Just like all Duck fans last night, I was at the edge of my couch eager to see who would win the 2014 Heisman Trophy. I immediately jumped up when I heard the announcer slipped the word “Marcus” out of his mouth. Mariota is Oregon’s first winner of this prestigious award, along with being the first Polynesian/Hawaiian. Though most people in the college football world expected Mariota to win the Heisman, not many expected him to give an amazing, but also very heart-felt speech. No surprise to Duck fans, Mariota was very humble in his speech acknowledging his teammates and coaches, along with all the influential figures he had throughout his life.
Going into and after the presentation of the trophy, many people all over social media, television and radio started telling viewers to hash tag “MahaloMarcus” as a way of demonstrating appreciation for what Mariota has done for the Oregon Ducks during his time with the team. What most people don’t know is the significance of what the word “Mahalo” means to the Hawaiian culture. “Mahalo” represents anything from admiration, respect, gratitude, integrity and most importantly honor. All of these characteristics are evident in our very own and recent Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.
Throughout his time in Eugene, he’s served as a role model and peer to those on and off the field. In my opinion, one of the biggest reasons he won the Heisman last night was because of these traits he follows everyday. At the end of the day, Mariota may not be the type of guy who loves the attention from the press; but he does exemplify a man who goes through life with the principles of “Mahalo” flowing through his heart and soul.
Toward the end of his emotional speech, Mariota mentioned that people from Polynesian (“Poly”) descent should utilize his recent award as motivation to continue working hard and that anything can happen if one dedicates his or herself to it. If there’s one aspect that everyone knows about Mariota, it is the fact that he’s really big on family. All in all, he’s someone that everyone should look up to and view as a role model. He exemplifies not only the traits of “Mahalo,” but also the characteristics of a true gentleman.
Congratulations and Mahalo Marcus Mariota. You deserve it.