Dec 13, 2023
Thought Question: Think about a time in your life when you had to persevere through a difficult situation. What are some of the things that helped you through that time?
Lahainaluna High School has won the state championship many times. But last month’s squeaker of a playoff loss capped what may have been their proudest season.
The Lunas never gave up. They fielded a team that made a solid run at a state title in spite of a massive wildfire that destroyed their town. They just came up short — nine yards to be precise — in a 29-28 playoff loss November 11 to rival Kapaa.
"This season was not defined by wins and losses, but rather by these kids proving their (strength) in never giving up and always battling until the very end this entire season.” Co-head coach Dean Rickard gave this statement to Spectrum News. “(After) the wildfire disaster, everyone of them were already winners as soon as they made that (choice) to get back playing the sport they loved.”
It wasn’t easy. Displaced players had to move many times after the deadly August 8 fire, which killed 100 people. Going back to school after the havoc was hard enough. Pulling together a team, many of its displaced players scattered across Maui, seemed almost out of reach. But the players, coaches, and parents chose to go for it.
“If there wasn’t a season, I didn’t know what I was going to do with myself,” Tevainui Loft told The Associated Press. Loft's a team linebacker and tight end.
The team resumed practice in a gym. And later, it practiced at a park 45 minutes from Lahaina. They returned to the field and had an undefeated regular season record.
“We are very proud of how this team played some part in bringing our community together with hope, resilience, perseverance and strength in the face of adversity,” Rickard said.
Photo from Instagram courtesy of @lahainalunahighschool.
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