HONOLULU (KHNL) - He is full of energy, full of life, and no matter how intimidating he looks, Vili the Warrior is full of love and his fans love him.
"Once he looks to the fans in the Vili zone, they go nuts!", says Vili's wife Linda Fehoko, who is also the president of Bigvil Productions, Incorporated. "He feeds off of that and goes even more ballistic and crazy, he bumps chests with the football players and he also spends time prior to the games rehearsing with his sons on the drums and weaving headbands for the fans."
Vili Fehoko, a father and a husband, has been pumping up fans at University of Hawaii games and other local events for the past seven years. He is dressed like a fierce polynesian warrior, in black, green and white face-paint, and armed with a spear, and he is usually accompanied by his entourage which consists of his sons who help him cheer on teams and beat the drums.
"The stage is his home," says Linda Fehoko. "He is a natural born performer."
And, after witnessing one of his performances, I can say he definitely has a magical ability to energize everyone around him.
At the grueling half ironman triathlon on the Big Island, two years ago, I was practically running on fumes on the last leg of the race and ready to collapse. But as I continued to put one foot in front of the other, I could hear Vili's yells and the thunderous sounds of his drums. Before I knew it, I was recharged and found my legs moving faster to the beat of Vili's drum, towards the finish line. He helped me and many other triathletes that day by giving us that final push we needed to make it to the end.
After that, I was determined to find out more about the mysterious Vili the Warrior and see if I have what it takes to do his job.
Vili didn't hesitate to take on the challenge and agreed to train me before the University of Hawaii versus New Mexico State football game.
Everyone knows whenever the UH Warriors score a touchdown, Vili does pushups. So, as part of my training, we did pushups, and I also learned the haka and the signature "Vili cheer".
On game day, I found out it takes a ton of energy, charisma, and heart to be a true warrior. Running around the stadium, passing out headbands, pounding drums, shouting, cheering and doing pushups can tire you out fast.