POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Sep 21, 2010
As widely predicted, attendance for the Waimea-Kauai football game over the weekend was significantly smaller.
The Kauai Interscholastic Federation moved its normal Friday-night schedule to Saturday afternoon to comply with a federal law that protects the Newell's shearwater bird, which flies from mountain to ocean during fledgling season (Sept. 15-Dec. 15).
The result was a drop of about 50 percent in attendance, according to Kauai athletic director Ross Shimabukuro, who said the league could lose at least $30,000 in revenue related to lower attendance.
"It was also primary election day, so that might've had something to do with it," he said. "I'm hoping it gets better. ... It's a change of lifestyle that got people riled up, but it's something that we have to get used to."
"The bottom line is it's going to affect student-athletes," said Jon Kobayashi, longtime Waimea athletic director and former football coach, noting that each shearwater that dies because of the disorienting lights from fields and any other facility could result in a $10,000 fine.
Coaches and trainers are seeing a much greater incidence of cramping on football fields this season.
Yet, nobody seems to have a conclusive explanation. Multiple cases of leg cramps have hit players running on grass fields, synthetic turf fields, in wet weather and dry weather.
When Punahou lost running back Steven Lakalaka to cramps in both legs on Friday, it changed the game. A close battle -- Lakalaka had 20 carries for 90 yards at that point -- turned into an 18-point win by Saint Louis after Lakalaka left.
"It's best to hydrate one or two days before the game, lots of carbs and water," Punahou coach Kale Ane. "He was hydrated. It's just unusual."
The problem has affected players who are active on both offensive and defensive units, and those who just play on one side. Punahou makes sure players can have bananas to eat at halftime, since potassium is said to be a key ingredient to preventing cramps. Otherwise, Ane, a former NFL lineman, is out of ideas and invites suggestions.