Kickball introduced to the territory for health & fun
There were just over 30 youngsters last Saturday that attended the first ever National Federation of American Samoa Kickball (ASK) kickball clinic at the Lions Park. The Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs (DYWA) in an effort to combat obesity and other life threatening non-communicable diseases in the territory, the DYWA has partnered with the Department of Health, the LBJ Hospital and the Department of Parks and Recreation to tackle one of the major factors causing this epidemic, which is the low rate of physical activity in American Samoa.
With the help of the One World Futbol Project, whose mission is to make a meaningful impact on youth around the world, America Samoa and Samoa have been given a meaningful lifesaving tool to help fight the crisis.
Kickball is a playground game and league game similar to baseball invented in the United States in the first half of the 20th century. It is similar to baseball where players kick the ball instead of using bats, making it more accessible to children. ASK is the territory’s governing body of kickball. According to ASG’s sports commissioner Ethan Lake, there were 5,580 balls donated by One World Futbol Project for American Samoa and Samoa through the DYWA.
The One World Fubol Project balls are nearly indestructible balls that never need a pump and never go flat, even when punctured multiple times. The One World Futbol Project mission is to make a meaningful impact on youth around the world by collaborating with sponsors, organizations and individuals; they deliver balls to disadvantaged communities where play and sport are used to foster social change.
Lake said that when the DYWA Youth Organization were at the Pacific Youth and Sports Conference back in December in New Caledonia one of the programs that was introduced was the opportunity to get donated soccer balls from the One World Futbol Project. “I took the opportunity then and started researching as they gave the information and applied to see if we could get some balls donated here to the island for our sports activities,” said Lake. “To justify for us receiving the balls, I actually justified it for us through our obesity epidemic and said that we really need to create activity here for the population. We have a lot of sports programs, but not a lot of sports equipment and a lot of the kids are being left out of the majority of the programs,” he said.
He went on to say that we do not have enough of a population to take on the over 5,000 balls donated so some of the balls were donated to Samoa, with each Samoa getting half of the balls. “The idea is to get them out to the schools and different sports programs as well. After researching on how we can best use the balls to get everyone active, that is when kickball came to mind. This is a very fun sport that a lot of the older ones played when they were younger, but no one is playing it now, with most of the kids not having any idea of how to play it,” he explained. (In the states, kickball is usually played with a big red bouncy ball that can be thrown at the players without harming them. With the durability and hardness of this Futbol that will be used for kickball by ASK, the players are tagged out like in baseball instead of having the ball thrown at them).
“I really believe that this will be a fun game for everyone to get involved with because anyone can play the game. These balls are not just for kickball. Anyone out there who thinks they can use these balls for whatever purpose that creates activity and exercise, please contact us. We want these balls to help people get more active by having fun with them,” he said.
There are plans in the works of having different leagues such as family leagues, under 19 leagues, women’s league, under 10 summer league, government league, village league and over 60 league. To find out more about the leagues or how to obtain some of these balls, you can stop by the DYWA office or call them at 633-2835 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.