Wednesday, December 22, 2010

South Pacific Sports

John Marine | 12/22/2010 04:59:00 PM | | |
The South Pacific enjoys a great deal of sporting events. There are even athletes hailing from various South Pacific nations. Both of these will be the highlights of this blog post regarding South Pacific sports. There are even sporting events made specifically for the South Pacific. The biggest of which is the South Pacific Games. These are a variety of sporting events such as football (soccer to us Americans), rugby football, various Olympic events, and other sports contested by South Pacific nations and played in South Pacific nations. I hope to shed some light on sports in the South Pacific to enhance my blog label on Pacific and Oceania.

--- South Pacific Natives and Descendants in Sports ---
I will name only a few athletes in this section. This consists of athletes from South Pacific nations or of some sort of South Pacific descent.

A Few Notables Pacific Islanders or of Pacific Islander Descent.

Most of the Pacific Islanders I know of are mostly gridiron football players and wrestlers.

Pacific Islanders (and of Pacific Island Descent) in Gridiron Football.

Only one football player immediately comes to mind to me:

Troy Polamalu
^ from: - Troy Polamalu is an absolute beast on the football field.

Troy Polamalu immediately comes to mind for me. Troy Polamalu was born in California, but he is of Samoan descent. He played his football at USCal (University of Southern California) before becoming a beastly Safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL. I got serious respect for him as he is just smashmouth all the time on the football field. Weirdly enough, he also has insured his flowing hair for $1M USD. You may have even seen a Head and Shoulders commercial where his hair seemed to get bigger and bigger in some of the later portions of the commercial. He is an absolute beast. Troy Polamalu is a long-haired beast that will tackle the crap out of almost anybody on the other team. Polamalu is one of many different football players of any Pacific Islander descent.

Various colleges have some Pacific Islander players. Some of the most you will find play at the University of Hawaii/Hawai'i at Manoa. You will find some native Hawaiians as well as some who come all the way from American Samoa to play Warriors' football at the University of Hawaii. Aloha Stadium even plays host to the Hawaii Bowl in college football as well as the NFL Pro Bowl.

Pacific Islanders (or of Pacific Island Descent) in Wrestling.

Here are some wrestlers of South Pacific descent...

Samoa Joe
^ from: - TNA Wrestler Samoa Joe.

Samoa Joe is one of the best wrestlers in TNA (Total Non-Stop Action) Wrestling. Someone with his size and frame that is capable of moving so quickly and attacking so precisely is just incredible. He debuted in TNA in 2005 and has been a formidable wrestler ever since joining. If anything, Samoa Joe is a cruiserweight in a heavyweight's body. Like Polamalu, he was also born in California and of Samoan descent. His nicknames include "The Nation of Violence" and the "Samoan Submission Machine." His finishing maneuver is the devastating Muscle Buster.

The Rock
^ from: - Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson celebrates his Samoan heritage from his Samoan mother.

The Rock was definitely one of the very best in his wrestling days. No one brought intensity and power quite like The Rock during the WWE's Attitude Era. The Rock is half African-Canadian from his father and Samoan (this part according to from his mother. I read that The Rock has stronger ties to his Samoan heritage being the descendant of a tribal chief. He also provides the narration for "Polynesian Power: Islanders in Pro Football," a movie about two Samoans playing American football at the University of Hawaii/Hawai'i. Since getting away from wrestling, he has been huge in Hollywood. The latest movie featuring The Rock is the action movie "Faster," and he will be in an upcoming movie called "Fast Five," the fifth installment of "The Fast and the Furious" movie series.

There are many other Pacific Islanders (and of any Pacific Islander descent) in wrestling both past and present. Here are some of the many: Afa and Sika (The Wild Samoans), Rikishi, Umaga, the Usos, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, and Prince Iaukea among many others. One of the most recent wrestlers of any South Pacific descent is the WWE's Tamina, the daughter of Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka.

--- South Pacific Sports: Rugby ---
Perhaps the most popular sport among the Pacific Island nations is rugby football (whether Sevens or Rugby Union). In fact, I am usually quite fond of Tri-Nations Rugby, featuring the Australia Wallabies vs. New Zealand All-Blacks rivalry. When it comes to rugby from any South Pacific nation, two of the powerhouses of rugby are in New Zealand and in Fiji. These two nations have hard-hitting rugby teams.

