HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There's still more than two weeks until the Rainbow Warrior Football team opens preseason camp. But today, the 'Bows were put to work, learning a whole knew meaning behind what it is to be a warrior from members of the United States Army.
The day began with a Ha'a challenge from the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks. After being welcomed by the servicemen and women, the Rainbow Warriors then took a minute to remember a former 'Bow, and fallen warrior, U.S. Army 1st Lt. Nainoa Hoe.
"He was one of you, a UH graduate," said Hoe's father, Allen, in an emotional speech to the team. "He, didn't play football. But, he was present with the colors of the United States Army ROTC program from Manoa, on the field when coach Rolo used to give these guys dirty lickens"
After dressing Hoe's grave with maile lei, the sound of choppers filled the air.
That's when the team boarded a pair CH-47 Chinooks and headed out for lesson in mental and physical toughness.
The team was put through a course of seven obstacles that tested their strength, coordination, and focus.\
"Man, it was really something else, I can't even explain it," said senior wide receiver, Keelan Ewaliko. "It was both challenging and super fun. At the same time, it really challenged us mentally with the heights, and physically with all these different maneuvers and limitations that they give us. I thought it was super great."
One Rainbow Warrior he didn't find it quite so great was fellow receiver, John Ursua. After dominating most of the course, Ursua knocked himself out off the top-five on the leader board on the final obstacle, and contraption called "the weaver".
Ursua took so long to complete the event that the servicemen monitoring the apparatus claim it was one of the slowest completions they've ever seen. But the Big Island native took it in stride, and provided plenty of laughs for the rest of the team in the process.
But the day wasn't all about fun and games. It also taught the 'Bows a number of important lessons that head coach, Nick Rolovich, hopes the team will take with them on the field this season.
"You got a choice to go up and over or go back down [on these obstacles]," said Rolovich. "A lot of guys going up and over- that was good,because there's going to be games that are tight and tough we're going to have to stick together and pull through. Just to be able to observe that it can be done in this group of young men, that was important to me."