HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Cramming into an airplane seat for a 10-hour, 5,000 mile direct flight from Honolulu to the east coast isn't exactly fun when you're a six-foot four-inch, 235 linebacker. However, it's what's on the other side of that flight that's got junior, Jahlani Tavai and his teammates excited to go "wheels up" Tuesday afternoon.
"It's super awesome," said Tavai of the team's upcoming trip to the east coast. "I know some boys have never been off the island and for them to go all the way to the east coast is exciting. To feel.. a little culture change... So, it's going to be a great experience and I'm excited for it."
The 'Bows are making their furthest trip east in school history to open their season at UMass on Saturday. But, before that Nick Rolovich wanted to make sure his team got the chance experience a culture many have never seen before. The 'Bows bench boss opted to have his team fly into New York City, where they're set to land on Wednesday morning. From there they'll have some time to see the city. The team also has a trip to the 9/11 memorial scheduled while in NYC. After that they'll head up to Massachusetts later this week. There Rolovich has planned a trip to the basketball hall of fame.
For Rolo, he says the football comes first. But, he also says giving his players opportunities to learn off the gridiron is important as well.
"We talk about local boys staying home and playing for us and when we have these opportunities... these are things that I don't know how many people would've ever gotten the chance to do that," said Rolovich. "It's not in my job description from HR but that's part of my role - is to keep educating these guys about the world that they're going to be leading pretty soon."
The significance of the coaching deciding to dedicate a day to taking in the sights and sounds of NYC isn't lost on the Rainbow Warriors players.
"It's big time," said safety Daniel Lewis Jr. "At the end of the day it's a business trip. But for myself and for a lot of guys it's going to be my first time in New York City... we just really appreciate that. We're going to go to the 9/11 memorial, I believe - I know a lot of the guys including myself have never gotten the opportunity to do that."