Romeo Semo Samoa My family came from the village of Atu’u in American Samoa. My dad was the Matai in my family, or high chief. His name was Suataumua Ropi Semo. He was one of the main people to really get cricket going here in the Rainier Valley. He was a well-known cricket player back home. I’ve heard stories about him in those days. He was a real disciplinarian too but he really cared about kids. I know for my dad it was the greatest thing in the world getting the kids involved in cricket, which in Samoa is like baseball is here. My generation grew up here not knowing the game but once we started to play, we loved it. It has become one of the main things that draws the Samoan community together. Everyone comes to cricket. We played at Genesee Park in the beginning, then we moved up to Asa Mercer junior high on Beacon Hill. My dad designed the field up there. It’s not too different from British Cricket except we wear the Samoan sarong called “lavalava.” We also used to have one guy playing the drum for the whole game. He sat right out in the middle of the field. Now we use a CD player and play traditional Samoan music out of great big speakers. Basically this just keeps everybody going, keeps the spirit alive. There is clapping and moving around. Nobody gets bored; players or spectators. My dad passed away in 1997. We played together for a few years. That is one of the great things about cricket. All ages can play together. I play with my oldest son now and there are not too many sports like that. I like it because I can really get involved with the kids, get to know them. There is some gang stuff going on here like so many other places. Those of us in charge have seen some of that and we put a stop to it right away; we pull kids off the field. Everyone who comes to cricket leaves their differences at home. Cricket cuts through that, it’s about family and village ties. I’ve seen many rival kids become buddies after cricket. Back in Samoa no one had to worry too much about the kids. The community was so small, if you didn’t know where your kids were at least you knew there is a relative down the street or even in the next village keeping an eye on them. If they got into something you knew there would be a phone call from family. Here the call will come from the police. This is America; you can’t really forget about your kids. We can’t afford to lose focus. Discipline is important; we try to teach our kids that in order to get respect they must earn respect. I am thankful that my parents taught me that lesson. Together with that is my faith in God. We are church going people. We do our best to keep the league together. I think cricket is so important and I’d hate for us to lose it. Every year the teams are made up randomly. We just start pulling people together. When the season comes around you know you’ll get a phone call. Cricket is starting up. Be there.