By Mark Wright
LDS Quarterback Keeps Living While Teammate Makes NFL
PARK CITY, UTAH -- Fred Salanoa has discovered that the key to happiness is
not to get what you want, but to want what you get. It would be easy for
Salanoa to be bitter about the frequent distractions that have disrupted his
collegiate football career, but Salanoa refuses to feel sorry for himself.
Instead, he just keeps on enjoying life and taking it one day at a time.
"I'm living my dream," he said. "My dream is to play collegiate football and
that's what I'm doing."
Yes, it is true that Salanoa knows things could have gone much, much better,
but he'll take just what he's got. He failed to qualify academically for
college when he graduated from high school in Hawaii but now sports a a 3.8
grade-point average while completing a degree in therapeutic recreation. His
former backup is now playing in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins while Salanoa
is a 5-year senior quarterback at Eastern Washington, working during the
summer as a volunteer trying to help inmates at the Hawaii State
Penitentiary find better ways to spend their free time by involving them in
various sports programs.
While Salanoa could have easily grown resentful of Josh Heupel, his former
teammate who just happened into a golden opportunity at Oklahoma, he has
chosen instead to feel joy in his friend's good luck and achievement. "I
have no gripes about it," Salanoa said at the Big Sky Conference media day
Tuesday. "Josh Heupel is a great guy. He was my roommate on the road. I
learned a lot from him and, from what I've known, he's learned a lot from
me. We still keep in touch and I'm happy for the guy." Even when injuries
robbed him of the opportunity to gain greater recognition for his football
skills, Salanoa didn't grumble or complain, he just worked harder. Barely
three games into his first season at EWU, he severely injured his right knee
and missed the rest of the season. Then, the next year, he suffered a
concussion against Weber State and lost his starting job to fellow senior
Chris Samms. Now, with a fifth and final year of eligibility, Salanoa knows
this is the last chance he has to make his college football dreams come
true. "To win a championship," he said. "That's our goal."
An active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salanoa
is happily married and has a 14-month-old daughter that is his pride and
joy. Instead of dreaming of the NFL, Salanoa now hopes that his experience
and connections to college football help him to land a job as a football
coach someday. And even if he doesn't win a national championship for a
national powerhouse college football program, Salanoa will simply move on.
And no matter what else happens, for the rest of his life, Salanoa will
remember that he achieved the dreams that he created for himself.
Salanoa Not Harboring Any Regrets
Salt Lake Tribune 24Jul01 S2
By Michael C. Lewis: Salt Lake Tribune