"4. Mr. Gibson and aides have repainted the Baptist church where they attend.
"5. Mr. Gibson has convinced many he can produce a winner."
Quick. Which is the best college Rugby team in the U.S.? UCLA? No. USC? No. Occidental? No. The Church College of Hawaii? Keerect. Located on the beach at Laie, Oahu, CCH is a Mormon school whose student body of 1,200 is 80% Polynesian. The Rugby team, which is made up of these Tongans, Samoans, Fijians and Maoris, went to Los Angeles earlier this year and, although outweighed 30 pounds a man, beat Occidental 11-6, UCLA 17-8 and Loyola 33-3, and was proclaimed No. 1 by the Los Angeles Rugby Union.
CCH's top scorer is Joe Vakalala, a Fijian who works as a spear dancer at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie. Vakalala also kicks 50-yard field goals, runs the 440 in 51 seconds and tosses the javelin 192 feet. The biggest man on the squad is 240-pound John Philip, a Tongan, a Cultural Center dancer and for the past three years state heavyweight wrestling champ.
According to CCH Athletic Director John C. Lowell, before a Rugby league was founded in Hawaii five years ago, "A game between our students usually ended up in a brawl because everyone would rather die than admit the Tongans were tougher. I've never seen such ferocity! Tongans love contact and this jolts the other teams, who can't imagine anyone can be that fierce."
Lowell says his hardest job was getting the team to follow his modern conditioning program, which means running six miles a day in addition to practice. The daily 90-minute practice consists of a four-mile run, 50 full squats with 120-pound barbells, running up and down 18 bleacher steps 50 times and a scrimmage.
Says Lowell: "The Polynesians had in mind that any big Caucasian was soft and sloppy, and it surprised them to see the big, hard fellows on the mainland. They realized they'd take a lot of pushing around in the first half, but if we kept them running we'd take them in the second half, which is what happened."