The Student News Site of Punahou School

Ka Punahou

The Student News Site of Punahou School

Ka Punahou

The Student News Site of Punahou School

Ka Punahou

Op-Ed: Cancelled Sports Heartbreaking But Necessary

J. Kai Yamafuji competes in a track and field event before the shutdown


Due to the current situation surrounding the Covid-19 virus, Hawai’i high school sports have been unfortunately cancelled for the remainder of their seasons. With the loss of their seasons many athletes have felt disheartened, especially the seniors, some of whom have lost their final opportunities to compete. As heartbreaking as the situation was, the decision was necessary for the health of the student athletes and the community.

The Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) statement released on April 18th explained the process that was taken in order to come to their decision. It stated that all five existing sports leagues (ILH, OIA, BIIF, MIL, KIF) worked together to explore possible scenarios in which the spring sports could be held. While options were explored, the group took heed to mandates from the Center of Disease Control (CDC) and the Hawaii State Department of Health to finalize the choice. HHSAA Executive Director Chris Chun concluded the statement with a message, thanking the senior athletes. A part of the message included, “To our seniors, we thank you for the positive contributions you made on your teams, schools and communities.”

Senior athletes have varying outlooks on the events. Anna Fujisaki ‘20 lost her final season of Track & Field. Fujisaki began running at the age of 9, and first participated in organized Track & Field in the fourth grade. She said, “I was so sad to see the season cancelled, it’s a sad ending to something I’ve been doing my whole life and it feels like all of my hard work is going to waste.” 

Mallory Meister ‘20 has a slightly brighter state of mind. When asked on her thoughts about the situation she humbly responded, “I’m grateful to have been able to play sports at Punahou for 6 years and I’m disappointed to lose my senior season, especially because we had a great team this year, but i’m lucky enough to continue playing in college so I’m not done yet.” Meister will be attending American University in the fall where she has committed to participating in athletics.

Many student athletes questioned the logic of not being able to host athletic events, with suggestions of testing the athletes for Covid-19 as well as agreeing to not allow spectators to watch. Like any other non-essential gathering, it would simply be too difficult to ensure everyone’s safety. Once tested student athletes and those they live with would need to quarantine as to not risk exposure before events, and keeping track on whether or not the quarantine is being followed would be simply impossible.

High school sports are far more than just participating in athletic activity. They provide a space where student athletes learn arguably as much as they do in school. Life lessons on working with others, perseverance, and dealing with loss are among the many things that can come from participating in scholastic sports. It is because student athletes have learned these things that they will make it through this difficult time and succeed in life. While the loss is a hard thing to swallow, they will understand that the sacrifice of their time, effort, and seasons has benefited their communities.


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    Tobias ReeuwijkMay 27, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    Well said, J. Kai!

    It takes great courage to be an optimist in cynical times, especially without a crowd or external validation to gratify oneself. More power to you and your peers who are staying hopeful — that’s the true heart of an athlete.