To some, this may look like an ordinary day
at the tennis courts. But for the Kalaheo High School team,
ordinary is a welcome change. In recent years, Kalaheo didn’t have a home-court advantage,
or courts at all. How long we didn’t have tennis courts? A long
time, about ten years. The thing is, Kalaheo did have courts, just
not for tennis players. In the early 2000s, the courts fell so far
into disrepair that the surface damage made it impossible to play. The air rifle routine
used the space for practice, but the tennis team was left with
nothing. Before we had courts at Kalaheo, we used to
practice at Kailua Rec. And I used to ride my bike over
there, and I wouldn’t really be late ’cause I’d leave my house early, but it usually took
about fifteen, minutes to get there. The coach was nice enough to bring us to practice
right after school, but there were some times where I
wasn’t able to get a ride, so I’d have to bike there after school super-fast since I
couldn’t drive. Losing valuable practice time to a three-mile
commute wasn’t the team’s only problem. There were many issues with not having our
own tennis courts. Kailua District Park was our park that we
could get permits for games, but they could not allow us to have permits for practices.
So, some of the times, we would go down there early afternoons
on a Tuesday, Thursday if we got out early, and Coach
would take some of the student athletes and try to get in some sets before the regular
crowd comes, about four o’clock or so. But the boys and the girls
would have to go at different times, ’cause there’s only
about two courts. It was hard for the team to bond, and there
would be people on my team that I never practiced with
together. So, it would be very hard for me to get to know them. I’d just see them during
matches and be like, Oh, hi. But I would never really know
them, or sometimes I wouldn’t even remember their name. After years of construction, waiting, and
multi-millions of dollars, the new courts opened on Kalaheo’s
campus in 2014. Hopefully, this new match will rally the team into a successful season. Is having our own courts going to affect team
dynamics? Definitely. There’s just something about
having home-court advantage, just knowing our own turf, just being comfortable with
the place, our ability to sweat on the court that we train
really hard on together, where we have to lie down together to
stretch, where we have to do push-ups, sit-ups, and just sprint back and forth. There’s just
something about having your own place to call your own
home, essentially, home courts. One, two, three! Mustangs! This Lyla Rosen from Kalaheo High School,
for HIKI NŌ.

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Dennis Veasley

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