August 21st, 2013
Regarding ridiculously long ticket lines at Aloha Stadium in which people waited up to halftime of Saint Louis-Kahuku game:
Thank you for writing the article that appeared in today's paper. It was a very frustrating night for the Kahuku faithfuls. After an almost 2 hour drive due to Spartan Race traffic than to arrive and stand in line for another hour was totally ridiculous. I agree with you about online purchasing or through local banks perhaps like the State Championships or even pre-sale at schools would be a big help. Hope it doesn't happen again.
Regarding Polynesian Football Hall of Fame:
Much enjoyed your column about candidates for the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame.
You mentioned Al Lolotai as the first Polynesian on record to play in the NFL. His contribution might be greater for something else.
My wife, Karen and I arrived in American Samoa in 1972 to teach at Faga'itua High School, and found that football was in full swing...uniforms, cheerleaders...the works. The folks there attributed this to the efforts of Al Lolotai. If this is true, Al was responsible for the careers of hundreds of Samoan-descent footballers.
As an aside, watching kids practice and play in full football regalia in 90-degree heat seemed a bit ridiculous to me. Besides, not ALL Samoans weigh 250 pounds--and the younger boys are, of course, smaller. So, I introduced soccer to American Samoa. We cleared the rocks out of field behind the school, constructed nets from old fishing material, taught the basic rules, and we were in business! All the boys needed was a pair of shorts and a ball!
Our first matches were against the Korean fishermen who were based in Pago Pago.
By the time I left, high schools were competing against each other. Athletes didn't HAVE to compete in football to get their exercise and have fun!
Incidentally, years later, American Samoa played Australia for a World Cup qualifier and lost 31-0, which, I believe, was the greatest deficit in the history of the qualifiers. One Aussie scored 13 goals!! But a couple of years back, American Samoa actually won a game or two, which made international news in light of previous efforts.
Again...great column. I hope the selection committee takes Al's contribution to Samoans in professional football and, indeed, his contribution to professional football in general, into consideration.