Friday, August 30, 2013

EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT: In Coach Kaname's Own Words

EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT: In Coach Kaname's Own Words

By Tatsuya Kaname
Special to The Daily Magi
January 14, 2052


January mornings in Mitakihara Town, British Columbia are not for the faint of heart. The futuristic buildings glisten when the skies are clear, the neon lights of the electronic billboards advertising capitalism and globalization, and the oil refineries and power plants farther up Vancouver Island are bustling with activity, generating energy for this part of the province. But even so, this city is very cold on January mornings. It's cold, you sometimes get frostbite and chilblains, that type of cold. It's often snowy, and driving can be a problem if the conditions are difficult.

But that is what I have to do when driving from the house to the university to do administrative work as head coach of the football team. I'm used to the cold, so I don't need mittens, unlike my five wives and my kids and grandkids. I put on my rose and pink overcoat, pull up my khakis, put on my trucker hat and frames, get in my Lexus and roll. I play the music of Parov Stelar II's father on my personalized iTunes for my car while cruising around the city, often times at night, if only to look at the bright lights, the office space and the starry sky overhead, resembling the underskirt of the ceremonial garb of my sister.

This is the one job I ever had for over four decades, and it's been a massive risk, but now that I am in my 50s, I've had years of experience to go with conference championships, BCS Championships, individual honors and so many other accolades and memorabilia. All off them are part of the Mitakihara Athletics Hall of Fame, which is now permanently housed at Hakurei Centre as part of a special wing, the largest of the wings

Our players walk through the Hall of Fame with their uniforms and helmets on as part of the walk from the locker rooms to Mitakihara Stadium. In the past, our locker room was inside the stadium but ever since we won our 20th national championship in 2021, we decided that our players should walk through the Hall of Fame as a reminder of who they are, who they play for and what their mission is as members of the team.

Our locker room is perhaps one of the finest, most sophisticated locker rooms than you will find at any school. We have 10 staff members who take care of the locker room. They are trained to give the players postgame massages, prepare the showers and the dressing rooms with their jerseys and equipment, and provide the type of package that is typical of an NFL locker room. We believe in providing first-class service to our players, who are the most successful team of all the teams that play for Mitakihara, both men and women. There's even stationary bikes, and stations where complimentary food and drink and offered to give to players before and after games. Morning Rescue Sport is served here as part of our lifetime contract with House Foods, and there are 20 different flavors to choose from, from orange, to strawberry, to coconut water...to an herbal infusion that involves rose petals and cherry blossom petals.

My office is located one floor upstairs. This allowed me to look at the game film of our opponents, then develop a game plan to relay to the team before we get going. It's convenience mixed with logic.

On this January morning, I take off my rose and pink coat, put away my hat and take a look outside the window and watch the students go up and down. I can see the Kirisame Pyramid, the Stadium, the MetroTech Shanarena, the Campus Pool...and the most imposing sight, the Madoka Union, a building that is a super-deformed version of my sister.

In the distance, I can see the Madoka Cathedral, the numerous academic buildings, the Madoka Garden, and further beyond, I notice the buildings of the Mitakihara Town Sports Club and the Sakura Bowl, which the football and soccer teams occasionally use.

We did have, if you readers recall, a classic match at the Sakura Bowl involving the Magi men's rugby team and South Korea. Well, this is what happened if you didn't pay attention. The Rose of Sharon was leading by 14 points with 10 minutes to go. At that moment, our rugby head coach, Makoto Yokodera, elected to go with the same strategy that BYU used against Cal, and that is to use the champagne strategy on them. The play worked. We won, 49-42 in a thriller for the Ages.

Next year, the Magi will be facing the Philippines, one of the rising powers of world rugby, on Homecoming Week 2052. Assistant coach Albert Roxas-Locsin used to be a Number 8 for the Volcanoes for 10 years before taking up the job to be Mako's right-hand guy. As a matter of fact, he was the previous head coach before Jett took over following graduation. This allowed him to focus on the business behind the scenes.

Albert's son, Danny Locsin, has made it a priority to represent Canada and has no intention of playing for the Volcanoes. Locsin, who the Magi call "Danny Boy" is a sophomore accounting major, born and raised in Pangasinan before moving to Manila at age 8. He then moved to Canada at the age of 14. He speaks Tagalog, Spanish, English and French but prefers to converse in Taglish. He plays wing and is the all-time leader in tries scored with 70.

I'm looking forward to the match between the Magi and Volcanoes but my focus has to be on the football game for that week. But that will be for another time. After all, we've begun the offseason here in Mitakihara. Some players may be tempted to transfer out, others may want to jump to the next level.

Two players that I am worried about are Reggie Miller, our backup quarterback and our starting free safety Larry Bernard. They may be tempted to leave early for the NFL even though their seasons were cut short. I don't think it would be in their best interests to leave for the pros, especially Reggie, who has a broken shoulder. If you were to ask me about this, it would be a really stupid decision for them to declare. I kid you not.

My hope is that all the kids are back and ready to get going for next season. D.W. Hinoi is my favorite of all the players we were able to get. I did not think we were going to be able to snag him because he wasn't in our list of preferred schools. But by Week 10, Ike Ike was ours and I expect him to be our starting halfback when camp starts next summer.

Even in the frosty January cold of British Columbia and M-Town, the glistening icicles of liquid sugar glimmering like the music of Parov Stelar and his son, Parov Stelar II—a former quarterback for our team turned DJ like his dad—I still get energized when I walk on campus. Everyone knows me as the Brother of Hope because of who my sister is and that my son, Akiyuki, is the Son of Hope, literally.

Akiyuki means a lot to me because once I retire from coaching, I will turn the keys over to my son and he will be the one coaching the football team. I will miss coaching this team many years from now. Change will be in the way in the future, but the future will be in good hands, if you ask me.

And it will be in good hands because the day I finally retire from the football team and coaching in particular is the day my sister takes her place in the heavens once and for all, watching over the university and the world, for that matter. I wonder what will happen once I finally step down?

For now, I will perish the thought and keep going. I love this university, my sister, Homura, Mami, Kyouko, Sayaka, my children, my players, my coaches, everyone with Mitakihara University too much to not keep going. On to next season. 

For love, Madoka and Country...as long as you remember Mitakihara, You Are Not Alone.

No comments:

Post a Comment