In rugby terms, he is what Avery Johnson and Spud Webb were in the NBA. He is rugby’s equivalent of the NFL’s Darren Sproles or Emmitt Smith (pre-Dancing with the Stars form of course). If he were a musician he would be Marvin Gaye, smooth, effortless and timeless. Say the name Uale Mai in rugby circles, particularly in the realm of International Sevens and you’ll be impressed by the man’s resume and the endorsement of his peers.
Mai has been a long time fixture of the Samoan side for the IRB Sevens Series for so long, that it is strange to see a side without him. That happened for the first time in several years recently when Samoa announced its squads for the first three legs of the 2010-11 IRB Sevens Series. Mai was called in as an emergency replacement for current captain Lolo Lui prior to the start of the USA Sevens when Lui was suspended from participating in Las Vegas. Though Lui was missed, Uale’s presence was definitely a factor on the field.
He is a calming presence, soft-spoken approach and his ability to mentor younger players to achieve maximum results has made him one Samoa’s most recognizable faces. For more than a decade he has been a complete and consummate professional and an impeccable ambassador for his country. He has given his heart and his body to the sport and to Samoa and its fans.
This Friday, February 18th, the people of Utah have a chance to give back to Uale Mai at a Meet and Greet Fiafia in his honor at Samoa Heritage Hall (5415 South 4090 West, Kearns). Before returning to his beloved Samoa, Uale and his family will be greeting the public from 7pm to 2am. The cover charge is $10 and includes dinner, dancing and live music.
Join Uale Mai and his extended family this Friday for a chance to thank Uale for his long-time service and for providing us with rugby thrills through the years.