ONRA International Sling tournament in Mallorca via flying proa in Ireland
It’s been about 5years since the last entry of Onra was published; and it’s great to see a lot has happened since then.
Throughout the failing attempt the last few years of trying to get back to training Jiujitsu, picking up the local martial art of Stone Slinging has, in effect, led to a potentially bright adventure. I had a good conversation with sports editor Jojo Santo Tomas for a temporary return of this column to give some insight into Guam’s first participation in an international stone-slinging event.
Local history has shown us that stone slinging was highly prevalent among our people. Since the 17th century, Spanish missionaries have written about the highly skilled slingers of our ancestors.
Fast forward to today: though stone slinging has been mostly forgotten, the occasional artifacts found only underscore the feeling that slinging stones still has a place and future with and for our people.
In the last three years, I’ve been part of a healthy resurgence in this way of Chamorro life, proud of the identity that dominates our national flag.
Almost a year ago, I signed into an online slinging forum and the world’s largest international stone-slinging conversation at www.slinging.org. I was surprised to learn that that there was virtually no mention of Guam or our ancestry in slinging – despite the fact that Guam is the only place in the world featuring a slingstone on its flag.
I hadn’t received any replies on this forum to any of the topics that I chimed in on and actually thought that I’d have to settle with simply reading the many posts of interest on this invigorating topic.
Then, three months later I received a message on Facebook from Sam Christian Work. He introduced himself as an avid slinger from Austria.
Turns out he’d been deeply involved into slinging for more than a decade. He was an international slinging event champion, and was a respected scholar and perpetual student on the topic worldwide – yet he’d never heard of Guam. He wanted to know more.
He was in shock to see how immersed Guam history is in slinging and told us of an international competition in Spain that featured up to 18 different countries participating in this annual event. He was eager to share with his acquaintances the photos we shared with him….this is when we knew that it was important to get involved.
A lot of people from here might have different things to say about the issues we’ve faced from outer islanders and criminal conduct but something we need to learn to embrace is that we are Micronesian. This was an opportunity to serve that fact and the time was as ripe as ever.
We were headed to Spain! Biba Mes Chamoru! My good friend and slinging-mentor Guelu Rosario and another seasoned slinger and Master Navigator, Tony Piaulig of Satawal, had caught word and immediately volunteered to join in. Friends and family at Fokai, Ambros Guam and the Marianas Open wanted to help and the rest is the future.
Going to Spain wasn’t going to be easy. Since we were going to spend enough money and off to travel far with a Master Navigator and an experienced builder of our island’s world-famous Flying Proa—we decided to try and make the most of it.
We’ve just finished 10 days of Ireland, slinging stones, sharing culture, rocking, rolling, rooting, and rooting. And possibly for the first time in history, a Flying Proa has made its way to Ireland shores. It was epic, historical, monumental and … cosmic.
We are in Mallorca now, an island and people with 5000 years of stone-slinging history, for Guam’s first footsteps into international slinging sport. I will come back to you with a story – hopefully set in stone.
Thanks for dropping by.