Football is one of the biggest sports in America today, it’s also very popular among the Polynesian community. If you watch football at all, you know that there are quite a lot of successful Polynesian athletes. This documentary, In Football We Trust, we see just how important football, family and beliefs are in the Polynesian community.
In this this documentary directed by first time filmmakers Tony Vainuku and Erika Cohn, we are taken into the lives of four highly-talented high school Polynesian-American football players, Harvey Langi, brothers Leva and Vita Bloomfield and Fihi Kaufusi, as well as their families. Some of these young men are among the top rated football players in the country. What this documentary does is show that their are a lot of pressures that come with being talented or being a part of a very talented family. We see these young men going through the pressures of being able to live up to expectations from college recruits, NFL recruits, friends and families. These high school football players all hope that they can make it to the NFL one day to make their families proud and help provide for them. Each of these athletes find football as a way of making something of themselves and all have their own reasons to be successful in the NFL.
Harvey Langi was the starting running back for Utah’s best high school football team, whom created a lot of buzz in the football community. Being the eldest of nine, he is the first of his family to go through something like this with such a huge scale and in the spotlight, Harvey needs to figure out which college he wants to choose as he has scholarships from every top Division school in the nation. With being under the spotlight, Harvey’s every move is being watched which makes some problems off the field arise and has some schools second guessing their scholarship offers.
Leva and Vita Bloomfield’s stories are very interesting ones. The two talented brothers play for Hunter High School in Utah. The Bloomfield name is known throughout Utah for both positive and negative reasons. The Bloomfield’s were known as a talented football family but they were also known for starting a big gang in Utah. These two brothers struggle to bring back the positive side to their name of their family legacy as they run into some very serious off the field problems. Leva Bloomfield, made headline news when he was arrested and expelled after bringing a gun to school, which further resulted in his brother Vita being suspended. Now Leva faces some serious legal consequences and it puts his future in jeopardy.
Fihi Kaufusi was a two-way lineman for Highland High, whose life revolved around balancing out football and religion. Fihi Kaufusi also deals with a knee injury that has Division 1 schools second guessing his potential. Fihi wants to succeed in football because he wants to help his family out financially. He lives in a crowded apartment two-bedroom apartement with his aunt and eight other children. When it’s time to make a decision whether to put football or religion first, Fihi has to make a very tough decision which will not only affect him, but his family as well.
This documentary also features input from very popular and successful Polynesian-American NFL players such as eight-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champ Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers, five-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champ Haloti Ngata of the Baltimore Ravens, starting defensive tackle Star Lotulelei of the Carolina Panthers, and two-time Pro Bowler Vai Sikahema who also became the first Tongan to play in the NFL. This added even more authenticity to the film.
As an avid football fan, I had a great appreciation for this film and even as person that loves sincere films, I really, really loved this documentary. Tony Vainuku and Erika Cohn did a great job in displaying the good side and bad side of these athletes’ lives. Their very real struggles were not hidden and the importance of family in the Polynesian community was greatly displayed.