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Samoa News Editorial: Samoa Bowl IX — Back to the Roots: Live the experience

rhonda@samoanews.com

The transformation of the Samoa Bowl from a football game focused on local and off-island athletic competition — to get bragging rights as the best Samoan talent in football — to supporting the talent of all of our young Samoan athletes, those on-island and those who are of Samoan ancestry off-island, is a natural progression of the idea.

It is after all, the fa’aSamoa or Samoan culture that is an integral, vibrant part of our character that ultimately defines our everyday living, and embraces all those who claim Samoan ancestry, no matter where you live or where you were brought up; or what you will do in life; and whether you speak Samoan or not.

The Samoan culture is the bridge that spans the divide between the Bowl participants, who are all talented athletes — both students and coaches. The Samoa Bowl has acknowledged this —by expanding the sports events, from only football to girls volleyball last year, to men’s volleyball, softball and baseball added on this year, and thereby encompassing more Samoan athletes.

Maybe next year, we will see wrestling become a part of the Samoa Bowl concept?

There is no doubt that expansion of the sporting events has brought more excitement to the Bowl. Who can forget those California girls who dug out each and every one of their wins for the Samoa Bowl championship last year to amp up the competition to national class? And, they were all Samoans!

This year’s volleyball competition is even hotter. The men’s volleyball has been added and teams from combined clubs in California, Las Vegas, Oregon and Utah have joined the Samoa Bowl in both men and women’s competitions.

As the recruiter fromWentworth Military Academy, who is in town to see the action and possibly offer some girls volleyball scholarships, Captain Lindsey Mesner said, “I would say that the traditional American players are more uptight, and they are very structured... they are go getters... they like to go after it and work hard.” On the other hand, the Samoans, “they love to work hard, they love to work out, they just love to play volleyball, but they are not so structured in their everyday life which brings an interesting dynamic to our team, because then our American players, learn how to be a little bit more laid back, and they are willing to have fun a little more— so we really enjoy that dynamic.”

Mesner is talking about what the Samoan athlete brings to any competition, whether it’s the village cricket match, the friendly rugby game before a hurricane in the pouring rain, the Manu Samoa 7’s win in Hong Kong, or the rivalry on the volleyball court between local teams and the off-island teams that were being played out as this article was being written — it’s all about the ‘love of the game’.

It’s this same spirit that has partnered the Samoa Bowl in 2011 with the American Samoa National Olympic Committee (ASNOC), AS Baseball and AS Softball Associations and attracted the expertise of stateside coaches and athletes.

Murphy Su’a, Head Baseball Coach from Cal State Dominguez Hills, has brought with him a team of 20 players and coaches to conduct workshops and play exhibition games with our local baseball players.

In addition, the Ricketts sisters, well known in the world of Softball— Samantha (Asst. Softball Coach @ Witchita State, KS-2 time All American first base player), Stephanie (Senior pitcher @ UH Manoa) and Keilani (Junior pitcher @ Oklahoma Univ-winning pitcher for Team USA Gold Medal Game in Pan American Games) —are hosting coaching and pitching clinics during the week for local high school girls and interested adults. 

Don’t forget either, that Samoa is also attending with their own team of 20 participants. The Bowl has attracted international Samoan athletes to the games before — the football team from Australia. However, this year the All-Star Football team from American Samoa has been invited to Brisbane, Australia to compete with the All-Star Australian team in the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) Oceania Championships Under 19 competition, where the winning team will qualify to represent the World Team in the upcoming IFAF World Games in Ohio set for June 2012. Australia thus chose not to come.

The Samoa Bowl can now add another new ‘event’ to their history books:

Due to Samoa’s decision to jump to the other side of the International Dateline this week, the annual Samoa Bowl All Star Football Game will be the last American football game played in the world this year. American Samoa (in particular, the village of Poloa) will be the last place on earth to bid farewell to the sunset of this year, and all years thereafter. 

Samoa will go from Dec. 29 to Dec. 31 missing out on an entire day (December 30) in order to make the change.

Today Samoa News published a 12 page special section for this year's Samoa Bowl— complete with stories, photos and rosters for all the teams.

Click here to purchase the pdf that you will receive via email.