The visiting Blue Thunder Rugby League team from New Zealand will be special guests at the Jacksonville Suns baseball this Thursday night (Aug 21), and they will open the game with a live performance of a HAKA. (Traditional ancestral wardance or challenge from the M?ori people of New Zealand)
This is the third visit to Jacksonville by the New Zealand team, and the second time they will open the Suns game with a HAKA. “This is such an incredible opportunity for cultural exchange with one of the most iconic sporting organizations in Jacksonville”, said Axemen General Manager, Drew Slover. “There is nothing much more American than baseball, and the Suns are one of the best known brands in Jacksonville. To be able to share a tradition that is native to a country from the other side of the world, and part of what many consider a foreign sport, is very exciting.”
Of course the experience for the New Zealand players is just as special as they get to share a part of their culture at about the most American event you can find. “This is one of those once in a lifetime opportunities for our players”, said Blue Thunder tour manager Tony Feasey. “To be visiting the United States from a country that is literally on the other side of the world, and get to stand on the field to open a baseball game with one of our own traditions is pretty special. In twenty years I am sure you could ask any of our guys about this and they will remember it was in Jacksonville, and it was the Suns who made it happen.”
The Axemen are encouraging all their fans to join them at the event to support the Jacksonville Suns as they face the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. “We want all our fans to come down on Thursday night and buy a ticket to the Suns game and join us in this special moment”, said Spinner Howland. “This is a great chance to show the visiting team how much Jacksonville loves sporting events and loves to have visiting teams spend time here. They are a great bunch of guys, and a big crowd at something like this enforces just how welcoming Jacksonville is for all sports teams, no matter what country they are from.”
To make the night even more attractive it is of course Thursday Throwdown, that is presented by Budweiser, Jagermeister, Absolut, Malibu Rum, Jim Beam, Go Pull-It, 97.9 KISS-FM, 106.9 Planet Radio, Mavericks. Fans will enjoy Buds for a Buck and 2-for-1 cocktails at the hottest spot in Jacksonville during the summer.
The game starts at 7:05pm and the Axemen are recommending fans arrive no later than 6.45pm to make sure they get to see the HAKA opening.