Please let me tell you a true story that I’m praying to one day get turned into a movie. This isn’t like the movies you see that have, “Based on a true story.” at the beginning. This IS a true story. You’ll have to use your imagination to “see” what I’m talking about but I’m sure you can do it.
Imagine a drone shot over the ocean headed inland toward the western side of the island of Oahu and a small town named Waianae. As you head inland you approach the Pu’u Kahea Conference center plantation house in between the royal palms stretching down the front yard on either side of you.
Pu’u Kahea Conference Center Plantation House
You go through the front door, through the building, out the back door to where a large tent is set up and almost 200 youth and adults are sitting and listening to Coach David finishing up answering a question he’d been asked during a Q&A session after his talk.
Carl: “Are there any more questions for Coach David?”
John: “I saw the game that got you into the playoffs. That was unbelievable! How did you feel after the game?”
Coach David: “I’m so glad that you asked that question because there’s a lot more to the story. Let me tell you what happened that night.”
Before I tell you what was said, let me give you some background. David Tautofi was raised in Hawaii and attended Kaimuki High School where he played football. As a matter of fact, he was a very successful football player there. After high school he ended up playing at UCLA.
After college he got a variety of jobs, from working as a rigger for bands to fire dancing at the show Ka in Las Vegas. While in Las Vegas his brother started having challenges in high school. Gang activity and school violence in his brother’s school is very common so David made a decision. He sponsored his brother to move to Las Vegas and live with him, and he put him in a Christian school.
In order to spend more time with his brother he started helping with the high school football team, eventually becoming the head coach. He was VERY successful as a coach. As a matter of fact he was so successful that a LARGE school in Boston saw what he was doing and offered him a full-time coaching job with a six-figure income!
He’d made it! His brother had graduated high school, he had his dream job, and was going nowhere but up! His move to Boston was going to make it much more difficult to visit Hawaii in the future. So, he went back home to spend some time with his family in order to prepare for the long separation.
While there, his heart broke. He saw the impact that gangs, drugs and the breakdown of families was having on his high school.. He was torn and didn’t know what he could do to make a difference.
A short time later he received a call that changed everything. It was his school in Hawaii telling him that the football coach had resigned and asking him if he would come home and take over as coach.
He was torn. The school in Boston was the dream job with the dream salary. Kaimuki High School couldn’t come close Boston’s offer.. Not only that, but Kaimuki had won only 3 games in the previous 3 seasons. This was a program that was in trouble! Boston looked good.
But Coach David chose to return to Hawaii and he made some changes! The Kaimuki Bulldogs went 1-3 in the first 4 games. But, they didn’t lose hope. After the slow start they won 4 games straight.
The game that John had asked about was the last game of the season against Nanakuli High School. Nanakuli had beaten Kaimuki 41-6 when they played the first time that season. In this last game of the season they were matched up again with the winner going to the playoffs.
The game was one made for movies. Kaimuki was winning most of the night. With just 13.3 seconds left in the game, Kaimuki is up by one point, 21-20. Nanakuli decides to go for the two point conversion, and is successful. Nanakuli takes the lead 22-21. Things now get very interesting. Coach David tells that as he turns around he sees the fans on the verge of rioting. His team is crying and have given up. Inside he’s saying:
“God, I don’t understand. This isn’t what you showed me. What’s going on? This isn’t why I came back here!”
Coach David looks to his left and just happens to see one of the Seniors, Andrew, on his knees, hands clasped – obviously in prayer.
Coach David tells the other coach, “Get Andrew!”
You need to know a little background on Andrew. He had been a punt and kick-off return player for the first 3 games of the season. He was fast as lightning, but small and every time he got hit he was knocked back 5 yards. In order to protect him Coach David moved him to a different position.
Andrew runs up to Coach David.
Coach David: “Can you do it?”
Andrew: “I can do it Coach. I’ve been praying. I believe in what God is doing here.”
Coach David: “Do it!”
Nanakuli kicks off. A flag is thrown. They have to kick off again.
Nanakuli kicks off for the second time. Andrew scoops the ball up and runs 84 yards for the game winning touchdown with no time left of the clock.
The team goes wild. The fans go nuts. Coach David is crying.
FLASHBACK TO THE CAMP
Now visualize Coach David as he finishes telling the story to the campers.
Coach David: “I wasn’t crying because we had won the game. I was crying because I had doubted God! He had already showed me what He was going to do but I doubted.”
Where are you today? Are like me saying, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” Or do you have everything under control and know exactly what you need to do and how you’re going to do it? Or maybe, you just plain don’t have a clue!
Coach David is still pouring into the young men at Kaimuki High School. It’s a different environment than the one he first entered into. By the grace of God each of us can and should be making a difference wherever the Lord has placed us.
Please pray Coach David’s story can get turned into a movie and reach others who are struggling to see God in the midst of the darkness.