Making Her Dreams a Reality: One of the Boys


Jacob Thompson

Kamehameha Varsity Football Team join together to sing Sons of Hawai‘i.

As a newfound kicker on the football team, Leihali‘a Panui believes that without the boys on the team her football career would not have been possible.

“The boys on the team are more than just my teammates, they’re my brothers”, said Panui. The overall support of the boys on the football team has allowed her to reach her potential and to truly stay grounded in her foundation.

Panui believes that although others may see her as an outsider due to gender norms, she considers herself just “one of the boys.”

“Just as any typical brother would act, I needed to get used to the teasing, petty comebacks and their best ability to annoy me all the time”, said Panui.

Others may feel that Panui would be intimidated by being on a team full of boys, but in actuality she just sees them as her family.

“The boys never make me feel alone, I always have someone to rely on and they are more than willing to be my back bone when I need it,” said Panui. Many of the guys on the football team push Panui to give her 110% in the running or lifting work outs that they do during practice.

They act as Panui’s guide throughout practice and assure Panui that they will always have her back. “I can always count on their hugs, handshakes and hi-fives to be waiting for me after I kick a PAT to give me the extra confidence that I need,” said Panui.

“I love each and every one of my brothers, I love them with all my heart because they are a part of the dream and the journey that I always wanted to accomplish,” said Panui.

Without the boys on the team, Panui believes that her dream of being a football player would not have become a reality.