Violence is not a Samoan thing and it’s not funny, says OCIA
Since January of this year, the Department of Education’s Office of Curriculum and Accountability (OCIA) Office has implemented a ‘Good Sportsmanship’ video contest that was open to elementary (grades 6-8) and secondary (grades 9-12) schools.
The video contest comes at a time, when the Department of Education American Samoa High School Athletics Association (ASHSAA) has shortened its 2012- 13 season due to fights happening during and after high school games — the last one occurred at Samoana High School during the basketball championship game between SHS and Tafuna High School. As a result, the baseball season was cancelled, while other sports that continued did not have ‘championship games’ — instead winners were based on most goals or points scored during the season’s games.
The goal of the video competition, according to OCIA, was to have student athletes create a short 5-8 minute video promoting the values of good sportsmanship and fair play. The videos contained different kinds of songs and music, interviews and the students' own narration to present a positive message about good sportsmanship.
The judging of the videos took place on Tuesday, April 16, at the OCIA conference room and the winners will be announced early next week by OCIA- Physical Education (PE) Coordinator Clayton ‘Boom’ Mahuka.
“The first thing we have to do is to admit that we have a real problem here when it comes to things such as fights and rock throwing at sporting events,” said Mahuka. “If you want to teach these athletes here about good sportsmanship, you must start teaching them when they are young and playing in sports. By doing this, by the time they reach high school it will be a little easier on the coaches and everyone else”.
He said that another key factor is getting the parents involved in teaching the kids about good sportsmanship. “Sometimes when a parent sees their child competing in a sport, they can sometimes have a negative impact on their child’s performance, especially if they try to get their child to do something they should not do during competition,” he said.
“The same thing goes for a coach. If a coach sees their player doing something wrong that might lead to a fight, he should pull the child from the game immediately and straighten them out a soon as possible. But if a parent is encouraging their child to be a bad sport, the child will most likely listen to their parent over the coach. That is why it is imperative to try and get the parents involved when their child is playing sports, to teach them to be a good sport”.
“A lot of people laugh or say ‘it's just a Samoan thing’ when there is violence at these sporting events here in American Samoa. It is not a Samoan thing and it is not funny. This is why we are having this video contest and will try and have it each year."
He added, "Hopefully the contest gets bigger each year. We can’t do this by ourselves and if you are tired of seeing the fights and violence at these sporting events, then let’s get together as a community and work together to solve the problem."
There will be prizes for the 1st place winner, 2nd place winner and honorable mention. The 1st and 2nd place winners will receive trophies, T-shirts and a package of sports equipment for their school. Honorable mention will receive a T-shirt and certificates.
Mahuka also stated that this issue came up during the teacher's orientation (August 2012) when he did workshops with elementary and high school teachers and principals where the ASDOE-PE discussed and addressed the issue of ‘Fair Play’ and ‘Poor Sportsmanship’ — especially at the elementary level before the kids go into high school sports where this issue becomes a much bigger problem.
There is a similar program in the United States called, ‘National Sportsmanship Day’ that was founded by the Institute for International Sport, back in 1991. According to their website, www.internationalsport.org, a key goal of the Institute of International Sport is to cull ideas on the issue of non-violence in sport.
The latest National Sportsmanship Day in the United States was on March 5 this year. In September of this year, the Institute will make a formal presentation to thousands of schools throughout the United States on how to best use the 2013-2014 school year to develop a culture of non-violence through sports.
To find out more about the Good Sportsmanship video contest here in American Samoa, for which Mahuka is the driving force, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.