Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Me and My Samoan
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!!!"