Wednesday, April 8, 2020

BYU football player starts locker room barbershop

The BYU football locker room might be filled with shouting voices, hearty laughter and side conversations, but if it’s quiet enough, the sound of buzzing clippers might be heard. Junior defensive back Jared Kapisi doesn’t just play football — he’s the team’s preferred barber.

Growing up, Kapisi’s father used to cut his hair. After too many mediocre haircuts, Kapisi complained to his father and started to learn to cut his own hair.

He started out by practicing on himself and other people in high school and then more on his mission, where he estimates he spent about 200 hours cutting hair. Once he got home and had a successful walk-on tryout, he took his hobby into the football locker room.

Although he loves cutting hair, being a full-time barber is not on the horizon for Kapisi.

“Being a barber wouldn’t help me get to where I want to be in life,” Kapisi said. “It’s more of a side hustle.”

Kapisi has almost no time for any other appointments because his time is devoted to cutting hair almost exclusively for the players on the football team in the locker room. The convenience of the locker room for him and other players is the main reason why he does it.

Sophomore Ethan Atagi can attest to this. “The locker room is big because people walking around will see it and then want a cut too,” he said.

It has also has allowed him to forge and strengthen relationships with almost everyone on the team. The other players rarely use Kapisi’s real name and instead call him “Isi.” Each haircut keeps Kapisi and his teammates a part of each other’s lives and allows them to become better friends.

“I get to know who Isi is, who his family is,” Atagi said. “I remember talking to him in the spring of 2019 about a girl who he went on a couple of dates with. They’re engaged now.”

Freshman Hayden Livingston will continually go to Kapisi for the friendship and a clean cut.

“With Isi, not only is he a friend, but he can cut it how you want it,” Livingston said. “No one cuts my hair as good as Isi.”

With Kapisi as his barber, Livingston has begun to branch out with different haircuts.

“When you’re on an LDS mission, you don’t have much freedom with your hair,” he said. “When I got back, I started mixing it up a bit with the sides being faded.”

By only charging $10 plus a tip and spending time with friends and teammates, it’s no wonder that people keep going back. Some people want a cut by Isi so bad that they’ll call him over at 2 a.m.

Pelicans point guard Frank Jackson was in town one night and wanted the Kapisi special before going to Hawaii the next morning. Kapisi was shocked when Jackson handed him $100 for his and a friend’s haircuts.

For Kapisi, the reward of making people feel better about themselves and helping them build confidence is the best part about cutting hair. Teammates will come to him just hours before kickoff asking for a cut to prepare them for a game.

“The confidence part is a big part of game day,” Isi said. “I love getting people ready to go.”

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