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January 19, 2010

Me and My Samoan

Image: Flickr/Parker Anderson

Image: Flickr/Parker Anderson

So Sunday night, Brandon and I watched 60 Minutes. His idea, not mine. They ran a story on the improbable number of Samoans in the NFL. There are something like 28 of them currently playing the highest level of football from a town of about 65,000 total people. According to the story, if a boy is Samoan born, he is 56 times more likely to end up in the NFL than any other boy from any other ethnic group.

These kids play ball in donated helmets beat to hell on rock strewn fields. They have no state of the art weight room, no fancy locker room, and no locally sponsored scoreboard. But they have something that many of our kids of privilege stateside don’t. Adversity.

These kids aren’t handed anything. They work hard for their families before ever hitting the football field and they don’t take anything for granted. They showed one boy in particular clearing a field with a machete before grabbing his books and heading to class.

True, the people of this heritage tend to be on the bigger side physically, but that doesn’t do justice to the size of their hearts and their will. I was struck by how soft we allow our kids to be. We try to shield them from difficulty as if that does them any favors. We bend over backwards so that they have every single thing they “need” to succeed when in reality, all they need is the chance to struggle.

After the show ended, Brandon’s eyes were wide. I turned to him and asked him what he thought about those boys and how hard they had to work for the sport they loved. He nodded his head and said with absolute wonder, “Wow. Did you see that dude’s machete? That was awesome!!!”

3 thoughts on “Me and My Samoan

  1. I get remarks and looks ALL the time due to the fact I am teaching our 2 year old to pick up after herself, and little things like that. She “helps” us with the basement project we have going, she helps feed our pets…My childhood was better than many, but we had to put our time in with chores, etc. There are things I shelter my daughter from, like the ugliness of things that happen in society, but hard work we do not. Thanks for another great post Jenny!

  2. Amen! One of my favorite quotes is, “If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.”

    It’s amazing to me to see how many parents think that sheltering their children gets them ahead in life…when in reality it is a form of abuse. Giving them a false sense of reality and no skills to face what life throws at them.

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