Today's post is about Kazuya's visit in Minamisanriku of Sendai prefecture; meeting withgroup of baseball loving junior high boys and taking them to one of first games of Rakuten Golden Eagles, after the earthquake.
Before meeting with the boys, Kazuya visited the devasteted area and that made a huge impression on him.
On April, Kazuya went to visit the vastly devastated area from the tsunami disaster, Minamisanrikuchou of Sendai prefecture. There, he met a group of baseball loving junior high boys. They are the members of Utachu Junior High baseball club and along with their ace pitcher Miura Tooi-kun had won the district tournament not a while back before the disaster came. They of course lost their homes, their prized bats and gloves, and most of all their coach were also taken away. Currently they’re living in their own school—one of the few buildings the still stood—which were used as shelter for hundreds of the local people.
When he came to the school, Kazuya brought along trainers from Touhoku Rakuten Golden Eagles whose home is in Sendai, and played baseball with all the children there. He played a game against the Utachu boys and lost, btw. (c)
I like the fact that Kazuya really tried to play good and lost instead of only pretending. That made quite happy :)
A week after, Kazuya took them to one of Rakuten’s first home games since the disaster hit their home stadium, and the kids managed to meet their idols; ace pitcher Tanaka Masahiro, slugger Hamasaki Takeshi, and Sendai’s own Shima Motohiro. Mori-san said he looked like their homeroom teacher :3 After the game. Shima player came to greet them.(c)
Shima: Not at all, thank you for coming.
Shima: We managed to show you a winning game, and all of us players we’re not giving up, so. With all our might we will push through till the end, and we want to show you that.
Shima: I’m sure everybody’s going through hardships. And couldn’t play baseball. And the pain in your hearts isn’t something that’ll heal easily. But even if just for a bit you feel recharged watching our baseball, I’d be happy. From now on, together with Rakuten Eagles, let’s do our best.
The boys had something they really want to give to the Rakuten Eagles players. It was a message card with their supportive thoughts for their favorite team.
Miura: Please do your best
Shima: Thank you. I’ll put this in our locker room so everybody can see. It’ll be a huge encouragement for all of us.
Kazuya: We thank you for everything today.
Utachu boys: Thank you very much! (c)
Ueda: This was a slightly different experience than your usual baseball projects, how was it?
Kazuya: Well the first time I came to the disaster area, it was far beyond my expectation, the destruction didn’t even looked real. So the first time I saw it I was completely speechless. But then I got to play baseball with the children, and to see the smiles on their faces I’m once again reminded of the power of sports like baseball. I can also feel the power of the children, moving forward and wanting to face their future. I feel like I would like to continue walking forward with them.
Ueda: It does made you feel good to see the smiles back on their faces, like in this photo too.
Kazuya: Yes, this photo, I also-
Ueda: Oh, Kamenashi-kun, you took this photo?
Kazuya: Right, when I was about to say ‘bye bye’ to them I asked them for a photo and they went ‘yaa~y’ for me.
Ueda: I see.
Kazuya: Playing baseball with them and seeing their smiles, I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment.
Mori: Everybody are smiling
Kazuya: You can really feel their strength, those children.
Ueda: I see, so it really was a great experience, right?
Kazuya: And actually yesterday we went to see a home game of Rakuten Eagles’s with the boys from Utachu junior high. You can watch the clip of this next week.
Ueda: I’m sure this was a great experience for them too. That might even be somebody’s first ball game, there.
Kazuya: Yes, this was the first time for a few of them to come to the stadium and watched a ball game. And you can see how wonderful those pro ballplayers are again.
Ueda: Right? I mean, didn’t it surprise you that Kamenashi-kun would keep on using curved balls to play against junior high kids?
Kazuya: They wanted to challenge me to a real game, so I thought I have to bring my A-game too *laughs*
Ueda: I thought you were gonna go a bit easier on them. You just went for it, I was surprised!
Tonight's post I will end with couple photos from tomorrows (2012.03.11) Going! Sports&News where Kazuya visits Minamisanriku of Sendai prefecture once again almost a year after the earthquake.
(c) credit for the translation goes to takarai_karin. Thank You very much as always :)