Sports Culture

Jayda Vaifanua, Staff Writer


The islands of Polynesia have a beautiful culture. Some of the Polynesian islands are different but are all and will always be one culture. The largest Polynesian groups are Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Guam, Tongan, Fijian, and Marshelle. Polynesians are not as recognized or familiar with many people. Although they are like every other culture just different ethnicities. Polynesian culture is all about dance (Siva), love (alofa), family (aiga), God (Atua), discipline (a’oa’iga), and education (a’oa’oga), and athletics (ta’aloga). Some sports that are important to Polynesia are rugby union/league, volleyball, kilikiti (cricket), football, basketball, and baseball. As Covid-19 has canceled or postponed several sports leagues, Polynesian culture has been deeply affected. As one of the main components of Polynesian culture has seen to be shut down in the events of increasingly strict guidelines and regulations in order to control the spread of the virus.


            In my family, both my parents and siblings have all participated in sports including myself. My mom played volleyball and my dad played basketball. My brother is playing football, my sister is in rugby, and I play volleyball.


            My sister Janiyah plays rugby for Belmont Shore. Belmont Shore is one of the most known and a worldwide rugby union. In Samoa, rugby is one of our main sports, it is most played everywhere around the island. Samoa has been participating in every Rugby World Cup since 1991 and has been ranked in the top 20 teams in world rugby. Due to covid-19, the summer rugby program was canceled. A month or two later, rugby season was back but had some precautions before starting practice. During the off-season, all coaches had at-home exercises for players to practice to keep fit and strong. The word now is all rugby practices start at the beginning of December or mid-December. As far as we know, not just for rugby but for all sports practice will be held but as far as games some coaches are suggesting to wait till spring.


            My brother plays offense and defense at Rancho Dominguez. We haven’t gotten a full update on what the football team is to expect for the season; all we know is that all sports are postponed. Football in Samoa is called American Football. We have many Samoans or Polynesians playing in the NFL like the late Junior Seau, Troy Polamalu, Marcus Mariota, and my uncle Joey Losefa to name a few. Research says It is estimated that a boy born in Samoa is 56 times more likely to get into the NFL more than any other boy in America. In 1945, Al Lolotai became the first Polynesian player to play in the NFL, 2014 Marcus Mariota was the first Polynesian player to win the Heisman trophy, and in 2015 Junior Seau became the first Polynesian player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 


During my interview with my sister Janiyah, I asked what her expectations or point of view would be when the sport is in full effect, her response, “What I expect is, we are going to be in smaller groups easier for coaches to coach. What I also expect is new kids because every year there are new kids that join,” she said. “New safety rules/precautions we are going to have to follow in order to get back on the field. We all also have to make sure for the safety of all the players and coaches, that no one is sick or has covid.”


She feels that players should be careful and cautious of themself and their health first before being able to put themselves on the field.


“I miss making scores for the team. I also miss holding the ball, tackling, and seeing my team put all their effort and hard work on the field. I also miss the long trips to the games. I also miss my friends and coaches,” Janiyah mentioned.


Even the little things in a sport that occurs can make unforgettable memories. It affected many not only as a player but also as family and friends. 


“Some things the players and even I can improve on are tackling, catching the ball, and working with the plan. It was a good year with my team and looking forward to making more memories with them.” Janiyah added. 


Although there are some things that she thinks that the team can improve on. She says that there is no other team that does it like them.