By Sako Ikegami, Kobe
83rd Annual National High School Baseball Championship at Koshien Stadium in Hyogo, Japan
Every high school baseball player in Japan dreams of playing at Koshien Stadium. But only one team from each prefecture gets to go. Some organizers felt that this year, the spring tournament which is a slightly smaller affair than the main summer event, should be canceled out of consideration for the great disaster and massive loss of life on March 11th. However, they finally realized they were wrong. The sight of these young boys playing the best games of their lives amidst dirt, sweat and tears, would uplift the wounded nation’s spirits. And so the games opened on March 23. Shinsuke Noyama, captain of the Okayama team, gave the opening oath.
We were born sixteen years ago. That was the same year that Japan experienced the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake. Today, our hearts are full of sorrow for the many precious lives that have just been lost in the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake. In the disaster areas, everyone is working hard, their hearts as one, to overcome this terrible tragedy. I believe that people can overcome any obstacle when supported by friends and family. So what can we do? Play the best baseball of our lives, and strive to win this tournament.
Ganbaro, Nippon. Let’s Fight, Japan!!
With gratitude for all that gives us life, I solemnly swear that we will all do our utmost to play a clean and hard-fought ball game.
Tohoku High School, in one of the worst-hit areas of Sendai city, had won Miyagi’s prefectural tournament. Students from this high school are still missing, but the Tohoku Nine were at Koshien on opening day, where they were greeted by loud applause and cheers from the crowd. These boys had volunteered at local shelters after the tsunami and flown in late on March 19, so they had not had much time to practice. They carried the hopes of the Tohoku region, as well as the entire nation, on their young shoulders. Their first game was on March 28 against Ogaki Nichidai of Gifu Prefecture. The tournament runs from March 23 through April 4.