LAHAINA - Repeating something 29 times over definitely qualifies as redundant. It also defines consistency and tradition.
For the hoop dreams of the West Side, the West Maui Youth Basketball League represents a foundation of continuity that has spanned three decades and spawned a high school basketball program that is building a legacy of historic proportions.
The WMYBL has become a model for youth sports programs all across Maui County, and the Lahainaluna High School girls high school team is building on an all-sport consecutive winning streak of 82 games, eight straight Maui Interscholastic League championships and four straight state final four appearances, including the 2012 title.
West Maui Youth Basketball League Commissioner Don Rosenthal said that 60 keiki are on a waiting list to play this season.
Throughout those 29 years of thundering tiny feet and bouncing basketballs, "Dandy" Don Rosenthal has been the organizational force of action for the league, and 2013 is no exception.
Along with a trusty, veteran staff that includes Al Dasugo, Steve Ashfield, Sean Gordon, Yolanda Dukes, Ray Lasco, Judy and Jim Peterson, Jeff Anderson, Casey Smythe and Myron Rosenthal, Commissioner Don continues the cause to get some 500 children and their families involved in the WMYBL experience.
The program tipped off its 2013 season on Jan. 5 with over 450 kids divided into 34 teams in four divisions involved in the league.
Rosenthal reported that the major drawback he has encountered this year is that due to lack of court space and coaches, there is a waiting list of 60 kids that he was unable to place on a team.
"That is 60 kids too many as far as I'm concerned. The fact of the matter is that we need more facilities, or at least turn the two back tennis courts (Lahaina side of the complex) that are never used into basketball courts. It would save the county money instead of trying to build new ones," he said.
The WMYBL is divided into the Tiny Mites (5-7 years old), the Peewees (8-10), Midgets (11-13), and Menehunes. The Menehunes are the traveling middle school age-level teams that compete against teams from other districts, including Wailuku, Kahului, Kihei and Upcountry.
All teams will play an eight-game schedule leading up to the All-Star and Awards Day event in early March.
Rosenthal thanked all of the league sponsors, including West Maui Parks and Recreation Department, West Maui Youth Athletic Association and the National Alliance for Youth Sports, as well as team sponsors Jim Falk Motors, Aloha Mixed Plate, Hula Grill, Old Lahaina Luau, Leilani's on the Beach, Beyond Beauty Salon, Ipu Island Crafts, Lahaina Fire Station, Kaanapali Alii, Lahaina Plumbing, Kimo's Restaurant, James Ward Contractor, Discount Plus, State Farm Insurance, Kaanapali Beach Hotel, Ed's Union 76 Service, UFO Parasail, Warren and Annabelle's Magic Show, SHOPO, 808 Jiu Jitsu, Thadd Henry Design Group, Maui Photo World, One Napili Way, Westside Hoops, Lahaina Restoration Foundation, Maui Grown Coffee, Pacific Painting, Key to Life Chiropractic, Blackie's Pit Stop, Royal Lahaina Hotel, Marriott Wailea, Kahana Family Dental, Kumulani Chapel, Honolua Surf Company, and Passion 4 Fashion.
"Thank you also to all of the coaches, as they are a fantastic group of individuals who exemplify the ethics and sportsmanship that we strive to teach our kids. This is the most important aspect of the program," Rosenthal said.
"As long as that is put in front of anything else, everyone wins and it becomes an enjoyable experience for all. Most of all, I thank Jesus Christ, my savior, and also my wife, Phyllis, for their never-ending support."