Opinion: Maui needs to ward off fan violence

Opinion: Maui needs to ward off fan violence

By Nicole Kaauamo, Sports co-editor

This article originally ran in our 9/23/11 print edition. It is being re-run here without revision.

Sports are synonymous with rivalries; every true sports fan knows that. Violence, however, shouldn’t be an automatic and certainly not for fans. There are better ways to handle things.

Let the athletes play, and you do your job as a spectator-watch.

Last year, when the KSM football team scrimmaged with La Jolla High School from California, one of the La Jolla parents said she was shocked when she saw that our bleachers are only on one side of the stadium. She said that in California, school rivalry is so intense that stadiums are made with different entrances for each school’s fans and they sit on opposite sides of the field because they can’t even be in the same vicinity without a fight starting.

The pros aren’t any better. In fact, they’re worse! Three men were taken to the hospital at the 49’ers and Raiders football game in San Francisco on August 21. A 26 year-old San Rafael man was beaten in the stadium bathroom. He was wearing a shirt with profane insults about the 49’ers. Shortly after, one 24-year old man and another in his 20’s were found in the parking lot after being shot.

Maui isn’t at that point, and it never should be. We need to stop thinking that sports automatically mean fights.

Last season, there were five fights and three assaults at football games according to Sgt. Mel Lorenzo of the Maui Police Department. Four of those involved more than 15 people. Keep in mind that these are only the ones that were reported to the MPD.

That is way too much for a reasonably small league like the MIL. Who knows what could happen as the rivalries get stronger? It doesn’t seem like a good idea to find out.

The key to stopping this problem is making people realize how small an island this really is. Things will be peaceful, as they should be, once people decide there’s no reason to divide among ourselves and to let a united Maui be something to “rep” itself.

For some people, sports are a getaway. People look forward to those weekly games because it’s the one time to not care about anything…except what’s happening on the field. That time should not be tainted by the inabilities of others to control their tempers.

When we played Baldwin on October 16, there was a small altercation in the walkway. As it always goes, everybody rushed to the scene or turned away from the game to watch from the top of the bleachers.

Fights at games are not only dangerous, but also take away from the essence of the sport. As soon as people hear commotion from the spectators, their backs are turned on the game. Who would pay $5 to watch girls scream at each other?  The stadium is for settling athletic scores, not petty high school drama.

As Kamehameha Schools students, it’s important that players and spectators do not stoop down to the combative levels of other schools and pro sports fans. It is up to us to keep our side of the stands calm and collected. Let’s make Pauahi proud and keep sports a happy place.