Returning to the court stronger
Volleyball player Tyler-Marie Kaleihulumamo Ō Kohala Mau details her experience during COVID-19
By Aloha Lau
March 24, 2021
When COVID-19 hit the Philippines, the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers season came to a halt. The team is owned by Efren E. Uy, President and CEO of F2 Logistics Philippines, Inc. Kalei Mau, one of the professional volleyball team members, was stuck in quarantine. And for four months, Mau waited to go home to Kahalu’u, Hawai’i, after a postponed season.
Though many may see the COVID-19 pandemic as a time of disparity, Kalei Mau took it upon herself to build on her passion for health and wellness and chose to share her knowledge with others. Mau decided the time of isolation and social distancing was time to start new projects and accomplish her life goals aside from her excellence in volleyball.
“When you really think about it, and you go into a mindset it’s like, OK, everything is just going to be on pause,” Mau said. “What can I do in the meantime to still get better and still stay kind of on top of things?”
After her extensive high school and college volleyball career at St. Francis School, the University of Minnesota and the University of Arizona, everything was uphill for Kalei Mau. She was always working on furthering her future in volleyball. When COVID-19 had hit, it was her first chance in a long while to focus on more than just her sport.
“I really was able to establish a foundation for myself if ever sports never went back,” Mau said. And she did. Mau created a platform to capture her love for exercise and health.
Mau established herself as a health and wellness coach and has even launched a digital space, kaleihulu.com, to encourage people of all backgrounds to engage in a healthy and fit lifestyle.
In addition to Mau’s health and wellness business, Mau has a passion for music. As a singer, Mau has a strong and soulful voice. She has been working hard in the studio to create music that inspires others.
The list of accomplishments that this 26-year-old goes on and on. Mau reflects on her childhood as the reason for her passion for impacting others in a motivating and positive manner.
Growing up, Mau had a family foundation that truly made her the driven and hardworking person she is today. Her father, a chicken-fighter who has ties to the land and the ocean, and her mother, a flight attendant who traveled far and wide– was immersed in different cultures. Mau details why her mother had inspired her to see the world, and luckily with volleyball, she could do just that.
“One thing that she was able to bring back from her trips were these stories and just like encouraging me that there’s more out there, that there’s more to see,” said Mau.
At three years old, Mau began participating in soccer. And it wasn’t until high school, at St. Francis School in Mānoa, that Mau discovered that volleyball was her calling.
How she found her sport
When Mau was sixteen, she attended a small school named St. Francis nestled in Mānoa on a soccer scholarship. The athletics director at the time encouraged Mau to branch out of her comfort zone and try other sports while not in soccer season. And with her quickness and athleticism, Mau thought, “why not?”
“Of course, I tried softball, loved it, and loved it. I played basketball– did not love it because you can’t put a soccer player on the court without expecting me to take someone on, and then, I played volleyball, and that was it,” said Mau. “I was like, this is so fun. I love the timing. I love the competition; it gets so exciting towards the end of the set.”
Standing tall at six feet two inches, Mau is a force to be reckoned with, and it was evident in her athleticism that she was made for the competitive sport of volleyball.
When Mau graduated from high school, it was game time. After she traveled with her team in high school, she came home to a pleasant surprise.
“I came back, and I had envelopes stacked from colleges just offering me scholarships, and my family was like, ‘I don’t know what you did, but thank God because we don’t have to pay for college,’” said Mau.
She first started her college volleyball career at the University of Minnesota then transferred to the University of Arizona. Mau’s coaches could see the potential she carried and made sure she knew that bigger things were on the horizon for her professional volleyball career.
Focusing on more than volleyball
Coming home for Mau was a time of self-determination. She was always on top of her game, disciplined and motivated to excel in her sport. But, she then realized that this pause on volleyball provided her with time to focus on other aspects that she wanted to explore and better. She even took time to spend time with her loved ones and encouraged them to better their health habits.
Samuela Tatofi is one of Mau’s oldest friends from her childhood. They built a relationship after Mau’s sister and Tatofi’s brother married. Mau took her opportunity to be home to help Tatofi better his health and wellness habits and encouraged him to make changes in his diet and exercise to better himself.
“One thing that Kalei has taught me was the importance of health. How little things can make huge impacts! She also taught me the hardest part is showing up!” said Tatofi.
“Definitely the knowledge I gained while working out with her, weight can come and go knowledge is forever,” he added.
Mau’s ‘ohana is very supportive of her journey. She impacts not only her family members but her clients and so many more people that meet her. Mau radiates so much light and positivity, and beneath it, all is still a competitive and disciplined individual. She is wise and confident, and it shows in everything that she does. Even her mother, Lynette Martin, said Kalei has taught her a thing or two.
“Live your Best Life” As much as I can say the same, she has always reminded me to make the best of everything. To enjoy the moment and having balance is key!” Martin said.
“The fact that she would always tell me from when she was young that she’s going to be somebody one day and make me proud.. she truly is living up to it. She has set realistic goals, surrounds herself with the right group of friends, and has always stayed the course. To me, looking back as her mother, it gives me such great gratitude and blessings of the woman she has become!” Martin added.
Home visit cut early.
Mau will be heading back to the Philippines by the end of March and will be training to compete with her F2 Logistics Cargo Movers team. Although Mau feels like her time is cut short, she will be keeping focus and pursuing her career because she is in it to win it– all of it.
“I’m going a hundred percent, and that’s I would say is my passion is just being the best at the absolute best at what I can be anything that I do, and then volleyball is just so solid for me like I’m gonna play that sport until I can’t anymore,” Mau said.
As for after volleyball, Mau plans on settling down and creating a family to extend her legacy. Mau also has aspirations to develop a health facility in Hawai’i as well.
“My family is everything, and I do everything because of them and For them and so like the best thing that now that I can only think of is just like coming back home having a health and wellness facility here named after me and then just like, you know creating a family and then allowing my own children to see the way I grew up,” Mau said.
Although she isn’t in a rush to have a family of her own, it is definitely in her prospects. At the rate that Mau is moving, she can have and do anything that she wants because of her strong self-determination and willingness to pursue her dreams.