An honest and insightful look into a sports star’s life, Trillion Lau
June 21, 2022
The Second Phase is the first autobiography I have ever read. What drew me to it was, that I hoped to get a glimpse of what the life of a high profile person was like behind closed doors. Was he swamped with responsibilities? How did he feel about meeting his fans? And, I knew that he would talk about addiction, so I was curious to understand this struggle.
This book follows the life of Sione Faumuina, from childhood to the present, showing his ups and downs. We learn that the ‘dream’ job of becoming a professional sports player may not be suited for everyone. I think Sione wanted to show the world his side of the story, separate from the media. Perhaps, he wanted to show newly famous people what fame can be like. He is open about his troubles and addiction, so that the newly famous people don’t go down the same path.
Honestly, I didn’t know who Sione was before reading his autobiography. I learned that the stereotypes around fame do not always hold true. For him, fame was more of a nuisance than something to be proud of. Instead, Sione was hounded by the media as he was constantly causing trouble at bars and assaulting or abusing fans, for which he was banned from multiple bars. And the media did not give him a break. He narrowly missed facing consequences for a car crash and ended up in court for assaulting someone in a bar in England. I appreciated Sione’s honesty and openness, and while his actions may have been questionable, he helped me to understand how hard fame could be.
This book is in Sione’s voice. He talks about how he took control of his reputation and explained it in his own words — something, I can imagine, many famous people need to do, especially those who make mistakes in the eye of the media.
“I was living from paycheck to paycheck, and most of it went on booze…”
I am 15, and I have never had more than a sip of alcohol. So to be honest, I had no idea what to expect when I began reading about his addiction. I thought he would be heavily affected — drunk and stupid 24/7. What surprised me was, that despite admitting that his relationship with alcohol was not healthy, he was still a relatively functional human being. He was still an excellent rugby player, and he, and many other colleagues, were able to fool the system to keep drinking, without testing positive for alcohol when he worked in construction; “the rule of thumb of nine beers before nine o’clock.”
Sione has no secrets to hide from his readers. Not only does he honestly talk about his violent behaviour, alcohol addiction, and perspective of fame, but he also shares details of his private life. He talks about the court battle he had to go though, only to eventually lose parental rights of his first daughter. It surprised me; how open he was about his image, and how detailed he was in describing his misfortunes. He was asked “what is more important, alcohol or mahlia?” He is open when sharing his emotions, allowing me to form my own opinions of his behaviour, rather than forcing me to take his side.
The book took me through a roller coaster of emotions. Through Sione’s ups and downs, you will root for him — hoping that he will make the right choice, but often times he doesn’t. But at the end, he does make improvements, and it is wholly satisfying to see him thrive. Finally, he reviews his life, and and shows gratitude for the person he has become. It is a very rewarding end for the reader when he gives us details of his more recent endeavours.
All in all, I find it hard to fault this book. I found myself living through Sione’s life, feeling his pain, frustration, and rare moments of joy. This is interesting because I do not relate to Sione’s experiences, but I could feel his emotions as I read.
- Trillion is 15 and lives in Auckland.