There’s more to us than that
With a rugby story as our lead on our front page and several other rugby stories in the local news section, not to mention a sports section at the back of this newspaper, you could say we are a rugby mad nation.
You could, but in many ways we are so much more than that.
And that tag is so limiting when you take a closer look at the success of Samoans in other sports and in other fields such as the Arts, for example.
As a country steeped in culture, it’s perhaps not surprising that we have representatives in almost all of the Arts – literature, performing arts, culinary arts, media arts and visual arts
But it is to be expected we will carry the rugby label when our Prime Minister who also doubles as the Samoa Rugby Union Chairman, a sometime selector, marketing manager and promoter.
It’s then a bit of a clue that sport, and specifically rugby are right up there in importance to our leader and to most of our country.
And who can blame us?
For many people around the world, the only time they learned that Samoa existed was after we had played them and/or beaten them at the game.
Suddenly there were experts’ articles from around the world about the miraculous properties of taro; in depth articles about those Polynesian quick twitch muscles and other more ridiculous claims.
We were usually painted as the David in the David and Goliath story.
This description was generally put forward and based on our population in comparison to almost every other rugby playing country in the world.
That of course was a mistake. To assess us by numbers was facile as many teams found out to their cost.
In fact assessments had its humorous side when you saw some of the wee ‘Goliaths’ our huge ‘Davids’ ran over and through during some of our rugby encounters with nations around the world.
As a proud people and with nothing to lose and very little fear, we showed our version of respect by beating whomever we could, whenever we could.
Ultimately we paid the price for this ‘no fear’ attitude and we soon saw a steady stream of secondary school principals, agents and talent scouts on our shores eager to add the unpredictable and naturally talented players to their teams.
To the point where today, you would be hard pressed to find many rugby teams which don’t boast a player from the Pacific. And if they don’t have one at present, they have had one in the past or hope to have one in the future.
This year the Samoa Marist St Josephs Sports Club has staged the Marist International Sports Week 2017.
Included in the events has been a chance for other major sports - netball, touch, rugby league and boxing for example to be showcased.
This has been a clever and some might say ambitious event which as well as providing for more participants and viewers, it has been rewarded with well deserved, financial support from the business community.
With a week to go in this multisport event, we urge you to support the organizers and participants of this inclusive sports initiative and even if you haven’t already been to any of the sporting events, make sure you are at the XXIXth Vailima Marist International Sevens this Friday and Saturday!