A Rakuten Baseball Game
Photo: Andrew Ryan
After volunteering at Hamaguri Hama, we headed to the Rakuten baseball stadium in Sendai to watch a professional game between the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles and the Chiba Lotte Marines. This would be the last activity that we share with the Ishinomaki team and parents and it did not disappoint.
We arrived three hours before the game and there were already crowds of people walking around the stadium and buying food from the many vendors outside. Our group was given special access and was able to walk onto the field and take a photo with Rakuten Eagles manager Senichi Hoshino before the stadium doors opened. It was a treat for the boys, coaches and families to experience.
The game began in the rain, but people donned their ponchos and sat down in the stands anyway, so that they could cheer on their team. Entire sections of the stadium were devoted to cheering and dancing in unison. And, when the rain subsided the entire stadium joined in--something we all said we wished happened at games back home. Later, the thousands in attendance let go balloons into the air till they fell back to the ground a few seconds later (none of the balloons were tied). There were also fireworks that lit up the night sky, making the night feel even more magical. But, then, it was time to go.
The Ishinomaki team and their parents lined up outside so that we could all shake hands and exchange one last thank you and goodbye. It was a bittersweet moment. The game was fun, but the experience was meaningful, as was evident by the tears rolling down an Ishinomaki boy's parent's face. The boys exchanged email addresses and telephone numbers. We said one last goodbye and hope that other experiences such as this happen again for more families and children affected by the earthquake and tsunami.
Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 in Permalink