A few weeks back, I was watching a #Witness documentary on Al-Jazeera about the rugby-playing women of Samoa

On YouTube….I believe on the Al-Jazeera English channel

And something struck me, as I kept on watching, that I want us to talk about.

 

There, in the documentary, is this team of women that are so competitive and fit

Flexing their muscles in all directions as they work together towards a common goal of qualifying for the upcoming Olympics, at the time.

There was this one player that stood out, in my view…. Tafale!!!

Photo credit: https://www.aljazeera.com/program/witness/2016/12/11/samoas-rugby-super-women

 

Tafale is the most underprivileged of all these girls

She is a young mother

Who has to make a life for herself and her child

In the evening, she must show up at the training ground and put in the work, if she is to get herself on the team that is going to the Olympics.

Mark you, to do this, she has to travel such a long distance leaving behind her child as she trains hard.

Photo credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samoa_women%27s_national_rugby_union_team

 

For the entire time that she has spent with her coaches and instructors, something has been noticed…

Tafale is too “quiet”!

How?

 

When one of her coaches speaks with her, she doesn’t utter a single word;

Not even her own team-mates!

Wanna know why?

Photo credit: https://www.aljazeera.com/program/witness/2016/12/11/samoas-rugby-super-women

 

She says in her culture, which is the ….culture,

“You don’t talk back at your superiors or elders”.

If you do so, then you are disrespectful…to both the person or people you have done that to and your culture, as well.

 

So now, I ask myself….

What if this person that is speaking with her, is actually misleading her?

Is she simply going to go through with doing whatever has been instructed of her to do?

Is she going to rebel and not do any of that stuff, actually?

What if any of her team mates is in actual danger…say of a neck tackle that is heading her way? Does she tell or not?

 

For somebody that played their fair share of sports,

I find this very disturbing

Having to know that you literally have your own back on the field and once you make a mistake, none of them should even think of saying a word.

 

So many things do go wrong, in the world of games and sports

Which require that people speak up openly and fearlessly

As well decide if they are leading from the front or the back

Because that could be the only way that we get to save somebody’s life or career or title ambitions or whatever.

 

Very few people in the world of games and sports actually know a bit of sign language

Save for a few actions of their bodies they have made up as a team to mean something

But isn’t that all washed away, when somebody new joins the team?

Do they get to be left out, without anybody saying something?

 

I hope you are not too respectful to speak up and out

Because I wouldn’t be easily settled knowing that I have you, in my corner

I would be better off knowing you are differently abled and will use sign language to communicate with me, yeah?

 

Speak up, speak out!!!