Keeping Score

By Cindy Luis

Monday, October 11, 1999

Leave girls’ basketball
where it is

IT was a dark and stormy night. Actually, there were a number of dark and stormy nights. As well as dark and stormy mornings.

Those were the times available for girls' basketball practice at my high school during the early 1970s. Either before school started or after everyone else was done with the gym.

The boys' varsity, JV and freshmen teams had higher priority. The P.E. classes had higher priority. Heck, even the coaches' pick-up games had higher priority than the girls when it came time for gym usage at reasonable daylight hours.

This was despite the girls' varsity team having gone undefeated for three years and winning three Catholic League titles in San Diego.

This was before Title IX.

This is why I am against the proposed change to have the girls' basketball season run concurrently with the boys' season. Someone is going to get shortchanged when it comes to prime practice times.

There simply are not enough gyms in Hawaii to allow four teams from any one school - girls' and boys' varsity and junior varsity - to all practice at reasonable hours.

Someone will have to come in early, someone will have to stay late. Someone is going to have to worry about getting to or from school in the dark when the buses aren't running.

And game scheduling ... if you want to be in charge of making sure it's equal and fair, please send your name and number to the league of your choice. You couldn't be paid enough to begin covering the cost of aspirin for your headaches.

Quadrupleheaders? Girls' varsity and boys' varsity games alternating for the prime 7 p.m. game time? Why create a problem when the current setup is fair and equitable?

DON'T get me wrong. I totally understand where Jill Nunokawa and the Gender Equity Sports Club are coming from. But they're coming from a time and place that doesn't exist any more.

When Nunokawa played for Hawaii in the 1980s, it was in Klum Gym. The men's team played in Blaisdell Arena. She and the Wahine were discriminated against.

The young women of Nunokawa's generation were not on high school all-star teams that traveled to the mainland for summer competition. They did not have special clinics with top coaches. They were discriminated against.

But times have changed. The girls in Hawaii have every opportunity that the boys do when it comes to athletics and college scholarships. Girls are not only being tracked by college coaches while they are underclassmen in high school, they are being tracked by high school coaches while in middle schools and youth leagues.

The possibility of someone with college potential slipping through the cracks is so remote. Someone is going to notice that girl before she is a senior in high school, before the scholarship offers go out.

A majority of college basketball scholarships are offered in November. Before anyone has played their senior year. How many unknowns can transform themselves into a Division I player during four months? Regardless of which four months.

With separate seasons, the girls and boys get equal treatment in media coverage. If the seasons run concurrently, it will mean double the teams and half the coverage they enjoy now.

Is that fair?

Perhaps 10 years ago, there was a valid argument for bringing the girls' season in alignment with the boys' and that of the mainland. But not today.

The intent and spirit of the Title IX law is fairness. That already exists here.

Don't go back to the dark ages. Too many of us remember what that was like.

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

E-mail to Sports Editor

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