For all college students and athletes being at college during the freshman year is in most cases a challenging experience. Leaving home and being on your own can be a tough adjustment especially when you compound it by playing a college sport. But this first year is even a more unique challenge for our Linfield Wildcats from Hawaii.
Linfield football has a deep and strong tradition of impact players from Hawaii. If you look back at Linfield’s most successful teams you’ll see a strong Hawaiian influence on the roster and 2009 was no different.
However, a great number of times the young men from the Islands don’t even have the opportunity to visit a mainland campus before they are pressed into making a tough decision to stay local or fly over 2,500 miles to a foreign environment to continue their education. That’s why Wildcat11 asked Sophomore Monster Back, Kala’e Parish, to share in his experience of the adjustments during that first year but how being open to new experiences can enrich the lives of our Linfield players from an ocean away.
Since my freshman year in high school I always had it in the back of my mind to leave home for college. I always felt that I needed to leave home to get the full college experience. I had two final choices in colleges by the end of my senior year. Being pressured by my family to stay home and play ball in front of my home crowd made the choice very difficult, but I was sure I wanted to leave home. I wanted to experience something new. After all the discussion with my parents I decided to go to Linfield and leave the rock.
I believed that Linfield had a lot to offer me, and I left home with the mentality that I wasn’t going to come home no matter what the situation I was in. I was impressed with the football team and heard many good things from other students while being recruited. The highlight film really caught my attention too. I’m not going to lie, the first couple of weeks away from home wasn’t very fun at all. I didn’t expect it to be either. I only knew one person, football camp broke me down mentally, and no one other than other island boys knew what I was saying.
I didn’t like my first year as a freshman football player, but then again, I got a lot of playing time on special teams. It was fun to just run around without care but in the back of my mind I always want more. I kind of did my own thing and never followed the “no hitting the offensive starters” rule. I don’t think others realize that coming from the islands that we Hawaii boys carry ourselves with pride. We are never willing to settle for less and if you push us we push back harder. It was hard to not have family a drive away like you used to have. The only type of family I had was the rest of the local boys that I eventually made friends with. It was easy to miss home, but I didn’t want that to be an excuse. It was only when I talked to family from back home when I started to miss home a lot, but other than that I wasn’t too bad. When spring came around I didn’t miss home at all.
Anyway, other than that I am enjoying my time at Linfield College. I’m at a point where I don’t want to leave. We had a very successful season this past year in ‘09 and I was pleased that I earned a starting spot on our defense. I guess understanding our football scheme made my sophomore year as a Monster back more enjoyable. This past season I felt that I could play faster and not think as much. Socially, I’ve met so many people other than the Hawaiian clan and became friends with people from all over the states. I really didn’t care for people in the mainland at first, because usually when I met tourist in Hawaii they’re really obnoxious and don’t respect the culture. When I came to Linfield many of my opinions changed. I got to build friendships on the team with my position group (defensive backs) and others on the team as well. What makes my college experience even better is that I and few other local boys are able to perform reggae music throughout the school and community. A jam session with the boys is always a good time. Events around school make campus life a lot of fun too. I went snowboarding once and loved it. I recently bought myself a board and hope to get better, ride longer and eat less snow.
What really got me through my time here was God and the Hawaii people. Having someone you can relate to by your side helps out a lot when you’re so far from your family. Whenever I needed something they are there and the vice versa. I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed my experience as much if I didn’t have all of them around. They all made me feel comfortable and made up majority of my fun memories here at Linfield College. Other than that Shoots!
Class of 2012