Question: My child is in 5th grade and an average athlete. He loves sports, but he's not a star. With the talent level so high at Punahou, I'm worried that he will not get the rewarding experience of playing on a school sports team. Is there any hope?
Answer: The competitive sports program begins in the 7th grade at Punahou. 7th and 8th grade boys and girls may try out for "intermediate" level teams. At this level, Punahou teams play against those other ILH schools that choose to field intermediate teams, including Iolani, Mid-Pac, Pac 5 and Kamehameha.
Athletics Director Tom Holden is well aware of the challenges facing some of our student-athletes. "In some sports it may be difficult for average athletes to make the team. This is compounded by the fact that many students are involved in outside clubs like soccer, volleyball and basketball. As a result, many Punahou students trying out for ILH team sports come with excellent skills and experience in those sports, making it that much harder for the students who do not participate," he stated.
That's not to say that there is no hope. Punahou endeavors to make ILH athletics available to as many students as possible by offering a large variety of sports (26 different Varsity sports). Whenever possible, 2 teams compete at each level: Intermediate I/II, JV I/II and in Boys and Girls Basketball, Varsity I/II. Also, coaches are encouraged to maximize the number of athletes on the roster.
If you're still worried, you may feel comforted to learn that the school offers at least one sport every season where everyone can make the team. These are the so-called "no-cut sports":
Fall: Cross Country
Winter: Wrestling and Swimming
Spring: Judo and Track
Question: At team sports games and practices, I've witnessed the somewhat unsanitary use of the green squeeze water bottles, including touching of the mouthpiece with the players' dirty hands. What can the school do to increase the sanitation yet keep the players well hydrated? I have seen schools with a water cart that has narrow shooting hoses. Would it be possible to switch to this?
Answer: Maintaining hydration levels for all athletes during practice and games is a major goal of the Punahou Athletic Training Room staff. Dehydration can be a life-threatening situation and prevention is easily handled by ensuring the adequate availability of water. The Training staff currently distributes ice water to all teams using outdoor practice venues (except track) on a daily basis.
Water bottles are supplied to all teams. At the conclusion of practice, the team members are responsible for returning and washing all coolers and bottles to the Athletic Training Room. Teams practicing indoors fill their water bottles in the training room or use the water fountains at the gyms. The bottle lids are regularly sanitized in a Clorox-water solution and this has been effective in preventing contagious consequences.
Head Trainer Glenn Beach stated, "We have tried using the water-pumpers, but have had problems cleaning the transmission hoses, and with athletes sucking on the hoses. There are also problems of reliability."
Athletes and coaches are told not to place their mouths on the nozzles or to remove the lid to drink, but unfortunately this is difficult to monitor. You may be interested to learn that Punahou is moving to a new bottle design (available in late 2008) which has a one-way flow valve that does not require pulling on the nozzle to open it.