Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"I Still Spread My Love Across The Country": Jeff Nakazawa

(left to right) Mio Akiyama, Azusa Nakano, Tsumugi Kotobuki, Ritsu Tainaka and Yui Hirasawa, the godparents of Mitakihara Magi linebackers coach Jeff Nakazawa. Hirasawa is a former Magi offensive coordinator.

"I Still Spread My Love Across The Country": Jeff Nakazawa

By Enju Aihara
The Daily Magi
December 3, 2071

Once upon a time, Mitakihara Magi linebackers coach Jeff Nakazawa was one of the star linebackers of the early 2050s. Nowadays, the grandson of the girls of Japanese power pop band Hokago Tea Time is pacing the sidelines, coaching the next crop of linebackers, as he has done since 2065. Nakazawa is a little bit older, a little bit wiser, and now entering his 40s. He now has two sons: Ritch, named after one of his three grand-aunts, Ritsu; and Huey, an offensive lineman, named after Yui Hirasawa, one of his grandmothers. Both are in their second year at Mitakihara Secondary School.

"I still spread my love across the country, just like I did when I was a player," said Coach Nakazawa after practice at Hakurei Centre. "I attend coaching clinics on both sides of the border, I take part in workshops and conferences, I help promote the university at a number of events across Canada, and I do my part in giving back to the Mitakihara University Foundation.

"My role has changed a lot. Now I'm no longer a player. I'm now a staff member working for Coach Kaname and the other coaches. I learned that developing a game plan and having my linebackers carry it out is easier than it looks. I scrimmage the scout teams against the starters, I help set up tape sessions for players to review the performances of our opposition, and I also help Ms. Seara with the recruiting portions of running the team.

"I always keep in mind how my godparents from HTT ran things. They were so professional in setting up tours, autograph sessions, working with their manager, promoters and doing all the business stuff. They worked really hard to have a long career of producing and performing music and even through they have retired from the music business and are now pensioners in this city, they sometimes give me advice on how to conduct myself. They dote on me too much but they know that I can make the right decisions. I mean, I have a wife and two boys, and I'm grooming them to make it out on their own! Sometimes they don't listen, but I have to set them straight.

"What I like about Grandma Yui, Grandma Azusa, Great-Aunt Ritsu, Great-Aunt Mio and Great-Aunt Mugi is that they support the football team, especially Grandma Yui because she used to work with us. Among the five of them, she knows a lot about the sport. What I personally like about Grandma Yui is that she hates the excessive celebration rules. She feels that kids should have fun celebrating because this only happens a few years in their lives, and that's it. If it pisses off the other team, they should be motivated to get better and become more competitive. She feels those types of penalties should only come when punches are thrown and there is a brawl going on.

"My godparents are now in their late 70s, I don't know how much longer they're going to be with me. But they never drank or smoked or did drugs. And they always took care of their bodies. Sometimes when I am off from my work, I walk with them and chat about things not related to football. But we still talk about the team and linebackers in general. Last year, they all met one of my players, [middle linebacker] Ernest [Macklin] and that was the first-ever time they sampled tourtiere, because Ernest has a really good recipe for that pie. I see them rocking out into their 90s, and I think they can take care of themselves. So in the meantime, I will continue to spread my love across the country. I am coming. You know the tide is turning."


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