Life is a mystery; and the best part about the unknown is that the scars of the past will never determine where we would end up next.
Meet Suai’a Matagi of the Toa Samoa. He is living proof that change is possible having been able to turn his life around.
Suai’a was convicted at the age of 17 for drunken assault.
But that did not stop him from dreaming big, let alone achieving his dream.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Suai’a said he always wanted to be in the National Rugby League team ever since he was a six-year-old boy.
“Ever since I was six, this has always been my dream to play in the N.R.L and hopefully one day I will represent the Toa Samoa,” he said.
The 29-year-old is very happy that he has not only achieved his dream, but he gets to represent his country too.
He said being part of the Toa Samoa was a humbling experience and he always carried a sense of gratitude being here in his motherland.
Being here in Samoa, for Suai’a, empowers him to train hard and play well but above all it is a good reminder to always be grateful for what is in front of him.
“Seeing the locals around here, I have got to witness that some of them are doing really tough so that inspires us to go out on the field and give it our best and I have learnt to always be thankful and you should never take anything for granted or complain because someone out there is doing worse than you. Always be grateful to wake up every morning and always count your blessings,” he said.
Suai’a is from the villages of Elise-fou and from Vaipuna in Savai’i.
He shared with Samoa Observer the driving factor behind his success.
“My family inspires me to be a better man,” said Suai’a.
He says hardships in life tells you so many things especially those who will stick by you to help you face them.
Growing up, he thought that friends will always be there for him but life showed him that friends will only be there during the good times but it’s family that will be always there no matter what.
For Suai’a giving back to his family is what inspires him even when things get tough.
Through perseverance and determination, Suai’a eventually got to tick his wish list for making it into the N.R.L in 2013.
Regardless of his age at the time, nothing was able to stop him from achieving his goal in life and for that he is very humbled for this great opportunity that he is able to play for the Toa Samoa team.
“I only started pursuing this dream in N.R.L when I was only 19 before that I never played any rugby league and I had to learn the game. I started really late as well.
“I was only 25 when I got a call from the Toa Samoa for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup and it was one of the most humbling experiences and I am really honoured to get that opportunity and make that dream become a reality,” said the senior player.
“One of the obstacles I faced was that people were telling me I was not going to be able to pursue this dream because I was too old. Another one was my visa, there was some trouble which restricted me from travelling overseas and the N.R.L was based in Australia without that visa I wouldn’t have been able to travel,” he said.
Suai’a also has a message for the youths and the young generation of Samoa.
“You must set goals and go after it. There is a saying that goes if you aim at something you will always hit it. It is important to set goals and work hard at it. Surround yourself with the right people, the positive people that will help you along the way and hold you accountable.
“If I could achieve my dreams from where I have come from then you could do it too, you just have to believe in yourself.”