Star-Bulletin Sports


Hansen limited by choices

By Cindy Luis

The playing opportunities weren't there for Denice Koanui Hansen when she was at Farrington High School.

"Nothing really, unless you wanted to be a cheerleader," said the 52-year-old Hansen.

It didn't stop Hansen from becoming involved with athletics. She played volleyball at the Y with her dad, Sam Koanui, and has followed in his footsteps as a volleyball coach and referee.

"We were very limited back then," said Hansen, a 1968 graduate of Farrington. "There is such a big difference now. Back then, there was no such thing as club volleyball. My dad was at the national level and playing was only for adults.

"At least my daughter had the opportunities."

(Candace Hansen played volleyball at University High and was headed to Pacific when an injury ended her collegiate career before it began).

Canoe paddling was another sport that interested Denice Hansen. She began competing in her mid-30s and did the 1986 Na Wahine O Ke Kai Molokai-to-Oahu race with Waikiki Surf Club.

"But paddling is such a time commitment," she said. "I had to choose between paddling and officiating volleyball. Volleyball won.

"I do regret we didn't have sports when I was young like they have now. I ask myself, 'Where was this when I was growing up?' A lot of us my age wish we had the opportunities like they have today."

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