November 19, 2006

PIGSKIN TRUMPS PIGMENT (via Jim in Chicago):

A Tongan War Dance Enlivens Football In Euless, Texas ( J. LYNN LUNSFORD, November 16, 2006, Wall Street Journal)

For as long as anybody can remember, the stereotypical Texas high-school football player has been the saddle-tough son of the West Texas prairie.

So imagine a recent evening when the Odessa Permian Panthers, whose historic dominance of Texas football inspired the book, movie and TV series "Friday Night Lights," looked across the field and saw the rival Trinity Trojans doing a Polynesian war dance.

At the sound of a tone blown over a large conch shell, 17-year-old senior defensive tackle Alex Kautai threw off his helmet, freeing a mane of curly black hair. He shouted several sentences in a foreign tongue and waved his arms as 93 visibly agitated teammates gathered behind him on the sidelines.

On cue, they dropped into a wide, crouching stance and began the ritual known as the haka. "Ka Mate! Ka Mate! Ka Ora!" (We're going to die! We're going to die! We're going to live!), they chanted in unison as the fans went wild. For the next 60 seconds, the players acted out an ancient battle in which a big hairy man saves the life of a Maori chieftain.

With each phrase, the players slapped their thighs, arms or chests. They stomped back and forth, symbolically thrusting and jabbing at the enemy. At the end of the dance, Mr. Kautai jumped in the air and landed on one foot, his right fist in the air and his tongue lolling out of his mouth as he sneered fiercely.

Few other high-school teams could pull off that routine without looking silly. But at Trinity, the war dance embraces the culture of a growing population of immigrants from the island kingdom of Tonga, in the southwest Pacific east of Fiji. An estimated 4,000 people of Tongan descent live in Trinity's hometown of Euless, a city of 52,900 whose boundaries include about 2,800 acres of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Tongan community leaders say that most of the Pacific Islanders were drawn to the area over the past 20 years by jobs at the airport, where many of them work as baggage handlers or service employees. For those with airline jobs, company flight privileges have made it easier for them to fly home regularly.

Most of the 24 players of Tongan descent on the Trinity football team weigh between 250 and 308 pounds and stand at least 6 feet tall. Besides that, they are quick, so the combination makes Trinity an intimidating force on any high-school field. The Tongan players helped transform Trinity into a Texas football powerhouse.

Let's see Tom Tancredo sell nativism to Texans with a winning football team.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 19, 2006 11:12 PM

Just wait until the team down the road starts importing Samoans. Then they'll be all for it.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 19, 2006 11:47 PM

Uh, yeah, we not smart, not care illegal immigration if team win football game. Only smart people from northeast know truth about Texas, also know word "illegal" meaning something else, wish I am that...

Posted by: darryl at November 19, 2006 11:53 PM

Tom Tancredo is not a nativist. Why are you in favor of promoting illegal conduct?

Posted by: GER at November 20, 2006 12:51 AM


Heck, Jackie Robinson even got Brooklyn to accept the coloreds.


Of course he is. Because unjust laws should be violated.

Posted by: oj at November 20, 2006 7:29 AM