Burbank, sophomore/rugby Football Player
Story appeared in Sports section, Page C2
"It's more or less an inspiring quotation. It's like a tool I use (that) morally instigates myself," said Finau, who explained that the metaphor is derived from the strength of the coconut tree in the face of typhoons in Tonga.
"The coconut tree will still be standing," Finau said. "The tree is able to withstand the hurricanes we have in the islands."
Although Finau uses the metaphor on a personal level, the single mother of five has passed along the meaning to her children.
"I really instill in my children (that) you're able to endure whatever problems, whatever bad influences of the environment," she said.
Thus far, Viliami Finau has lived up to his mother's metaphor.
Playing the scrum-half - a position coach Eugene Baker described as the rugby equivalent to an option quarterback - Finau has been key.
"He really is the cornerstone of setting up our offense," said Baker. "We have some talented kids, but it wouldn't work without Viliami pulling the trigger."
But Finau's talents aren't limited to the rugby field. He also plays the baritone for Oak Park Methodist Church and is a linebacker for the Burbank Titans.
Finau said he's interested in attending the University of Oregon to study mechanics, but regardless of where he ends up, Finau said he knows exactly where to direct the credit for his success.
"The place I'm at - I wouldn't be there if it wasn't for my mom," Finau said.
- Joshua Warn