Opinion: Baldwin softball lawsuit is bogus

March 22, 2010, 8:26 AM HST · Updated March 22, 8:26 AM
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By Fred Guzman

MauiNow.com

Bogus. That’s what I think about the arguments raised in a lawsuit filed by parents of three Baldwin softball players claiming gender discrimination on the part of the County of Maui and the Department of Education regarding equal access to facilities.

I say this as someone who has a daughter who competed in sports, as someone who has coached women, and has always supported equality in athletics based on a federal law authored by Maui’s own Patsy Mink, the late, great congresswoman.

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The lawsuit is partly aimed at a county administration led by a mayor, Charmane Tavares, who has worked as both a coach and athletic director at the high school level in addition to having previously served as the county’s parks and recreation department.

Yes, the Baldwin boys play at Iron Maehara Stadium. But claims that the field currently assigned to the Baldwin softball team is a mere rock-pile are patently untrue. Distance from campus also was cited in the lawsuit.

Yet both the Baldwin girls’ and boy’s soccer teams train on fields adjacent to – and in far worse playing condition – than the softball field.

I know this because many of my non-working hours are spent at the Keopuolani Park complex.

Ironically, none of this would have become an issue had not the state changed the softball season from winter to spring because of gender concerns. Frankly, I think the parents and coach of the Baldwin softball are acting like a bunch of ingrates.

BRACKET WOES: March Madness, indeed. My bracket is in shambles. So what? I’m still loving it. Between us, I’m putting the blame for my failure on my on-air talk show partner Bill Schindler for having induced me to drink deeply from his Big East Kool Aid.

Where do we begin? Let’s start with Kansas. The Jayhawks were the odds on-on choice to win this year’s tournament. Yet, the team that was the unanimous No. 1 in the final regular-season poll is back home Lawrenceville, knocked out by Northern Iowa in the second round.

The Big East tied its own record by having eight schools chosen to the 65-team field. But the end of Sunday, only two of those teams – top-seeded Syracuse and No. 2 West Virginia – were still standing.

The Pac-10 was this winter’s favorite punch-line for many hoops pundits. Yet the maligned conference went 0-3 before Cal was soundly beaten by Duke and Washington, a No. 11 seed, has advanced.

Cornell, seeded 12th, became the first team from the Ivy League to reach the Sweet 16 in 31 years, joining such non-majors as Butler, Xavier, St. Mary’s and, of course, Northern Iowa.

Most of pundits have take the elitist stance that expanding the field to 96 teams will dilute the tourney. Put me on the other end of that argument. The more, the merrier, I say. Make it a truly democratic event and open it up for everyone. Let them all play. And may the best – or luckiest – team win, brackets be darned.

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