Insight, News, and Opinion by Nick Abramo
  • May 13, 2021
High school sports in Hawaii in spring of 2021? No word yet

Editors will tell you that there is no reason to write a story if nothing happens.

True, kind of.

But this here article I’ve got for you today is a “no word on anything” story and, believe it or not, it’s huge and sad. And despite the fact that thousands of our Hawaii teenagers are affected by the lack of word on this important subject, it’s “nobody’s fault.”

No, this is not aimed at anyone or any organization in particular. It’s not a story to lash out at the Department of Health, the Department of Education, the Hawaii High School Athletic Association or any of its member leagues.

Their hands are tied. All of them. COVID-19 has a way of doing that.

But, let it be known that right now as a I write this, it’s noon on Dec. 15. We are 10 days away from Christmas and 17 days away from a new year. Yet, there is absolutely NOTHING to go by as far as if high school sports will be played in 2021.

The HHSAA and executive director Chris Chun are awaiting word from the Department of Health. They can’t do anything unless they get the green light.


Le Jardin’s girls volleyball team won Division II state titles in 2016 and 2017. Celebrations like the one pictured above won’t happen if the DOH rules against sports in the spring of 2021. (Photo from


But the HHSAA and its member leagues are ready if said green light comes. They’ve been meeting and planning and scheduling — just in case.

It’s just a matter of if. And it remains a big if.

At last check, if sports is a go, then half of all 2020-21 sports will be played from January to March, and the other half will go from March to May. Shortened seasons, yes, but if sports proceeds because it is deemed safe to do so, then the lives of thousands of our kids will be enhanced.

These kids have been sitting at home. No school. Training, yes, if they have the will, and certainly some (but not all) do. Pretty much, COVID-19 has taken a huge chunk out of their formative years. Limited social gatherings. No real enriching school functions. No real place to hang out at the movies or bowling or the arcade.

For sure, the government (including our friends at the DOH) can’t just snap its fingers and deem sports safe.

But, when these decisions are eventually made, let’s hope the decision-makers weigh the fact that Hawaii’s teenagers will be seriously affected if they don’t get to play their seasons.

Across the country, 14 states made no changes to their high school sports schedules so far in 2020-21, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. In addition, 30 have modified their seasons and seven (including Hawaii) had no fall competition. Karissa Niehoff, the NFHS executive director wrote an informative article about this big “to play or not to play” decision faced by some states.

Personally speaking, my son who is a junior at Mililani High, participated in cross country his first two years of high school and track the first year. When this school year started, he was undecided if he was going to run before COVID-19 made the decision for him.

Maybe, if there are sports this spring, my kid (and many others across the state, possibly) will decide to get out there and go for it in January. I figure it’s a 50-50 shot with him. But it would be 0-100 if the DOH rules against the resumption of sports.

So be on the lookout for the DOH’s decision. It’s gotta be coming soon.

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