SPOTLIGHT ON WEST OAHU
With Honolulu Council Member Kymberly Marcos Pine
On June 3, 2017 as I watched the referee raise Max “blessed” Holloway’s arm in victory which earned him the UFC featherweight crown I knew right there, just like every other person along the Leeward Coast, he and fellow Waianae resident and UFC Welterweight Champion Yancy “The Kid” Medieros would be welcomed back home from Brazil with a parade. And what a parade it was. The streets were lined with cheering fans, well-wishers, and admiring keiki of all ages.
The amazing stories of Max and Yancy surely bring hope and inspiration to many West Oahu residents as their hard work, focus, and dedication proves that when you have purpose, vision, and goals in your life you can achieve your dreams. Mixed martial arts just happens to be the vehicle these two young men from Waianae used in their quest to better their lives, but the consistency and focus they employed during their journey can be the same focus, intention, and discipline that anyone from Waianae, Nanakuli, Ewa Beach, or anywhere in Hawai’i can incorporate in order to make their dreams manifest.
From my experience meeting people from all walks of life who’ve had all sorts of experiences, I can say with certainty that everyone has the inner strength to achieve their dreams. There are those who will use their circumstances in life as an excuse to never attempt any effort to make it better. I think it’s because there is a fear of stepping out of ones’ comfort zone. Let’s not kid ourselves to think that success is an easy road to travel. But once you take those first steps, you’ll see the journey is very exciting and rewarding.
Are you Waianae strong like Max and Yancy? If anyone knows Waianae, they know it can be a challenging place to grow up. And Max Holloway certainly knows how tough it is which is why he’s not only driven to excel, he also hasn’t forgotten his roots or his people. “Waianae…I wouldn’t change it one bit. That’s what made me. Some people fall into the stereotype. Others fight to break it. I fight to break it. Hopefully as kids are growing up they say, ‘If Max can do it, so can I’,” Holloway said.
When they’re not training for their next matches, Max Holloway spends as much time as he can coaching and counseling youth while Yancy Medieros is either volunteering his time with sick children at the hospital or training “the spunky Waianae kids” at his gym for free—just as long as they maintain their grades in school. Holloway says he wants the kids he works with to ignore everything other than the fire that resides inside them. And you too can achieve your dreams by focusing on your inner passion.