It is summer time in Japan. The weather is hot and the sun, with all its UV glory, is scorching. Even though it is hotter than hell, this time of year is known to be a very important. Why? Well, dear reader, it is because it is high school baseball season. It is time for the teams to fight against one another for a chance to go to Koshien.
What is Koshien?
It is the National High School Baseball Championship that is held in Japan, more commonly known as “Summer Kōshien” (夏の甲子園 natsu no kōshien). The ternament is held annually nationwide and is the largest scale amateur sport event in Japan. The tournament takes place during the summer school vacation period, culminating in a two-week final tournament stage with 49 teams in August at Hanshin Koshien Stadium (阪神甲子園球場 hanshin kōshien kyūjō). Hence why it is more commonly known as Summer Koshien.
2016 Tournament – Yanai Koko (High School)
This week is busy with the first rounds of this years summer championship tournament. Yesterday, 7/19/2016, was the first round of games. My base school Yanai Koko happened to be the early morning game. They went up against a team that is well known for being strong, an Iwakuni team.
The game started at 10:00am.
The morning was hot. The sun was not forgiving as first year students and student counsel members walked to Yanai Stadium early for attendance and to be prepped for cheering for the game. I was among their ranks.
The game started on time. Students, teachers, and members of the crowd cheered on Yanai Koko with loud, encouraging voices. Students had been practicing each cheer for days leading up to the game. Some cheers even had moves to go alone with the rhythm or beat of a song. Cheering seems to be a side competition of its own, but I digress.
But alas, it was not meant to be. “In life we fight hard to be on top, to be winner. Sadly in order for that to happen someone has to lose.” Yanai lost 0 to 6.
The boys did what they could that day. Though the team did make some big mistakes happen during the game, they tried to remain strong and finish the game to their best ability. It is unfortunate that it ended the way it did because it is now the last game for the third years.
In the end…
I have watched the team grow strong, fall down, become weak, struggle, just to dust themselves off, wipe off the blood, and stand back up again. I have watch boys become men, then change back into the sweet young teenagers I know they really are.
I have tried my best to support them. I am not sure if I will ever be able to tell them how I feel. There is so much I always want to say, but due to the language gap, I can`t always express myself the way I would like. Even as the third years gave their final speech after the game that day, I was teary eyed. I might not understand their words, but I understand their emotions and feelings at the time. Their pain was my pain.
Regardless of the number of victories they achieve or the brutal loses they have to endure, I will always cheer for them. They are bright young boys with kind hearts and crazy ideas of what it means to be dedicated. They are loyal beyond anything you could imagine. Yanai Koko baseball team with all ways be #1 to me.
Until next year, thank you for your hard work and dedication. I know I could ask for nothing less.