Monday, April 22, 2013

Karuta Kanda counts down the seconds to camp

Karuta Kanda counts down the seconds to camp

By Stan McManus Stevens
The Daily Magi
January 9, 2041

The strains of a rock rendition of the Mitakihara Spirit Song "Awesome School" as performed by now-Mitakihara Magi quarterbacks coach Akiyuki Kaname and the University Glee Club are what future Magi free safety Karuta Kanda wakes up to. Kanda, the son of mangaka Mashiro Shiina and current Mitakihara Town SC assistant coach Sorata Kanda.

"My father wanted me to be a soccer player and I actually used to play as a midfielder when I was younger," the younger Kanda said in an interview at Mitakihara High School. "That was all before I elected to try out tackle football. It turned out that I had pretty good hands and I was a hard hitter. Once I tried it, I was hooked and I committed myself to the gridiron code.

"My parents always told me to follow my dreams, to never stop believing in what was truly possible. The first time I watched  a Magi football game, I was just 10. The atmosphere of games like this is truly amazing. The marching band performs in kimono, flags of every nation and color are waved, and I think on special days, doves are released in the air as the players come out.

"You can never underestimate the pageantry behind a game at Mitakihara. It's one-of-a-kind and it makes you want a piece of it. It's that addicting. Once I watched the game, I knew this was going to be my school. This was truly, truly an awesome school."

Ever since he accepted the scholarship offer, Karuta Kanda had been working out at the high school weight room, sometimes training more than needed. Even after the Angels won their most recent provincial title, Kanda was seen working out in the weight room, energized and more assertive than even.

Mashiro, his mother, is convinced that her son is ready to play for the Magi.

"Why not?" she said in an interview outside her studio. "I think my son made the right decision to play for Mitakihara and I am convinced that he will be ready to contribute from the get-go. I can't see why he can't be a star playing college football.

"Karuta is my pride and joy and I want him to enjoy every moment he gets being a part of something special. He will never regret it."

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