This archived article was written by: Talon Bryan
Almost 5,000 miles to attend college away from home seems like a great distance, but for three baseball players from Samoa, it proved to be a wise move. Ieti Savelio plays the outfield for the Golden Eagle baseball team and likes to spend his free time cutting hair or anything that involves using his hands. Isaia Helg plays third base for USU Eastern. He has a great sense of humor and can always make the team laugh. Fred Thomas, the youngest of the three, grew up in Fiji, an island near Samoa.
Coming to the United States to play baseball, Savelio said, “So far I have really enjoyed all of the beautiful girls and all of the things to do here. I like being able to stay busy with the activities that the school has put on. I also enjoy the clothing style here, there are so many choices compared to back in Samoa. All of the people here are also very nice and I enjoy talking to everyone from all these different backgrounds.”
Savelio said, “the first place we stayed was in St. George and it was way too hot. I had a lot of trouble breathing because of the elevation change and suffered many nosebleeds.”
Helg spoke about what brought himself and his teammates to America. “I started playing on the Samoan national baseball team and we played in St. George during the summer. I really liked baseball here because the games are more competitive and we play much more. A regular season in Samoa is only eight games and then you’re done, so I also enjoy that. The schooling here is also a big part of why I stayed. It is hard to get this good of an education back home so this is a really great opportunity for me,”
Savelio says, “I really miss all of the beaches in Samoa. At home, I’m only 45 minutes from the beach anywhere I go so that is a weird thing not to have close. The weather in Samoa is also different; it is always perfectly sunny and not so dry. I do miss my family; it’s tough not to be able to see them all the time. I wish they were still only five minutes away. It’s a lot easier to get around Samoa too, in a car you’re only an hour from the other side of the island so travel is extremely easy.”
“My sarcasm has been the biggest change in other people, everyone in Samoa is really sarcastic and I didn’t know if it would be the same way here. The first few weeks I was pretty scared to joke with anyone. I didn’t know if they would take it serious and be mad or just joke around like back home. Once a few people started joking around I figured out that I can be sarcastic and no one would be angry. It helps me feel welcome when I can joke around with everyone and be myself,” Helg said.
Helg, Thomas and Savelio are excited about what USU Eastern has to offer them and the rest of their time here in the states. You will be able to see them at any baseball game in the upcoming season.