Hilo High School Vikings Attend Rams Clinic on O‘ahuJune 24, 2019, 7:46 AM HST (Updated June 24, 2019, 7:46 AM)
Two months ahead of the Los Angeles Rams-Dallas Cowboys pre-season game in August 2019, Rams legend Pisa Tinoisamoa, Rams Safety John Johnson III and the Rams Cheerleaders visited O‘ahu to host special youth football and cheer clinics, as well as engage with the Hawai‘i community.
These efforts and other Rams community outreach events were all encouraged and supported by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, in partnership with the Hawai‘i Lodging and Tourism Association and the Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau from June 14 to 16.
“We are pleased to provide these wonderful opportunities for Hawai‘i’s youth to interact with professional coaches and athletes,” said HTA President and CEO Chris Tatum. “It’s an experience I know the students will long remember.”
The Hilo High School Vikings football team, as one of the Division I state championship finalists, received an invitation from HLTA President and CEO Mufi Hannemann to the all-expenses paid clinic held at ‘Iolani School. Flights, rooms, transportation and meals were included in the experience, thanks to the financial support from tourism dollars provided by HTA.
“It made us all involved with the Rams clinics extremely happy to know that our talented student athletes and their coaches appreciated the tourism industry’s kokua,” said Hannemann.
The other schools in attendance were: Open Division finalists St. Louis School, Mililani High School, Kahuku High School and Campbell High School; Division I champion Waipahu High School; and Division II finalists; Lahainaluna High School and Kapa‘a High School.
Vikings Head Coach Kaeo Drummondo said, “Our experience has been great. It meant a lot to me, but it meant a lot more to the student athletes, especially with the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority offering to pay for three off-island schools to participate. Without the funding, we wouldn’t be here. We brought thirty-five kids here to compete and have fun. Thanks to the Rams and the tourism industry, it’s been wonderful!”
“It’s been great! Anytime you can get an all-expense paid trip up here, especially for a lot of our kids whose family struggle to make ends meet, this is a really big deal for them,” added State Rep. Chris Todd, who is also the Vikings’ offensive coordinator. “This whole experience has been a big positive, and I know that it’s going to carry to the end of the school year. Having a little more experience up here for football, but also having a little bit of pride and a little bit of world experience.”
Over the course of the weekend, 7-on-7 passing, Big Man competitions and skills stations were facilitated by Junior Prep Sports Hawai‘i and the LA Rams coaching clinic staff. Drummondo and Todd were delighted that the Vikings finished in the top four in the 7-on-7 passing contest. The Vikings were beaten by Campbell, which went on to beat Mililani in the finals.
Between events, participants were also addressed by Johnson and Tinoisamoa, who spoke to the merits of goal-setting, the value of hard work and the skills gained through team sports.
“The message I want to share is, you got to work for what you want,” said Tinoisamoa. “You have to make good choices. It’s nice to be a good football player and all that, but it’s even better to be a great human being.”
Johnson also shared some of his personal story with the students, encouraging them to remember “GAME, as an acronym: gratitude, attitude, motivation, education.”
Both Tinoisamoa and Johnson were present throughout the clinics, and provided insight, tips, and advice to the athletes from across the state.