From POSTGUAM: Guamanians to compete in Spanish sling-stone competition

February 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Special Forces

From POSTGUAM: Guamanians to compete in Spanish sling-stone competition

Article by Matt Weiss of The Post Guam

In March, a small three-man Guamanian contingent will be headed to Mallorca, Spain, to compete in an international sling-stone competition called the IV Encuentro Internacional Dia de les Illes Balears 2017. More than 20 nations from around the world will compete to see who has the most dead-on and distanced slingers. Guam’s slingers will consist of Roman Dela Cruz, Ben “Guelu” Rosario and Tony Piaulig.

While the original intention was to create a nationally recognized Guam team, Dela Cruz said, “A lack of time and busy schedules didn’t allow” it. While he admits there’s no way to know if they’re Guam’s best, they are, nonetheless, committed. “There’s no guarantee that we’re the best slingers on the island, but no doubt that we’re dedicated slingers and we’re putting in our practice time.”

Promoting culture through sport

Hoping to see a resurgence in Guamanians paying respect to the ancient Chamorros, Dela Cruz explained why he and the team decided to get involved in the Spanish sling-stone competition: “Our venture of jumping it into sport is actually a path to revive slinging among our people and to connect them not just with slinging, but primarily into the interest, preservation and rejuvenation of other traditional practices as well.”

Having received an invitation from two-time slinging champion Sam Christian Wirk of Austria, the trio will be representing more than just Guam. “The three of us … will be venturing to Spain to represent not just the Chamorro people, but also to represent Micronesia.”

Dela Cruz said he’s been slinging stones for nearly eight years, Rosario’s been at it for more than 20 years, and Piaulig has been slinging since he was a child on the island of Palowat. With over 60 years of slinging experience between them, and with a little luck, they will weave their way through the bracket and represent Guam with honor and respect.

Skill improves with perseverance

Dela Cruz, the team’s spokesman shared some of the competition’s rules: “The object for the competition we’re aiming for is, for the most part, based on accuracy from increasing distances as you advance through the brackets.” He shared that only locally gathered tournament stones must be used and slings must be made from organic material. “Only slings of natural fibers are allowed, and the stones will be natural river stones from the area of the competition.”

Dela Cruz, the least experienced of the group, never thought he would progress in the sport as far as he has. “I thought I would never get anywhere with it. For almost three years, I couldn’t get it straight; I was convinced it was beyond me.” He said that men like Pat Ayuyu and Rosario helped him improve tremendously. “I have a great respect for them and I am thankful for them every day for keeping me on this journey.“

He offered some advice in parting: “I would love to encourage everyone to try slinging. With the right mindset, it can be incredibly invigorating, even enchanting, like the sword to the samurai.”


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