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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, December 9, 2004

Satele was born to be a Warrior

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

In the end — as it was in the beginning — football player Brashton Satele of Word of Life Academy felt he belonged at the University of Hawai'i.

Word of Life senior and Pac-Five linebacker Brashton Satele — flanked by mother, Lee Ann, and father, Alvis — will be the first son of two University of Hawai'i letterwinners to play for the Warriors.
Long before Sunday's acceptance of a Warrior scholarship offer, Satele had a wireless connection to the Manoa campus.

"When I was growing up, I always wanted to go to UH," he said. "That was my dream."

Satele was raised in a home that honored God, family and friends, and UH athletics.

In the living area, there was a Rainbow clock, and his parents belonged to a UH booster club.

His parents worked hard — his father as a stevedore, his mother as federal agent in U.S. Customs — and spent their free time devoted to their five children.

But when Brashton was 12, he stumbled across the family secret: his parents were The Incredibles.

"I never knew they played at UH," Brashton said. "They never told me anything. My dad always told me he was a water boy."

In fact, Alvis Satele was a standout linebacker who went on to play professionally in Canada. Lee Ann (Pestana) Satele was a member of the Rainbow Wahine volleyball teams that won NCAA championships in 1982 and '83.

Brashton will be the first son of two UH letterwinners to play for the Warriors.

Lee Ann and Alvis met as UH freshmen in 1981. Although they were friendly to each other, they did not date immediately.

"Her nose was up in the sky," Alvis said, laughing. "I was a skinny, 185-pound guy."

A couple of years later, their best friends and teammates — Michael Beazley and Sista Palakiko — invited them on an airplane ride.

"One thing led to another ..." Lee Ann said.

"And we've been married 18 years, but together 21 years," Alvis added.

Through the years, they never mentioned their glory days.

"We don't talk about ourselves to our kids," Lee Ann said. "We accomplished what we had in our time, and that's pau, and our focus became our children. Everything we do is for them."

Alvis said he encouraged his daughter and four sons to pursue their own activities.

"We never forced them to do anything," he said.

Lee Ann Pestana
Alvis Satele
"The only thing we forced them to do was to work hard," Lee Ann said. "We told them: 'If you're going to sign up for something, you're going to work hard and you're going to finish.'"

Brashton competed in soccer, baseball, tennis, bowling, jet-skiing and motorcycle riding before gravitating toward football.

A family friend gave Brashton a videotape of Alvis' football highlights.

"It inspired him," Lee Ann said. "He would watch to see what different moves (Alvis) used. He got used to seeing the green."

Just before entering high school, a counselor had expressed concern about Brashton's restlessness in class and suspected he might have a form of attention deficit.

Alvis disputed the evaluation, saying, "He was active."

Lee Ann said: "We refused to put him on (medication). We refused to put him in a different type of school."

Instead, they enrolled Brashton at Word of Life. "We left it up to God's graces to be in his life, and that's where we chose him to be.

"Word of Life is different. They believe there is a seed of greatness in every kid. I truly believe that's why he's succeeded. They let him follow the desires of his heart."

Brashton has a 3.0 grade-point average.

He also has excelled as a middle linebacker competing for Pac-Five. Brashton, who is 6 feet 2 and 240 pounds, can run 40 yards in 4.6 seconds. He will play for the East in tomorrow's HUB Goodwill Classic all-star football game.

He received scholarship offers from Oregon State, Utah and Notre Dame.

"When Notre Dame called," Alvis said, "(Lee Ann) was telling me she was going to leave."

"I said, 'Pack up the kids, we're going (to South Bend, Ind.),' '' she said. "Actually, we wanted to make sure he was clear about all of these schools."

Alvis said: "We wanted him to check out his options, to see if he saw something he wanted better. We didn't want him to tell us down the line: 'Why didn't you push me to go to Oregon State?' "

Brashton said he went through the motions of evaluating the different options. "I knew where I wanted to go," he said.

Three of his cousins — offensive linemen Samson Satele and Hercules Satele and defensive end Melila Purcell III — are Warriors.

"We prayed about it," Lee Ann said. "We wanted to make sure (UH) was the right fit for Brashton. After talking to the coaches, seeing how he fits in, this is the perfect fit. It was as if he was born to be here."

Reach Stephen Tsai at stsai@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8051.