Rugby Airman possible Olympian
By Senior Airman Rachelle Elsea, 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 23, 2012
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Senior Airman Marcus Satavu, 325th Air Control Squadron pilot simulator, was born in Oregon and raised in northern California, where as a child, his father introduced him to several sports such as basketball, soccer, baseball and tennis.
It wasn't until a trip to Fiji as a young boy, that he discovered his true passion.
"I am of Fijian decent, but raised in the good ole U.S.A.," said Airman Satavu. "I spent some years in Fiji learning my culture and playing my family sport, rugby. I started playing, at age six, and I have loved it from day one."
He said Rugby is a part of his heritage and several of his family members play for the national team of Fiji.
In the past few years, his enthusiasm for the sport has truly paid off.
"I tried out last year for the Air Force rugby team for the very first time," said Airman Satavu. "I was selected for the 25-man roster."
Nearly 100 other athletes also tried out for the team.
"The tryouts are rigorous," said Airman Satavu. "They are composed of muscular endurance tests and cardio fitness tests. They also like to see if you are skilled at elusive running and ball handling."
The final judgment is made during the annual St. Patty's Day Tourney in Savannah, Ga., where they watch for how they play as a person, as a team and how they implement skills.
When the season began, it was non-stop from beginning to end.
"I trained nearly every day," said Airman Satavu. "Monday, Wednesday, and Friday were weight lifting days, Tuesday and Thursday were rugby practice days and Saturday was usually a game day. Each session was anywhere from two to three hours."
But, it was well worth it.
"I went on to the Armed Forces Championship to compete against all the branches in which we beat every one and ended playing the final championship game against the Coast Guard and winning," said Airman Satavu. "I was the second highest scorer on my team and most likely in the tournament. I was selected as an honorable mention for the all-military teams and now I am in the process of trying out in hopes for selection for the USA team and Olympic team."
He said he also had the honor of representing the Air Force on the United States Combined Services Rugby Team in Washington, D.C. to compete against the New Zealand Ambassadors Select side rugby team in December.
Now that the season is over, Airman Satavu is concentrating on taking his dreams to the next level.
"I am looking forward to trying out for the US team, the Eagle Sevens, this coming year and either going through the Air Force World Class Athlete program or being selected for the residency program that is used as a recruiting tool for the 2016 Rio De Janiero Olympics," said Airman Satavu.
If his ambitions are a success, Airman Satavu is ready to send a message to all Airmen through his accomplishments.
"What I have been telling people lately is, if I make the U.S. or Olympic team, I figure they would announce it as not only does he represent his country on the field, he represents his country on the battlefield as well," said Airman Satavu. "I think that it will show other service members that you can do many things through the Air Force and possibly even progress to greater heights."
But, he also admits that there is a lot of perseverance needed as well.
"The hardest part to the game is coming in mentally prepared," said Airman Satavu. "If you are not there mentally, then you will not be able to give the performance that you usually do on a daily basis. As I grew up, coaches always told me it is 95 percent mental and 5 percent physical, which I now tell people almost daily."
When it is not Rugby season, Airman Satavu also competes in intramural sports such as basketball, flag football, softball and volleyball.
His accomplishments are a true measure of the abilities anyone can reach with a little time and dedication.