Pete Hoffmann | Special to Hawaii 24/7
Normally I write about some politically related issue that is capturing the local headlines. Permit me to change gears a little and relate a sports story.
On Nov. 15, the Hawaiian Pride Senior Softball Team won the 2012 Winter World Championships in the 70+ age group, Major League Division in Phoenix, Ariz.
Of the 18 members of the team that competed in Arizona, 14 are Big lsland residents, to include coach/player Danny Ayala, Mel Hirayama, Frank Amaral, Dave Belaski, Jack McMenimen, Mike Fontes, Herb Leite, Billy Lyman, Clyde Nishioka, Jerry Tulang, George Kodani, Travis Warner, Richard Rodero and Pete Hoffmann.
The tournament victory emphasizes several notable achievements. First, I think it attests to the success of the county’s efforts in promoting senior softball.
When I arrived on the Big Island in 1997, there were eight senior softball teams. There are currently 23 or 24 depending upon the eventual 2013 Kupuna League set up. Senior softball remains one of the county’s biggest success stories for the Department of Parks and Recreation.
Second, when the Hawaiian Pride team travels to the mainland, it regularly faces teams that represent much larger constituencies: New Mexico, Oregon, Central California, for example. We do not enjoy the relatively large pool of potential players from which others draw players.
Nevertheless, we remain very competitive in all aspects of the game, and not just in the 70+ age group.
Which leads to the third conclusion, the quality of play on the Big Island is quite good and the spirit intense. In the Phoenix tournament, four of the six games were decided in the final inning.
Exciting games are the ingredients that bring players back season after season. Big Island Senior Softball certainly confirms the validity of that observation.
Just thought you’d like to be aware that politics is not the only subject we can discuss …