One of the most powerful and spiritual routines is when the New Zealand All Blacks perform their haka routine. If you have no idea what a haka is like, here is a demonstration of a haka before the All Blacks begin a rugby test:

I had actually planned on doing a blog entry on rugby football, but it's never been completed. Learn more about some of Oceania and the South Pacific's rubgy clubs by checking out these links:

* Australia Wallabies' rubgy
* New Zealand All Blacks' rugby
* Fiji rugby
* Tonga rugby

--- South Pacific Sports: Australian Rules Football ---
The Republic of Nauru is best known for their Australian Rules Football team. According to a story I saw on YouTube from Al Jazeera TV English, the Republic of Nauru had an AFL team that was discontinued for two years because of violence on and off the pitch. Fans even went from the stands to attack opposing teams in these riots. Players had to be approved to play based on clean records. This is to promote team unity for Naurans.

Nauru's national team sports blue uniforms with a gold diagonal stripe and a 12-pointed star. These uniforms are essentially based on Nauru's flag, and their AFL team is known as the Chiefs. Learn more about Nauru's Australian Football Association (NAFA) by visiting the Nauru Australian Football Association page.

--- South Pacific Sports: All Other Sports ---
I'll reserve this space for many other Pacific Islanders in sports and in sports that don't have their own section.

(added: January 16, 2011) I can't believe it... I absolutely FORGOT to mention this guy:

Vijay Sing
People... meet golfer Vijay Singh. Vijay was born in Lautoka, Fiji. Vijay is DEFINITELY a big deal in golf. The Big Fijian (he's 6'2" - two inches taller than me) has won a handful of golf events and tournaments.

Read the rest of this blog post (if you are not reading the full blog post) to see more on South Pacific sports.

--- South Pacific Sporting Events ---
Here is a look at some of the many different sporting events and leagues in the South Pacific.

Pacific Games.

Perhaps the largest sporting occasion in the South Pacific is the Pacific Games (formerly known as the South Pacific Games). Think of this as the Olympics of the South Pacific, also considering this has been held every four years since 1971. Many different sporting events are contested in these games. Among others, there are sports like basketball, rugby, boxing, track and field, and swimming. According to Wikipedia, the 2011 Pacific Games requires 12 sports. Those sports are as follows:

(taken from Wikipedia)
* Athletics
* Basketball
* Beach Volleyball
* Canoe/Kayak
* Football (as in Soccer)
* Golf
* Swimming
* Table Tennis
* Tennis
* Rugby!
* Volleyball
* Weightlifting

! = it is unsure as to what kind of rugby football is required for the Pacific Games.

The 2011 Pacific Games will be held in Noumea, New Caledonia. You can learn more about the 2011 Pacific Games by visiting XIV Pacific Games in New Caledonia 2011 (French) or XIV Pacific Games in New Caledonia 2011 (English).

Pacific Mini Games.

The Pacific Mini Games allows smaller Pacific Island nations to compete among one another. The games and sports here have as much intensity and importance as the Olympic games. From what I've heard, I heard that Kiribati puts out some great amateur boxing talent. Palau played host to the final games when it was known as the South Pacific Mini Games in 2005. The most recent iteration of the Pacific Mini Games was held on the Cook Islands in 2009 on Rarotonga. The next iteration of the Pacific Mini Games will take place on the French overseas collectivity of Wallis and Futuna in 2013.

For a look at what the Pacific Mini Games has to offer, take a look at this video of the 2009 Pacific Mini Games:

Cook Islands Games.

The Cook Islands games is an atheltic competition involving some of the finest athletes from the Cook Islands. They consist of a variety of different sports including handball, rugby sevens, sailing, squash, football (as in what us Americans call soccer), and more. It is the finest showcase of sports talent in the Cook Islands.

You can learn more about the Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee by visiting the CISNOC home page on Word has it that the Cook Islands is planning on opening a new facility to house the CISNOC committee. Considering some of the Cook Islands blog hits I get, I do hope sports in the Cook Islands and grow and flourish.

If I find any more material to feature in this blog post, I will edit this blog post as many times as need be.

--- To Any South Pacific Athletes Who Might Be Reading This... ---
I salute all of you Pacific Islanders in sport with this blog entry here. Great job of proudly representing your nation and your people. Keep playing hard in your sport! And, uh... thanks for reading my blog! :)

Here are a few links you can visit to learn more about sports in the South Pacific as well as certain athletes of Pacific Islander descent:

* Oceania Sport
* Pacific Islands Athletic Alliance - Pacific Islander nonprofit for high school athletics in Hawaii and American Samoa
* Talented players from tiny American Samoa are changing the face of Football
* Samoan Athletes

More links may be added in the future.

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