The reason why the Fiji 7s boys are winners
Today the Fiji Men's Rugby 7s team won the HSBC Canada 7s in Vancouver with a thrilling Cup Final against their Kenyan brothers. That in itself is exciting, but not really a surprise - Rugby 7s is Fiji's game.
There were two remarkable things I noticed today watching the game.
The first was Fiji 7s Captain, Jerry Tuwai, aggressively chasing down his Kenyan opponent William Ambaka and then hugging him immediately afterwards. As if to say Aussie style "maaaate, sorry about that".
And the second was the way in which both teams embraced afterwards.
The game today was an incredible showcase (a perfect example) of the Fijian spirit. Not just their sporting prowess, because we all know dem Fijian boys got da skills! But the spirit in which they conduct themselves as human beings.
I've experienced it myself many times.
I wrote a blog post about one of those times that the exceptional Fijian spirit helped my family, entitled "Finding faith in Fiji".
Fiji is different, and I wonder when the rest of the world will catch on. Not just in Rugby 7s, but in Human Spirit.
Today's game had me in tears at the end, as I watched the Fijian supporters going wild, and again when Jerry was interviewed.
It's been my belief since the first time we stepped foot on Fijian soil in 2009 that Fiji and it's people are different.
In Fiji, families will go through adversity daily (the depth and continuity of which that us Aussies, New Zealanders, and Americans will not understand) but they still find the strength to smile big Bula smiles, and have a laugh with each other.
They will have no money left, but share their last long-loaf with a fellow villager who has nothing to eat. They will look after each others children as if they are their own. Fijians who are still without homes after devastating Cyclone Winston smile and welcome visitors with open arms. Big, broad-shouldered men who spend hours working their farms, who are clearly tough and strong, will cry real tears when they think of the blessings they have.
Fijians celebrate life.
One look at the grandstands at any 7s game will show you the joy that their supporters encapsulate. You see this joy in the crowd of most sporting events in Fiji, with at least one Fijian dancing in the crowd to huge roars of laughter and support.
Fijians spread happiness.
They appreciate the good and bad times, knowing that their family and friends have their back.
Fijians are humble.
And perhaps that is exactly what the rest of World needs to catch on to. Humility, and the value of recognising your blessings. Both of which Fiji seems to have nailed.
The Fijians (both in Rugby 7s and in life!) thank God each time they win, or lose. They appreciate both good and bad times because they know they are blessed to be alive to experience both.
In rugby, you will see them pointing up to the Heavens after scoring a try.
"First of all I’d like to thank God for he has been good to us,” said Fijian captain Jerry Tuwai in an interview immediately post match today.
They are eternally grateful for the good, and okay about the bad. They know their seasons, and how to ride them.
This is a big call but I'm going to make it - is this what all the other countries National 7s teams lack?
For all their state-of-the-art equipment and fancy training schedules and facilities, most seem too wrapped up in their hairstyles or their Instagram accounts. Yes, I may be talking to you Australia.
Switching out of Rugby talk but in a similar vein - are we, in every day life, too wrapped up in our facebook and the latest Converse sneakers? Have we all missed the true meaning of life?
I think our South Pacific neighbours have nailed it.
Love your neighbour.
God is good. Always.
Play like you're playing for God, not for money - in life and in sport.
Share each other's burdens.
Appreciate the small things.
Laugh at ourselves.
Don't be too serious.
This list could go on and on.
To a Fijian reading this, it probably seems like nothing new as they grow up with this "Bula" spirit. But to the outside world - your remarkable Human Spirit and strength of character is perhaps the characteristic the rest of us are missing.
I've written many times before about the kindness of the Fijian people, their generosity and genuine care for visitors to their country. Recently, one of my Instagram posts had a beautiful comment by a Fijian account called Lelivuibau:
"Na loloma cecere duadua e rawa ni solia e dua na tamata vei ira na wekana sai koya me solia na nona bula ena vukudra"
- Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.
Vinaka Lelivuiba, I think you've nailed the spirit of Fiji in one sentence.
This afternoon, Kenya Rugby 24/7 has pushed out a social media post which I could have just simply shared on my Instagram account and be done with it, but you know, I'm a writer so I had around eight hundred words buzzing in my head.
Kenya Rugby 24/7 has managed to say in less than fifty words what my whole post is about.. Wananavu Fiji, wananavu.
Lolomas Viti. My heart is yours.
Until next time XX
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Much love, SJ x