Feature on Inoke

About how he didn’t understand the language well when he first started his mission in the Dominican Republic (he had just 5 weeks of language training), Inoke said:
“You’re out there, and guys are saying stuff, and you’re like, ‘huh? What? I don’t understand? You’re speaking too fast.” (HA)

HA Note: “There were some who “weren’t welcoming,” choosing to make fun of Funaki. But he refused to give up on a pledge he made when he was younger, “when the light went on,” and he knew it was his destiny to serve a two-year mission.”

About the Morman church’s training center in Santo Domingo, Inoke said:
“For five weeks, we learned the basics. It’s so funny. When you get out there to the country, all of a sudden you feel you didn’t learn anything. There’s a lot of pressure. They teach you a little bit, and then you do your thing.” (HA)

About how he eventually became fluent in Spanish, Inoke said:
“I learned how to read and write in Spanish. Imagine, you’re out there two years. That’s all you speak. It’s eventually going to come.” (HA)

HA Note: “Mastering the language helped him to offer advice to families torn apart by alcohol abuse. He helped build houses. For the next two years, he did everything except toss a football.”

About how he was sad when his mission was ending, Inoke said:
“I enjoyed being there. I was thinking: What am I going to do?” (HA)

About how he felt out of place when he returned to the North Shore, Inoke said:
“Spanish words would come to my mind. I would be thinking in Spanish, and I would have to adjust. It took a while to get back into it.” (HA)

About how he had to think of his future when he returned home after his mission, Inoke said:
“When I got home, the whole perspective changed. For the two years, you’re thinking about other people, how you can help them. You don’t think about yourself. Now that I was back, it’s like, ‘What do I have to do in life to progress, to move forward?’ I was nervous. I know a lot of missionaries come back, and they’re kind of lost. It’s: ‘Now what?’ ” (HA)

HA Note: “Soon after, Funaki received a call from Dan Morrison, who was UH’s quarterbacks coach. Morrison assured Funaki that the Warriors would honor the scholarship offer made in 2002.”

About playing football after his mission, Inoke said:
“I heard stories about guys coming back and not being able to get back to where they were in high school. Sometimes they lose the drive. Sometimes coaches lose trust.” (HA)

About the pressure of being the starting QB at Kahuku, Inoke said:
“You experience a lot of pressure playing for Kahuku. The people love their football team. There’s a lot of pride and tradition over there.” (HA)

About now being the starting QB at UH, Inoke said:
“I know about the quarterbacks before me — my own coach Rolo (Nick Rolovich), and Timmy (Chang) and Colt and even Tyler (Graunke). They set high standards. There are big shoes to fill. I feel when they throw me out on the field, I’m not playing for me. I feel I’m playing for the guys around me, and for the state. That’s motivation for me.” (HA)


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