KOOLAU Volleyball Club? It has a nice ring to it. And a rather nice swing to it.
Taking a swing at
forming a volleyball club
The tentatively named club had its first informational meeting Saturday morning at the Kailua Recreation Center Pavilion. Judging by the turnout at 8 a.m., the Windward side is hungry for a youth volleyball organization.
As often happens, two parents didn't realize there was a void until they went looking for a club for their daughter close to home. Dawn Malia Chapman was already making the trip to attend Kamehameha Schools and mom Joslyn didn't relish leaving her 13-year-old in town all day to work out with a club or have her make a return trip in the evening.
"Malia had gone to Dave Shoji's camp the past two years and really liked it," Joslyn Chapman said of the popular summer camp put on by the University of Hawaii Wahine coach. "The first year, it was mostly for fun, but the second year she went back with all this confidence. Dave suggested we put her in a club.
"She didn't make her interme-diate team -- there were 120 girls trying out for 12 spots -- but she wanted to get better. We decided to look around and were amazed there was nothing on the Wind-ward side. We decided to find out how much interest there was."
A notice was run in the Windward Sun Press. The response was overwhelming.
"We had 70-80 people contact Joslyn, either calling, dropping by the house or writing letters," said Chapman's former husband Don. "It was phenomenal. Kids were writing the letters themselves. One was from five boys who said they wanted to play and that they had more friends who wanted to play.
"Obviously, there's a great need and great interest."
AND also one big problem: a lack of facilities. Former Wahine All-American Lisa Strand-Ma'a and husband Pono looked at forming a junior club several years ago when they were living in Kaneohe.
"I wish them luck," said Strand-Ma'a. "We tried it. There's just no place to play on that side."
Or at least no place that isn't in constant use, such as the Kailua, Kaneohe and Waimanalo recrea-tion centers or the high schools.
"It's not that hard to set up a club, but getting facilities are tough," said Clayton Tano, who runs the business side of Asics Rainbow Volleyball club. "Asics has about 11 teams, about 130 players, and we're practicing all over the place. Ruger, Kalani, Punahou and UH when we can get them.
"What you're looking at is using places at odd hours, too, early mornings or later in the evenings."
Tano attended Saturday's meeting in an advisory role. Asics Rainbow is sponsored by Asics sportswear, which also sponsors Shoji's Wahine team.
"We'd like to try to help get it started, try to help them look for coaches," said Shoji. "There's a lot of interest on that side and I'd like to see the talent developed."
IT'S a huge undertaking. Joslyn Chapman's oldest son, James Andrade, tried to talk her out of it long distance.
"James coaches volleyball at Notre Dame High School in California," said Chapman. "He's asking me, 'Do you have any idea what you're getting into?' But his team went from winning three games their first year to the North California championships. All I asked was, 'Isn't worth it?'
"I'm more than happy to get caught with the ball in my hands if it's going to benefit my kids and others. My feeling is that if kids find something they like, they're going to have confidence in it and in life. There are so many kids that need stuff to do, especially from 7-9 p.m. But this is not going to be a baby-sitting service. If your kid plays, so do you. Parents will have to participate."
Chapman can be reached at 263-8068. Her address is 620 Akoakoa St., Kailua, 96734.
Cindy Luis is a Star-Bulletin sportswriter.
Her column appears weekly.