Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tribal Tattoos Reflect Football Players Culture By Lauren Gandara As of Friday, March 30, 2012

Coach Tupuola

Several Pacific Islanders on the Cerritos College football team represent their culture by getting tribal tattoos to represent something significant in their lives. However, the difference between the significance of the tattoos is what sets them apart.

Defensive tackle Alex Tava is from the Tongan tribe has the symbol for warrior tattooed on his arm, which he has since he was 16 years old.

"That's how I felt inside. I felt like I should've gotten it because it represents me," he said.

Former Cerritos College defensive end and now assistant defensive line coach Darrell Tupuola is full Samoan. His mother is American Samoan and his father is Upolu Samoan.

He got his first tattoo as a senior at Long Beach Poly High School and his second one while attending Cerritos College when he received a football scholarship from Azusa Pacific University.

Tupuola explained the meanings of his tattoos.

"They have different meanings but together, all the meanings tell a story of my ancestors and my family."

While playing for the Falcons back in 2006, Tupuola recieved the Z-Man Award after posting 18 tackles with three tackles for losses.

Ma' ataua Brown, defensive end for the Falcons, is Samoan but unsure of the specific tribe that he comes from.

He has his last name tattooed on his right forearm with the tribal symbols for "fala" tattooed inside his name. According to Brown, a fala is a type of mat for sitting or lying down in the Samoan culture.

He said that the reason for getting the symbols tattooed in his arm was his cousin's idea, just to add something extra.

Cerritos College wide receiver Silver Vaifanua is also Samoan and is unsure of the specific tribe that he comes from. His tattoo is a half sleeve, going from the left side of his chest to his lower biceps.

His reason for getting the tattoo was just to get it, but he also added, "It's just to represent my culture and the artwork."

Vaifanua said the spears on his tattoo mean protection and the ropes on his tattoo ties everything together. He is unsure about the rest of the symbols tattooed on his arm.

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