Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Laosamoa (Sunshine) Misa-Uli Lingerie Football League

University of Houston (Basketball/Volleyball)
Lingerie Football League
Honolulu, HI

“My parents taught me Fa’a Samoa (the Samoan way). My values were in this order: God, family, education, sports, etc. Respect is a big value.”

Before she became known as the “Samoan Beast,” Laosamoa (Sunshine) Misa-Uli was known on the basketball and volleyball courts of the University of Houston as a standout athlete. The Honolulu, HI native prepped at Farrington HS in Hawaii and was a dual sport athlete, as she was also in college. As the youngest of eight children born to Ova and Tapuni Misa-Uli, sports are what have gotten her to where she is today. Currently, the 5’10” 175 pound Misa-Uli competes at the tight end and linebacker positions for the Las Vegas Sin—a team in the newly formed Lingerie Football League (LFL). She also gave birth to her son Tapuni Misa-Uli in June 2009 and juggles between work, being a full-time athlete and a mother.

Q: How did you get introduced to the Lingerie Football League (LFL)? I got recruited from Houston, Texas by one of the old coaches that was previously on staff, and he told me I should try out, so I did … and the rest was history.
Q: How rigorous is your schedule? It’s hectic! I juggle my two-year old son along with my two nephews, who are 7 and 8. On the daily, I get up at 7am to get my nephews ready for school, make the kids breakfast, get them on the bus by 8:30, get ready for work, together by 10:45, get off by 6:45 to rush home and make dinner, then head to gym to workout.
Q: How do you balance work and being a mother? I just try my best to multitask. It’s exhausting but do-able.
Q: Do most people know you are Polynesian? A lot of people think I’m mixed (black and another ethnicity), but my taulima (tribal arm band around my bicep) has helped others figure out that I am Samoan, or at least Polynesian.

Q: Do people ever ask about your Polynesian culture? All the time! It’s great getting to educate others about my roots.
Q: Did you grow up in a cultured home? Yes, my parents taught me “Fa’a Samoa” (the Samoan way). My values were in this order: God, family, education, sports, etc. Respect is a big value.
Q: How did this influence your involvement with athletics? It made me appreciate it more. I wasn’t allowed to play sports unless all my other values came first (Church, chores, school. etc.).
Q: What year did you graduate and what major? I have 30 hours left to graduate at the University of Houston. My senior year, I took the year off to focus on my pregnancy and juggling three jobs. My major is sociology and a health minor.
Q: How important is getting a degree to you? It is very important! That’s why I plan on going back to finish up my last year in the fall.

Q: Did growing up Polynesian help you in the classroom? On the court? Yes, I learned to value education and respect my teachers. I also learned to love the game (sports) and respect my coaches. It helped me appreciate my education along with the love of the game (sports).
Q: What your purpose in wanting to go to college? I wanted to better myself and help my family out in the long run. I know how important a degree is to get a job nowadays. My family was less fortunate and couldn’t afford to send me to college. I worked really hard in academics and athletics to earn a full-ride scholarship to the University of Houston. I lettered in both basketball and volleyball.
Q: Was everything worth getting your degree? I still have to go back and get it next fall, but I know it will be worth it. Being able to walk across that stage with that degree in my hand will definitely be one of my biggest accomplishments.
Q: Do you think Polynesians are underrepresented in NCAA athletics? Yes, because there’s a lot of Polynesians out there with athletic ability to perform, but don’t really use their athleticism to their advantage. Sometimes it’s because the lack of resources and not being able to go to college due to family values or other reasons.

Q: According to the 2010 NCAA Student Ethnicity Report, there are 0.2% Polynesian athletes competing, placing the total number a little above 1,000. How do you feel about that? I think it’s sad because there are so many Polynesian athletes out there, they just don’t have the right resources to get them to college.

Q: Why do you think we don’t have as many? I think a lot of Polynesian families don’t consider participating in sports or extracurricular activities are as important values compared to Church, chores, school, and work.
Q: What was the hardest obstacle you had to overcome to be successful today? It would have to be giving up my senior year (athletics) to focus on having my son.
Q: What piece of advice would you give to potential collegiate and current athletes? Always keep God first! Focus on athletes and academics. Don’t let any extra curricular activities take away your focus. Everything else should fall in place, just as long as you have your priorities and values in order.

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