The Samoa Bowl 2023 officially commenced with an opening ceremony at the Su'igaula Park in Utulei, led by Chief of Staff Loa Tuimavave T. Laupola, who also serves as the Chairman of the Samoa Bowl committee.
The event celebrated culture and talent by uniting local volleyball and football teams, coaches, and families with teams from the Midwest, West Coast, and across the United States. The invocation was delivered by Reverend Mageo Patolo Mageo, setting a spiritual tone for the event.
Governor Lemanu P.S. Mauga extended a warm welcome, expressing, “I am delighted to welcome all participating teams, coaches, and players. This event is dedicated to cultivating talents and creating opportunities for our youth.”
Governor Lemanu emphasized the symbolic significance of the fale talimalo, stating, “Much like the careful construction of the fale talimalo with the sennit rope, our diverse backgrounds are intricately tied together by our shared Samoan roots.”
Addressing the youth, Governor Lemanu encouraged them to play hard but reminded them to refrain from actions that could cause harm to one another. The ceremony concluded with a benediction from Reverend Mageo, adding a spiritual blessing to the commencement of the Samoa Bowl.
The day's activities continued with an ‘Ava ceremony performed by the American Samoa Community College (ASCC), followed by a cultural day where teams engaged in various presentations of arts and crafts. Volunteers from Territorial Administration on Aging (TAOA) and National Park Service enriched the cultural experience with their contributions.
The day concluded with a dinner hosted by Governor Lemanu and Lieutenant Governor Talauega at Tradewinds Hotel in Tafuna, providing a moment of appreciation and reflection on the shared spirit of the Samoa Bowl. During the dinner, the Midwest volleyball team expressed their gratitude by presenting gift baskets to Governor Lemanu, Lt. Governor Talauega, and Chief of Staff and Chairman Loa.
Both the Midwest and local volleyball players showcased their talents by performing traditional Siva Samoa numbers, further enhancing the sense of camaraderie and cultural exchange.