News

All the latest happenings
22
February 2017

Super Bowl Host Committee awards $100,000 to St. Paul Parks and Rec

John Thao uses a kick to send the ball over the net against a defending Cher Thao as they play a friendly game of Takraw at a field on St. Paul's East Side on Thursday, April 23, 2015. Takraw is a very popular game in South East Asia, specifically Thailand and Malaysia, and has been described as a combination of Volleyball and Hackey Sack.  (Pioneer Press: John Autey)

John Thao uses a kick to send the ball over the net against a defending Cher Thao as they play a friendly game of Takraw at a field on St. Paul’s East Side on Thursday, April 23, 2015. Takraw is a very popular game in South East Asia, specifically Thailand and Malaysia, and has been described as a combination of Volleyball and Hackey Sack. (Pioneer Press: John Autey)
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

As a young student at St. Paul’s Johnson High School in the 1980s, Lee Pao Xiong found friendship and community after class, rushing out to nearby playing fields with a hard plastic ball. None of the players, all young Hmong refugees like himself, was allowed to touch the ball with their hands. Sepak Takraw, or Kato, is like volleyball played with the feet, knees, chest, hips and a very hard head.

“It used to be rattan,” said Lee Pao Xiong, now a professor of Hmong studies at Concordia University in St. Paul. “When it hit you in the head, it felt like a baseball bat.”

Fast forward 40 years, and Lee Pao Xiong’s dreams of establishing permanent, dedicated space for his favorite sport appear to be on the verge of coming true. As chair of Sepak Takraw of the USA, Inc., he joined St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and St. Paul Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hahm at the Duluth and Case Rec Center on the city’s East Side to accept a $100,000 check from the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee.

 

Shared
No Comments

Comments are closed.