You've seen the videos that have gone viral on social media. Coaches awarding walk-on players scholarships after putting in the work day in and day out, sometimes for years. Senior long snapper Brodie Nakama has started 36 games over the past three seasons for the Rainbow Warriors, attending UH on his own dime, until last Friday.
During UH's afternoon practice at Clarence T.C. Ching Field on a double day towards the end of fall camp, head coach Nick Rolovich sent the team next door to the Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic Complex.
"People are jumping in, swimming, racing each other," recalls Brodie Nakama.
Then the first-year head coach called everyone out of the pool, and with a megaphone declared he wanted someone to jump off the 10-meter platform.
"In my mind I'm thinking he's going to call out a freshman, he's going to call out a new guy," said the senior long snapper.
Rolovich then put the megaphone to his mouth and said 'I want Brodie Nakama'.
"I'm thinking to myself 'Oh wow! Why does coach want me to do it?' I'm getting nervous, my heart's racing," Nakama recalled.
As his teammates chanted 'Brodie, Brodie, Brodie', Nakama climbed to the top where he found an envelope taped to the platform with the instructions 'Brodie open please!'
"I open it up and take a quick look at it and see I got a full scholarship to play football and I was speechless," said the California native. "I had an emotional moment too, but it was an amazing moment I'll always remember."
Nakama gathered himself, and jumped into the pool below where his teammates spilled into to congratulate him. Later that day, the first person Nakama called was his father.
"He was really excited. It was pretty special to share that moment with him."
Over the past three years, Nakama's parents, Dave and Mary, have taken out loans to pay their son's way through college, something they don't have to worry about doing this year.
"I'm blessed that I've been able to get a scholarship, but more so this is for them," said Brodie. "They've sacrificed a lot for me to be out here the past three years to go to school."
The sacrifice by Brodie and his parents didn't go unnoticed by Rolovich and his coaching staff.
"I went to go thank Coach Rolo afterwards and he said he had been working on it for a while now, so the fact he put that much time and thought into it just shows you how much he cares, not just about me, but about this entire team," said Nakama. "I'm just truly thankful for him and what he's done."
Copyright 2016 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.
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