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Monday, October 26, 2009

Cougar Spotlight: Spencer Hafoka

Talo Steves
Oct 26, 2009

He’s only a sophomore and plays on the offensive side of the ball. His favorite food is pizza and he likes every kind of music from hip-hop to rock. So who is this BYU Cougar telling BYU fans more about himself? Read on as Total Blue Sports takes a fun look at Spencer Hafoka in this edition of Cougar Spotlight.

His family is from Tonga and he grew up in Hawaii. His father was a bishop in the Laie area of the North Shore, and he’s had two uncles that played for BYU during the 90s. And although he may be Tongan, his favorite food isn’t kailua pig or laulau.

“My favorite kind of food is pizza and I can eat all kinds of it,” said Spencer Hafoka with a laugh. “I can eat any kind of pizza and every kind of pizza. It doesn’t matter because it’s all good to me.”

As for movies, Hafoka’s favorites are ones that revolve around a kind of me-verses-the-odds genre, which makes sense since he’s a wide receiver on a college football team.

“My favorite movie is ‘Taken,’” said Hofoka. “It’s about a girl who gets kidnapped when she goes to Paris with her friend, and her dad who is just this levelheaded, kick-back kind of guy kind of does the impossible and track her kidnappers down and cleans house. It’s crazy and intense, so I like those intense kinds of movies, and I’m trying to be intense like that when I’m on the field as a football player. Off the field I’m kind of quiet and laid back, but on the field I have to be intense and physical. It’s something Coach Anae has stressed a lot and I’m working on it. Each play during practice I’m trying to be intense and physical. Each game I want to be the same even if the ball isn’t coming to me.”

Maybe Hofoka should start watching more Bruce Lee or Jet Li Kung Fu movies.

“Um, just trying to find some time to spend with my wife is hard enough,” said Hafoka with a smile. “I think I need to do that first before I get into the Jet Li movies because I know I’ll get addicted and will be watching Jet Li all day. Then I’ll be getting Jet Li’ed by my wife.”

Well that wouldn’t be good, and BYU coaches don’t need any more injuries coming to their wide receivers, so let’s move on. Coming from Hawaii where ukuleles are often played and the reggae vibe is often flowing, island music has to be Hafoka’s favorite kind of music, right?

“I like all kinds of music, to be honest with you,” said Hafoka. “I like hip-hop, reggae and some rock. I like just about every kind of music. I’m not too picky about music. If it’s good music I like it.”

Well, at least he didn’t say heavy metal to be more aggressive out on the football field.

Alright, what about favorite sports teams, such as an NFL team?

“I don’t really have one,” Hafoka said. “It used to be the Chargers until they lost to the Steelers, so I’m thinking about jumping on the bandwagon and going with the Vikings.”

Is that because former BYU running back Fahu Tahi is there?

“The number one reason,” said Hafoka with a laugh. “It is because Fahu Tahi is there and he’s someone I know that plays. So he’s doing well and the team is doing well, so I’m thinking of going with the Vikings this year.”

So then is Fahu Tahi his all-time favorite sports icon, or is it his uncle Kalepi Ofahengaue, who used to play here at BYU during the 90s?

“Uncle Kalepi is a really good role model,” said Hafoka with a slight laugh. “I’ve taken some things from him and have tried to apply it, but honestly I don’t really have a favorite sports icon. As the years go on there are always new and exciting players and great role models and stars that come out. I just usually like to take the good and follow them. I’m kind of a well-rounded kind of a guy who just likes following the good. You know, just like with the music.”

Well, maybe Hafoka doesn’t have any one specific sports hero or one athlete that is his favorite, but he does have someone that is his hero and role model.

“That would be my dad [Finau],” said Hafoka. “He’s been a great example to me and I owe him a lot, and he sacrificed a lot for me to be able to participate in the sport of football. It started from age eight and taking me to practice every day and to the games. It started with coming up with money to pay for me to play football. It started with all the dedicated time that he’s given me as I’ve grown up from a kid to a young man. I guarantee I would have never made it if it wasn’t for him.”

Spencer’s father was a bishop over the years in the Laie/ Kahuku area. He wanted his sons to play at BYU at a time when Utah was the popular college choice under Urban Meyer. His influence over his children always revolved around church activities. So with that being said, what is Spencer’s favorite book?

“I would have to say the Book of Enos in the Book of Mormon,” said Hofoka. “I really like the chapter where it talks about the Spirit and how it talks to us through our heart and our minds. Basically just how it tells us how the witness of the Spirit communicates to us to let us know that what we are doing is good. All that we can do is listen to that and do what the Lord expects and it will be good.”

Last but not least, what is his favorite college football team?

“Oh, that is a tricky one,” said Hafoka with a chuckle. “But I would have to say that I’m going to have to go with the one that I’m with right now. I have to and it’s a must. It’s 100 percent the Cougars of BYU. I was born and raised to be a Cougar fan and will be until I die.”

Well, there you have it Cougar fans, a fun and lighthearted look at one of your own in BYU wide receiver Spencer Hafoka.

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