal dead end.

The league has long wanted a team on the windward side. It's no secret those people are baseball fans, but the drive back over the Pali or Likelike after coming home from work in town seems as daunting as facing John Wetteland in the ninth inning.

A win-win solution might be for the league and Hawaii Pacific to jointly build a complex at HPU's Hawaii Loa campus. The winter league and college seasons don't overlap, and it would be a boon to the Sea Warriors, who have shuttled between the Keehi Lagoon and Ala Wai fields.

For Herman Wedemeyer: The latest issue of Sports Illustrated has a wonderful article recapping Wedemeyer's athletic career with the St. Mary's Gaels in the 1940s. It's a story that needs to be told but, more important, needs to be remembered.

Too often island athletic icons are forgotten at home but honored elsewhere. It's time for Hawaii to reclaim its great heroes with a Hall of Fame.



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




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