On January 30, 2011, thirteen youth experienced a turn of events they will remember for a long time, thanks to a generous donation of Pro Bowl tickets to PIDF. Since the Pro Bowl is a huge once-a-year event that possibly could not return to Hawai‘i, we wanted some of the youth at HOPE Shelter to experience it and enjoy all the hoopla and festivities that go with it. We found out later that most of them had never set foot inside Aloha Stadium!
Deciding to get an early start, we picked up the youth at 9:00 a.m. even though the game didn’t start until 2:00 p.m. Plans were to obtain good parking, tailgate with Ke Kama Pono (KKP) staff and their boys, and relax in the parking lot until game time. Success! It all worked out as planned and the youth had a fantastic time playing ball with the KKP team while we waited.
It was a joy to see their faces light-up as we walked to our seats. Crossing over the catwalk high above the stadium turf, we paused so they could look down at the field and take in the many colors and decorations as well as the painted turf that said, “NFL Pro Bowl.” “Woah! This is so cool!” many of them blurted out. Fourth grader Tino L. grabbed my arm and said, “I can’t believe I’m here. This place is . . . so big!” When we finally got to our seats at the top of the stadium, we had such a great view of the entire place that each student’s eyes were opened wide in awe. From the pre-game festivities to the final seconds of the game clock, they had a great time jumping, dancing, singing, woohooing, and laughing at the NFL team mascots.
When asked what they thought of the entire day, this is what they said: “I had fun!” “Can we come back?” “The Super Bowl is next week, yeah. Can we go?” “Aww, do we have to go home now?” “The red guys will win next year!” “We wanna do this again!” And as a group they yelled, “Thank you, Ka Pa‘alana!”