Like most mothers, Shilene Matautia wanted to keep locks of her child’s haircut.
The memento was 18 inches of hair from University of Hawaii football player Solomon Matautia’s first haircut since the fourth grade.
Shilene Matautia made the cut to help her son conform to the Warriors’ short-hair policy. Solomon Matautia, a 2015 Campbell High graduate, officially joined the Warriors this week.
"He wanted to give me the honor," she said of the cut. "I’m the mom, and he’s my baby boy. I was the one who was most attached to it."
Solomon Matautia said: "It was a pretty big deal. I’ve had long hair for about 10 years. I think it was a bigger deal for my mom."
But he said it was time to change his look.
"For me, it was kind of a hassle," he said of maintaining his long hair. "I needed to focus on other things besides being in the shower a long time washing my hair. I actually like short hair better. I have more time now."
He said he used to spend 30 minutes each night washing his hair. He started with a shampoo-conditioner mix, then added more conditioner. He said it took another 10 minutes to brush. For games or special events, Shilene Matautia would braid her son’s hair. "We flat-ironed it, too," she said. "It was ridiculously long. He has sisters, but his hair was longer."
His hairstyle gained importance when he began playing the same position as his mane heroes — former UH safety Leonard Peters and All-Pro Troy Polamalu. As a two-time all-state safety, Solomon Matautia was easily identifiable for his hair and mouthpiece-loosening hits.
He said his mother took a few minutes to gain composure before cutting the hair.
"His hair was really thick," she said. "I had to cut it in sections. I couldn’t lop it one time."
She said the "thought of Samson came to my head."
"People joked about whether I would lose my power if I cut my hair," he said. "I said, ‘I hope that’s not the situation.’"
Solomon Matautia is enrolled in the bridge program, a two-course summer session that leads to the start of training camp in August. He is projected to compete at nickel safety, a hybrid position that will make use of his tackling and coverage skills.
He also has earned respect from the coaches for meeting the hair-length standards.
"It was for the team — making sacrifices and showing I’m committed to the team," he said. "And coach (Norm) Chow is happy."
Shilene Matautia said: "It’s a new phase in his life. He’s moving on to college. It’s time to put on his big-boy pants. It’s part of growing up."