So yesterday morning we set out for Koshien Stadium in Osaka, which is home to the Hanshin Tigers, but also (and more importantly) where the annual national high school baseball tournament is played. It was a hot day, about 34 degrees. The TV cameras were covered with bamboo mats, and vendors went up and down the aisles selling crushed ice and cold drinks. The kids and I got to sit in a shady, cordoned-off box behind home plate – the wheelchair area. We had a great view. My husband was off being interviewed by the media, so he didn’t sit with us.
The stadium was pretty much full. In Tokushima, maybe a few hundred people show up for high school games, but there were nearly 57,000 spectators (plus, all those people across the nation watching on TV). Nevertheless, I felt our boys from Kita High School showed considerable poise. When the fourth batter, Saito, stepped up to the plate, my son said, “That’s the guy who’s lending me his Little League uniform.” I thought it was kind of cool that he had a personal connection to our local heroes (beyond his dad, of course).
Kita High School was matched up with a team from the big city, which had to make it through about 200 other teams to get to the national tournament. That ‘s about four times as many teams as in Tokushima. Everyone expected Kita High School to lose, and maybe to lose badly. Well, they did lose, due to a couple of costly errors, but only by two runs. They did good.
After the game, they scooped up dirt from the sacred grounds of Koshien and put it into a special bag to take home.
And then we got in our car and drove back to Tokushima.