Youth in Motion, 2007 Version
University of Hawaii coaches give free sports clinics around Molokai
By Léo Azambuja
The ball was in Molokai’s court this past Saturday. Several University of Hawaii coaches teamed up with local coaches to give Molokai children a one-of-a-kind sports experience.
As a part of a program called Youth in Motion, UH coaches came over to Molokai to give the island’s children sports clinics in basketball, tennis, golf and baseball.
Molokai High School tennis coach Don Whitten was stoked. “It gives the kids the opportunity to play sports they normally wouldn’t,” he said.
Channon Alcon and Lindsay Shosho spent their Saturday coaching the children on Whitten’s turf, the MHS tennis courts. Alcon is the UH men’s tennis team assistant coach. Shosho is an assistant coach at UH, but for the women’s tennis team.
It was Shosho’s first time on Molokai. She said if the clinic was on Oahu, there would have been at least 50 children. Only five children showed up for the tennis clinic, allowing them a more personal experience.
“It’s pretty laid back here, I like it,” Alcon said. It was his second year coaching tennis at the Youth in Motion on Molokai.
For Shosho it was kind of a farewell to the islands. Originally from New York, she moved to Oahu seven months ago to coach tennis at UH. “It has been a wonderful experience,” she said. But an offer from University of Kentucky is taking the young coach away from Hawaii next week.
Just a few yards away, inside the Barn, 14 children bounced the basketball around. Doug Furlong, MHS girls basketball coach, got a helping hand from Jackson Wheeler and Pat Elliot.
Wheeler is the assistant head coach for UH men’s basketball team, and Elliot is the assistant head coach for the UH women’s basketball team. Jackson had already coached the Molokai children in last year’s Youth in Motion. But for Elliott it was her first time on Molokai.
Where there is smoke, there is fire. And where there are children, there is Kauwila Hanchett, from the Molokai Youth Center. The ever-smiling Hanchett brought six children from the center to participate in the basketball clinic.
Down in Kaunakakai, the ball being played was covered in stitches. Four children participated in the baseball clinic. UH assistant baseball coach Keigh Komeigi returned to Molokai to help the Youth in Motion after being here two years ago volunteering in the program.
Letting the laidback island-feeling sink in, hanging out with the children’s relatives afterwards, Komeigi said “it’s really nice to be on Molokai.”
The children were really stoked to participate. Between bites on an orange bigger than his face, the small Riley Tabil said he “learned to catch ball.” His brother, Brandon Tabil, said he learned to heel-click. Makamae Joao learned to improve his backhand, and Korie Dudoit-English learned how to properly hold the bat.
“These are future major-league players,” joked one of the parents. But joke or not, Komeigi remembered Korie from the last clinic he coached, and said the young girl definitely improved her game.
All the way in the West End, little Tiger cubs were hitting the smallest and hardest balls of the Youth in Motion. The three children who participated in the golf clinic at Kaluakoi Golf Club had great time.
Mahalo nui loa to Youth in Motion and all who made this day possible; children, parents, and coaches from Molokai and off-island. Next year the Youth in Motion sports clinic will be on August 16. For additional information please call Clare Mawae at 336-0946 or 553-4227.