Quotes about the Polynesian culture’s influence on the Warriors

MT Note: “Hawaii head coach June Jones speculated Monday that no Georgia player has ever met a person of Polynesian descent, and he probably would be right if not for cornerback Thomas Flowers.”

About how he had several Samoan friends since his father lives in Seattle, Georbia CB Thomas Flowers said:
“They can cook good, I know that. It’s really good food, seriously.” (MT)

Beyond the Samoan food, Flowers said that he didn’t know much about Polynesian culture:
“I’m clueless, really.” (MT)

About his players’ pride in representing Hawaii, JJ said:
“There is a lot of pride in who we are, and our kids play at a little higher level because of that. When we play (mainland) schools, it’s almost like the kids have something to prove.” (MT)

MT Note: “When Jones took over the program, there were 19 native Hawaiians on the roster. The team was made up mostly of mainlanders who weren’t quite good enough for major college football but liked the idea of living in the islands.”

About how Hawaii high school players weren’t staying home to play for UH when he took over at UH, JJ said:
“Every good player in Hawaii left and went to college on the mainland.” (MT)

MT Note: “The former Atlanta Falcons head coach set out to change that, and he has. When the season began, Hawaii had 76 natives on its roster, and the team has fully embraced the spirit of ohana, the Polynesian belief in extended family.”

About how their mainland players are accepted into their Warrior family, JJ said:
“When we get kids from California or Texas, when they come, we have a real melting pot and they are taken in and accepted, and this becomes their family. That’s basically how this culture works. The Polynesian culture is really family-oriented.”‘ (MT)

MT Note: “One of the culture’s unique traits is the custom of informal adoption known as hanai. It’s one of the highest honors in the culture for a family to give one of its children to another family, sometimes related and sometimes not, to raise, Jones said. The Warriors recruited Hercules and Samson Satele, one from Hawaii and one from California, without realizing they were actually brothers, Jones said.”

Happy to be part of their Polynesian culture, JJ said:
“It’s just a unique, special culture that I am really blessed to be a part of.” (MT)

About how their team represents the state of Hawaii, JJ said:
“This isn’t really the University of Hawaii’s team. This is the state’s team. It’s basically the cab drives the maids, the working guys, firemen, policemen (who come to the game).” (MT)

MT Note: “The Warriors’ cultural leanings became national news earlier this year when they drew criticism for their pregame haka dance. The dance, which has Polynesian roots, includes a throat-slashing gesture and resulted in a 15-yard penalty against the Warriors when they played Louisiana Tech on Sept. 8. Hawaii has since scrapped the haka and now does a dance made up by three of its players, which is called the ha’a. The ha’a is very similar to the haka but leaves out the throat-slashing.”

About how they watched a short video of the ha’a and got a brief lesson on the Polynesian culture on Friday, senior WR Sean Bailey said:
“Just as the name implies, they are Warriors. The Polynesian culture from what I understand, that’s how they’re raised. It does make them tough. You can definitely tell they have a fire underneath them.” (MT)

About how he was impressed with the Hawaii players that he worked with at the Hula Bowl earlier this year, Georgia coach Mark Richt said:
“They don’t want anybody to push them around,. They are tough-minded people. They are not going to take any crud, you know, that kind of attitude.” (MT)

Not thinking too highly of the ha’a, LB Marcus Washington said:
“At the end of the day, (the dance is) just for show. They are going to come out and do their dance and try to get fired up, but at the end of the day, it’s all about playing football, regardless of who can dance better.” (MT)

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