Like most people, I assumed that the majority of men playing football in the NFL were African-American. WRONG!!!!
Did you know that 240,000 Samoans/Tongans live in America and that they are 28 times more likely to play football in the NFL than any other ethnic group? I know…right???!!! Did you also know that Utah is the center of the Polynesian Football Pipeline? Fascinating…isn’t it? I know I mostly associated Utah with a spa I like to visit, Mormons and Warren Jessup.
In the documentary IN FOOTBALL WE TRUST, the filmmakers shadow the lives of four young NFL hopefuls from the Utah pipeline.
*Fihi Kalifusi – Didn’t like school, but knew he “had to do it in order to play football…”
*Harvey Langi – Was fortunate enough to be in the starting lineup of his team until he fumbled five times in one game, which set him back to third string. Langi comes from an extremely large family of nine (six of which are boys. His Mom proudly declared “We don’t have money, but we have heart”. So much so, she struck a deal with the school principal to clean up after the school in order for the whole family to attend and support at the games for free.
* Vita and Leva Bloomfield – Vita (the oldest) likened football to a “good drug” and the “only time he could hit someone and not get arrested”. Most of their family members are in and out of prison (one brother is serving life), deported or departed.
We are enlightened to the fact that many of these families look at football not as a way out, but as a way up into a different financial bracket.
These four young men showed much promise and a few of them were draft picks. However, IN FOOTBALL WE TRUST, sometimes no matter how great the desire is to be better than those before you and/or to break the family’s karma…the environment you dwell in makes it difficult to propel forward without insurmountable obstacles. Sometimes their only choice boils down to gangs or football. Both are violent and both have a sense of comraderie and community.
The whole process of how a player is sought out for the draft is put on display in this film. From the moment they pop up a school’s radar to the moment when they boys have to decide which school would be the best choice for career, finances, family star making opportunity. We get to see how a coach will say just about anything to get a “star player” on their time by any means necessary and what happens when one is not even on the draft radar.
In the end, only two of these young men play professionally, one became a coach and one continued his education. Which one did what? You’ll have to check on IN FOOTBALL WE TRUST at the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 17th to find out. Log onto www.lafilmfest.org for tickets and more information.