They hoped it would be their field of dreams. Instead, it's a dust bowl

They hoped it would be their field of dreams. Instead, it's a dust bowl
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

EWA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Ewa Mahiko District Park's football field is mostly dirt and uneven footing. About 50 adolescents — 9- to 13-year-olds — practice on it.

The president of the 808 Rainbows football team said with little grass there's little grip, and more chance for players to be injured.

"I just had one. He just simply fell in the dirt, the dry dirt. He hurt his shoulder so he's out for a couple days," Ryan Baqui said.

Coaches cone off really bad spots but rocks are everywhere. Players pick them up by the bucket full.

This isn't the first time a youth league has complained about the condition of Ewa Mahiko's field. Similar concerns were raised four years ago by another team in another league.

The city said after that complaint it planted grass and repaired the sprinkler system.

But city Parks Department deputy director Jeanne Ishikawa said there are spots water can't reach. And there's another catch: The district park shares its source for water with the Ewa Villages Golf Course.

"There are restrictions on when we can use that water," she said. "We can only water the grass between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. That applies to the golf courses too."

Baqui emphasizes that the team doesn't want to lose the field. He calls it the ideal middle ground for his players to meet. They come from communities spread out from Waipahu to Waianae.

Coaches and parents have come up with what they think is a solution.

"If they would actually let us move the goal post to the left a little bit, to where the majority of the grass is," Baqui said.

Ishikawa wants Baqui to submit a written proposal to her department.

"From there we'll move forward and discuss and see what can or cannot be done," she said.

She said the city may also hook up another water line for the park, but that's a year or two away.

The 808 Rainbow's season starts soon and players want to host home games.

"We like to give them life lessons like teaching them responsibility, ownership, having pride in what they do. It's hard to teach them that kind of stuff, especially at this level when we can't even maintain simple things like a park for them to play on," Baqui said.

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