LAHAINA CIVIC CENTER
If You Build It They Will Come. Lahaina Civic Center: Home to the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational
By Jeff Anderson, Maui County's West District Supervisor
Each day I walk through this hot, dusty gymnasium. Sometimes older children are playing basketball, and other times it is empty and dark. But if I close my eyes, I can see the Duke Blue Devils at center court holding the Wayne Duke championship trophy; or the sea of red which is the Indiana Hoosier boosters in the bleachers; or the Kansas Jayhawk delighting the crowd with his antics on the sidelines. Is this really the same place?
As the County of Maui's Supervisor for Parks and Recreation, I have the daunting task of transforming a 30-year-old recreational gym by the Pacific Ocean into the mecca of college basketball for three days each November. It begins with a walk-through of the facility with my staff. Pages of notes will form our own game-plan of cleaning, painting and repairs to the facility. We begin in the team locker rooms, which are at the end of the gym on the second floor. A screen needs repair where the teams waiting to play the next game look down on the gym floor at the game in progress. This quaintness of the Lahaina Civic Center is its charm.
A notation is made to apply a clear sealer coat to the gym floor, a floor which has seen the play of many future NBA players as well as the pacing of many of college basketball's most revered coaches… Smith, Krzyzewski, Keady, Boeheim. Slowly but surely the transformation takes place. Then the red light on the ESPN television camera goes on and the world once again is focused on the bright lights and shiny floor of the Lahaina Civic Center gymnasium to watch many of the best college basketball players in America.
Just a 30-year-old recreational gym, perhaps. But for three days in November… it is my field of dreams.