Ryan Naki-Poomailhealani is making the most of his pro shot, however long it may last.
The former University of Mary defensive back, who has earned a spot with the Bismarck Bucks, knows nothing is guaranteed.
"You're really on a week-to-week basis. You have to earn your spot every week," Naki-Poomailhealani said. "We all have to prove we belong or they're going to find somebody else to do the job."
Naki-Poomailhealani and the Bucks make their 2019 home debut tonight at the Bismarck Event Center against the Sioux Falls Storm (2-0). It's the first home game for Bismarck since becoming a member of the Indoor Football League during the offseason. Kickoff is set for 6:05.
Naki-Poomailhealani, who was third on the Marauders last season with 48 tackles plus one interception, did not have plans to continue his career until he attended a Bucks tryout but only to support one of his friends who was trying to win a spot on the team. Naki-Poomailhealani and some of the coaches got to talking and before he knew it, he was playing pro indoor football.
"It's definitely been a different experience, but I'm definitely thankful for the opportunity and I'm trying to make the most of it," he said. "It's been a big adjustment just in terms of learning some of the rules and the players are very good.
"I'm just trying to give it my all."
The Bucks (0-2) started the season with road losses to the Nebraska Danger (66-44) and Tucson Sugar Skulls (62-42). Naki-Poomailhealani believes better things are ahead.
"I think it's just a matter of everybody getting on the same page," he said. "I have total faith in our coaching staff, their values and morals. People are going to have to look out for the Bucks this season."
Naki-Poomailhealani ranks fourth on the Bucks in tackles with five. Dickinson State product Antwan Smith leads the way with 15. The former Marauder said adapting to the smaller indoor field -- just 50 yards in length -- has been an adjustment.
"Every inch counts. One little mistake can turn into a touchdown," he said. "You really have to be on your Ps and Qs at all times."
Naki-Poomailhealani, originally from Hawaii and a physical therapy major at U-Mary, takes pride in representing the Marauders.
"I didn't come from much, but I'm trying to prove people wrong and show that I belong," he said. "I'm proud to represent Mary, that's my school. They gave me an opportunity and I just want to make this opportunity last as long as I can."