“WE FAILED OUR STUDENT ATHLETES, CLASS OF 2014”
In response to T. Gasu of Samoa News and the Samoa Bowl XI: the best ever.
It appears to me that the only goal for the Samoa Bowl is to bring the visiting teams “back to their roots” and to promote our tourist industry. If this is the case, then arguably Samoa Bowl XI is the best one yet.
However, it is my understanding that another major goal of the Samoa Bowl is for our local high school seniors to expose their talents (football and volleyball) to college scouts and recruiters. Each year, it starts with the East/West All Star game and tops off with the Samoa Bowl.
I believe this year, with the Samoa Bowl XI, we failed our student football talents from the Class of 2014.
1. It started with the break in the football season and culminated with the DOE cancellation of the East/West All Star game. It seriously limited the number of potential football seniors who could have shown their talents.
2. And for those that survived, after a whole year of dedication to the game, and making the all star team only to find themselves relegated merely to sideline cheerleaders. Unfortunately, the college scouts weren’t there to recruit cheerleaders.
In the quest for the “almighty win” underclassmen (quarterback, a junior) were utilized, taking away the opportunities from seniors. Also, some players were lucky to be given a chance to show their talents both on offense and defense, while some of their brothers never got a chance on either side of the ball.
3. Moreover, some talents were not fully appreciated because they had to adjust to an inflexible system designed around players by coaches from one high school.
This will appear as a letter from a sore loser simply because my son was one of the players that did not make it to the field. And he has explicitly told me not to write this letter. But, mistakes are perpetuated simply because those of us who see these mistakes decide to say nothing and do nothing.
I hope that we realize the sad fact that that the seniors who did not get a chance to play and show their talents in the Samoa Bowl XI, may have missed their only chance for a college career that their parents (who couldn’t afford it in the first place), do not have to pay for. And only God knows, how many of these seniors may have also gone on to become the financial saviors for their families and American Samoa with potential professional football careers.
I am forever grateful to Butch and Magalei and the coaches of the Samoa All Stars in, Samoa Bowl 2007. My son Robert, Tafuna High School Class of 2008, was given a chance to play for the winning Samoan All Star. Although academically qualified, his application to the US Military Academy, West Point was denied because the slot for a candidate from American Samoa was already filled. Robert applied for entry through West Point’s Sports Program. And because of his performance at Samoa Bowl 2007, he was admitted to West Point under the Academy’s Sports Program. Robert graduated from West Point in 2012 and is now a First Lieutenant Army Ranger serving in Fort Bragg, North Carolina with the famous Army 82nd Airborne Division.
It is no doubt that the Class of 2014 senior all star football players will remember losing the Samoa Bowl for the first time after 10 years of championships.
We are responsible and we should fix this.
Sione L. Kava
a concerned parent