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Thursday, April 17, 2014         

FURTHER REVIEW


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Thinking out loud about rail, softball, late friend

By Dave Reardon

POSTED:



Mufi Hannemann, the former Honolulu mayor, says he’s “seriously looking at” a run at the United States senate when retiring Daniel Akaka’s seat opens up next year.

But the ex-‘Iolani and Harvard basketball player won’t be thinking much about that this weekend. He’ll be assistant to head coach Fran Villarmia-Kahawai as the Team Aloha all-stars make their annual mainland trip.

They’ll compete among many of the country’s top high school-level travel teams at the Tournament of Champions Los Angeles. It will be played at Colt Brennan’s old stomping grounds, Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif. This is the fifth annual edition of Team Aloha.

“This is always a good opportunity for our talented high school players to be seen by college scouts,” Hannemann said. “It’s especially good because they’ll be in the same venue for two days. At the state tournament they get spread out to different gyms and some of them don’t get scouted because of that.”

One of the things I thought about while playing phone tag with Hannemann was the rail project that was his baby while he was mayor. Specifically, I wanted to know how it might affect sports attendance on Oahu. Since the early phases of construction would only go as far east as Ala Moana, the plan doesn’t do a whole lot for folks living in town going to basketball, volleyball or baseball games at the University of Hawaii.

But it might provide an excellent option for UH football home games.

“The hope all along is that the rail would go by Aloha Stadium,” Hannemann said. “Eventually, campus to campus. West Oahu to Manoa.”

Then again, who knows how many of us will still be around when the rail becomes operational? That is, if it ever does.

And will there still be a stadium there?

>> Great news that UH softball coach Bob Coolen is getting a raise; he deserves it.

Now the athletic department should get serious about ways to generate revenue from one of its best programs. Yes, charging general admission might cost more than it brings in and chase away too many fans. But what happened to that excellent idea of selling season tickets and giving purchasers special seating and other goodies? Too late obviously for this year; let’s see it happen in 2012.

I know all of the profits from apparel sales don’t trickle down to Lower Campus, but replica jerseys of Kelly Majam (00) and Jessica Iwata (1) should be available for purchase at Rainbowtique alongside those of baseball star Kolten Wong (14). Majam and Iwata, an All-American and the reigning WAC player of the year, are just sophomores and their number recognition will continue to grow. My guess is they would fly quickly from the Rainbowtique trailer parked outside of the stadium during games.

>> I am among the many saddened by the death of Norman Janicki.

He was an outstanding basketball coach at Kamehameha, and a vital member of the SWAP (sports writers) fantasy baseball league at its peak. The league was so big we actually had enough team owners for a softball “all-star” game during the midseason break.

>> The not-new idea of paying college student-athletes is getting a lot of attention again lately.

By all means, do put aside some of the revenue for those people the fans are paying to watch. But disburse only to those who actually graduate; hand them a check along with the diploma.

It doesn’t matter how much money you give athletes while they’re playing college ball; someone will be there with more for the top pro prospects.

>> The Anuenue football team raised $1,622 for Japan tsunami relief.

“This is one way for us to give back to the community,” principal Charles Naumu said. “We received a good amount of money from the ‘Save Our Sports’ campaign. Also, our athletic trainer, Miss Minako Tsukahara, is from Japan. She helped our team make it through the season. We wanted to help her, too.”

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Reach Star-Advertiser sports columnist Dave Reardon at dreardon@staradvertiser.com, his “Quick Reads” blog at staradvertiser.com and twitter.com/davereardon.






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