The Power of the Haka

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 1:27 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Oct 1, 2010 10:2 AM CDT

It wasn&rsquo;t your everyday occurrence.&#160; Thursday morning, in the parking lot at a Stillwater hospital, a large man was doing a native dance.&#160; It was OSU linebacker Tolu Moala, getting fired up for the game with Texas A&amp;M by performing a &ldquo;haka,&rdquo; a traditional Maori tribal dance.</p>But why the parking lot at the hospital?&#160; Moala&rsquo;s daughter had been hospitalized.&#160; Her voice box hasn&rsquo;t yet fully developed, and that can lead to problems.&#160; Moala says doctors tell him and his wife their daughter will be fine once she gets between 18 months to 2 years of age, but on Wednesday night there was concern.</p>On Thursday night Moala was pressed into extensive action thanks to an early injury to OSU starter Justin Gent.&#160; While team doctors and trainers hid Gent&rsquo;s helmet from him to help keep him on the sidelines while his head cleared, Moala began making plays.&#160; He finished with 8 tackles and a couple of quarterback pressures in the Cowboys 38-35 win.&#160; Not bad for a player who was initially thought to be lost for the season with a knee injury. &#160;</p>Just like his pregame ritual, Moala&rsquo;s college journey has been unique.&#160; He&rsquo;ll be 26 later this year.&#160; Originally he signed with BYU before ending up at a California junior college.&#160; Injuries kept him from contributing to the Cowboys early last season, but he stayed committed to the program and made strides later in 2009.</p>During OSU&rsquo;s media day back in August, Moala told me he would do a haka in private, in a bathroom before games because he hadn&rsquo;t made major contributions to the team and didn&rsquo;t want to distract his teammates. &#160;</p>He said he played Thursday for his family, for his daughter in the hospital and his wife, but also for his OSU family.&#160; After his performance, Moala can &ldquo;haka&rdquo; wherever and whenever he wants.</p>