Grandiose, I get it. But this stuff is serious for me and the thousands of Manu Samoa fans who are praying, cheering and longing for a favorable result for their team. I’m often asked why I’m so fanatical about Samoa’s team and why they mean so much to a tiny island nation situated smack dab in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean.
Contemplating a response, I found these moving, evocative photos of the team illuminating. I use them here as compassionate companions to my scarce narrative.
Represent – They carry the hopes of a nation. They are our ambassadors on one of the world’s biggest stage. Even before they take the field they have felt the weight of an ardent, adoring nation. From subsistence farmers, fishermen and homemakers to professionals and educators, these men, who wear the flag and colors of Samoa, know what it means to bear the burden of expectation.
Pride – It is embedded in the hearts and minds of every young Samoan. When we prepare to leave home for a day, for a week, for a lifetime, for a moment, the words of our elders ring clear: Remember the name you carry. Remember where you come from. The way your carry yourself, your speech is a reflection of your family; your people. There is no monetary gain and there are no great rewards, only the pride in bringing a tiny nation level with the major powers on the planet if only for a few blissful, fleeting moments.
Courage – It is the hallmark of our character. When you are faced with adversity and doubt begins to fray your edges there is only one way to go and that is forward. Stand your ground, stare your adversary in the eye, square your shoulders and charge into the fight. If I cannot conquer the world, at the very least the world will know that I did my very best at slaying my fears.
Perseverance – No one really remembers how you started the race but everyone will remember how you finished. Great teams battle through hardship and our boys have seen a lot of that over the years. Some adversity comes from within, most of it comes from without; but the best solutions for any trials can be found in the space that exists between your ears and the eat that resonates from your chest. The rest is up to you.
Flair – We are nothing without exuberance. The challenge is containing our passion but containing it stifles our creativity and our imagination for opportunity. Yes, there is power in our limbs and the pace in our feet is equaled only by the emotion in which we live each moment.
Unity – That’s all
GO THE MANU!