Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fatukasi's story is worth sharing

Pretty much from the time UConn put the wraps on its incoming freshman class there was one player whose story intrigued me more than any of the others.

Foley Fatukasi saw his life turned upside down due to Hurricane Sandy crushing his family's home. I read a few of the story from the New York papers about how he has not only overcome the circumstances but handled everything with incredible grace. So with Fatukasi one of the three UConn signees playing in the Empire Challenge tonight, I decided to make a detour on my way back from covering the Big 33 Classic in Hershey, Pa. so I could talk to Fatukasi after Sunday's practice. It was well worth the extra driving time in my opnion. I wrote a story on Fatukasi's trials and tribulations for today's edition of the New Haven Register.

Fatukasi is a tremendously likeable kid. A bunch of New York All-Stars walked by me as I stood on the sidelines shooting videos and he was the only one who made it a point to say hello. After the practice he was an engaging interview and if he emerges into a key player during his UConn career the media will be thrilled because he is a great quote.

Fatukasi is the first football player from Beach Channel High School to head straight to a BCS program and with the school scheduled to close in 2014, that is a distinction that likely will not be matched.

"I am very excited. I never thought I was going to go D-I and if I was I never thought it was going to be UConn and I am running with it," Fatukasi said..

Fatukasi and the rest of the Beach Channel students had to take a bus into Brooklyn to go to classes at Franklin D. Lane High School and he expressed appreciation to the bus company who arranged the daily 20-25 minute bus rides.

"Our school has stayed pretty tight because we have a great school culture and we stayed together. Everybody tried to look forward and say ‘we are going to get through this’ because after the storm we all saw each other and said ‘hey, I am glad you are OK.’"


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