KAHULUI — The smile on Zach Dando’s face actually stated all of it.
Practices resumed within the Maui Interscholastic League throughout the board on Monday, and the Maui Excessive Faculty senior extensive receiver/place kicker/security might hardly include his enthusiasm.
“I imply it feels nice to lastly be again out right here,” Dando stated. “We acquired again out right here and every part was going nicely, however then it was unlucky, every part that occurred. It seems to be like we’ve quite a lot of guys out right here, able to go. So, I believe we’re going to have season.”
Dando, who can also be a standout baseball participant for the Sabers, has been with out sports activities for 20 months as a consequence of COVID-19 shutting down exercise within the MIL.
Monday was the resumption of follow after the state Division of Schooling paused sports activities on Aug. 4 to permit time for all gamers, coaches and volunteers to get vaccinated for COVID-19 below the DOE decree, or have an authorized exemption for medical or spiritual causes.
“Personally, I’m simply prepared, we’ve been placing in quite a lot of work at school, simply having to remain up on our grades, particularly with COVID and being on-line faculty,” Dando stated. “So, simply to lastly make all of it price it, it simply feels good.”
Dando didn’t have a lot doubt that Monday would arrive, the day when MIL sports activities began up once more.
“I’ve been ready,” he stated. “There was slightly doubt, however finally I felt like we needed to have sports activities in some unspecified time in the future, so I used to be simply ready on it.”
Dando peered out on the 50 Sabers round him on the college’s follow discipline and smiled some extra.
“We’re going to be nice,” Dando stated. “We’ve all of the items that we want. So long as we hearken to our coaches and we work onerous and we simply execute what we have to do, we’re going to make it out.”
Monday was a resumption of the primary season for Maui Excessive head coach Robert Dougherty and employees.
“I really like coach Dougherty,” Dando stated. “He’s very open to new issues. He all the time simply needs to make everyone higher, attempt new issues, getting on the market. It’s a brand new day for Maui Excessive soccer.”
Coby Wakayama, a 5-foot-8, 170-pound senior operating again/exterior linebacker, was additionally greater than enthused to be again on the follow discipline.
“Oh, it feels nice,” Wakayama stated. “We had doubts if we have been going to have a season or not, however right now reveals that it’s going to occur. There needed to be doubts as a result of we acquired shut down and all this loopy stuff occurred, yeah, there was doubt.”
Wakayama stated the ambiance at school is upbeat with the return of follow. The Maui Excessive women volleyball workforce was busy within the Shine Matsui Athletic Heart, and the air riflery groups have been additionally busy on the college’s tennis courts Monday afternoon.
“Everybody’s glad to be again, excited,” Wakayama stated. “This workforce will be actually good. We had much more guys than I assumed we have been going to have, lot of potential, very younger workforce.”
Dougherty was additionally enthused with what he noticed on the Sabers’ follow discipline.
“It feels nice,” Dougherty stated. “There’s some unknowns and we’re attempting to reevaluate once more as a result of we’ve acquired sort of a complete completely different workforce. So, we’ve acquired to simply undergo the method once more, however we’re excited as a result of the children are excited.”
At Baldwin’s follow discipline, the ambiance was additionally upbeat. The Bears welcomed 32 gamers to the primary day again, and head coach Pohai Lee expects that quantity to develop because the week goes on.
“It feels nice, the children, I can inform there’s a lightweight of their eye, excited to get going,” he stated.
Lee stated that 26 of his gamers at follow on Monday have been varsity-level gamers from earlier than the shutdown. Baldwin is one in every of a number of groups within the MIL that seem uncertain to discipline a junior varsity workforce.
“That’s positively one of many query marks for us,” Lee stated. “After this week, we must always have a greater thought as a result of after this week I imagine tryouts might be carried out, so we’ll have a greater image after that after which we’ll rely up the numbers.”
Lee acknowledged that there are some benefits to having one workforce.
“There are some, you realize, the terminology is all the time going to be the identical, they’re going to get that and it’ll carry by way of to subsequent yr,” he stated. “I’d say them studying from the older guys, freshmen from the juniors, seniors, upperclassmen, that’s a bonus. And simply the sheer vitality of the younger children, they’re able to go and anxious to be taught, in order that’ll be one thing new for us.”
Lee stated this season is exclusive in his lengthy profession.
“Like we stated, it takes its toll, you get began, you cease once more for seven weeks after which come again, so quite a lot of adversity, however once more the primary issues is simply getting guys out on the sphere and getting going,” he stated. “So, that’s what we’re wanting ahead to.”
Lee, like his gamers, was simply completely satisfied to be at follow once more. The unknowns of the expertise the Bears have is a part of that enthusiasm.
“I’m excited to seek out out, I can’t wait to see,” he stated. “I do know the opposite guys, the core guys are out right here, which is encouraging, however once more it’s sort of wait and see.”
Veteran Baldwin assistant coach Rodney Figueroa anticipates that the Bears are able to roll.
“Very excited, you realize, everyone has been ready, we misplaced that one yr,” Figueroa stated. “All people is happy to get going, we’re simply ready to see what our numbers might be. … We’ve by no means encountered a season like this and we simply need to work our means by way of this pandemic that we’re going by way of.”
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org.