HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Rainbow Wahine softball team is gearing up to start their 2021 season, after nearly a year of waiting due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the long pause, head coach Bob Coolen and company have been practicing without knowing if they would have a season in 2021, but with the release of the official schedule on Tuesday, it looks like all of the practice is about to pay off.
“I’ve been coaching softball for 40 years and this is first team that has wanted to practice everyday, to have something stable in their lives, to have something to go to every single day with a timed format.” Coach Coolen told reporters. “It’s not just what are we doing today, they have this set in stone everyday and we give them the calendar, it’s been a blessing in that regard that I have 28 players on our roster right now, which is the biggest roster I’ve ever had and they all want to be there.”
The Wahine are among a new group of UH athletic squads getting the green light to compete, but a few teams have gone through or still going through a pandemic-era season, something coach Coolen is keeping a close eye on as he prepares his girls for the long haul.
“Traveling is tenuous, you can go to the mainland and turn around and come right back if there’s a COVID case, whether it be in your program or in the other program, so i’m really monitoring whats happening with our basketball programs.” Coach said. “I’ve been impressing upon them that they’re not going to be able to meet up with their parents or any family members, everything is going to be in the hotel, everything is going to be sent to us.”
For some players, coach Coolen understands the struggles of not seeing family on the road, but the veteran coach says that road trips are all business.
“Start pulling back the reigns and letting our players know that this is definitely strictly a business trip,” Coach said. “Were going to play ball, were going to be in our rooms, were going to be on the road and we’ll just try to make sure we are as safe as possible.”
The excitement of Coolen’s team is coupled with the learning experience of going through a season during the pandemic, saying that his team is ready for the adversity.
“They’re learning a lot in this time, as to overcome some of the challenges that we’ve been imposed with and that we face.” Coach said.
The Wahine start the season with an exhibition series against next door neighbor Chaminade on February 27th and 28th at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.