LEILA FUJIMORI / LFUJIMORI@STARBULLETIN.COM
Pee Wee champs Chase Jamero, Bryson Canyon, Joshua Manuma, and Matthew Bibbs demonstrated the "up-and-downs" exercise they perform to keep in shape yesterday, and which their coach inflicts on them when they don't follow instructions.
They're small, but they got a lotta heart and a lotta determination, their coaches say.
Pee wee champs
seek funds for trip
By Leila Fujimori
"From day one, we looked like nothing. We look like we lucky if we win a game," said Paul Chung, defensive coach of the Pearl City Highland Colts, an Oahu Pop Warner pee wee football team.
"But they never quit," he said. "They believe in themselves. I couldn't believe we won week by week."
Those qualities helped clinch the Pee Wee Wescon Region Division 1 Championship title, earning them the right but not the means to go to the national championships Dec. 8-15 in Orlando, Fla.
It's going to take more heart and determination to raise the money by a deadline today to pay for the airfare to travel to Florida.
"Some people cannot go because they don't have enough money," said Daniel Liilii, 12, Colts running back and guard. "All of us earned it. We won champs, but all of us can't go."
Tonka Marsom, Colts defensive and offensive lineman, said his family can pay his way. "All we gotta do is concentrate on the people that can't afford the plane ticket to Florida."
Coach Robin Kami said the team is trying to raise enough money to send 30 players, 11 coaches and 8 cheerleaders to Orlando. The cheerleaders qualified for a national competition to be held at the same time.
While some of the players and coaches can afford the $600 plane fare and $400 for accommodations and ground transportation, others cannot and may have to stay back.
Through donations and fund-raising they have about $8,000 so far. Kami says he hopes to know today who can afford to go and who may have to stay home.
The team set up a concession booth yesterday at Manana Community Park in Pearl City, selling shave ice, bentos, burgers, chips and drinks. They were hoping to earn between $200 and $600.
They'll hold a car wash today at Gemini Pool & Spa on Kamehameha Highway in Pearl City.
Alohalani Stallworth, whose son plays on the team, says she can afford to send her son, but helped out with the concession stand anyway.
"We're hoping that the whole team will be able to go," she said.
"My son loves the coaches," Stallworth said. "They've been motivating the kids not only in the games, but in their schoolwork. He tells me the advice they give. They're never downing the players, always encouraging them."
The players credit their winning to teamwork, and being in good shape to win eight regular season games.
Joshua Manuma, 11, believes it's something deeper.
"We all have heart, we all have love all have heart," he said. "We all have love for each other. Even though we fight, we make it up. We call ourselves the brotherhood."
Donations can be made to Pearl City Highland Colts (tax ID# 52-1709365), and mailed to 94-728 Loaa St., Waipahu 96797. For more, information call 677-9995.
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