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June 2, 2011 / Mika Riedel

5/5 Ishinomaki Rainbow Soccer Championship 2011

5/5 Hebita Middle School Activity Report

Location: Hebita school field

Time: Evening

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It’s time for soccer! Let’s spend all of our time playing soccer and use the whole field!

When we went to the shelter at Hebita Middle School, there weren’t any kids there. I’m guessing Golden Week had something to do with that. When I was trying to think of what to do, I noticed the three children of Itou-san, another volunteer. The kids are always having to endure not being able to do what they want, so I asked them if there was anything they wanted to do. All three replied with “Soccer!”

All right then, let’s go outside! We didn’t have a ball, so I wasn’t sure what to do at first. Luckily, there just happened to be some adults playing soccer in front of one of the goals. 🙂

They had some extra balls and they gladly obliged when we asked if we could borrow one. Then, right when we had everyone gathered and were about to divide up the teams, the adults who lent us the ball asked us to let them join.

And so it was that the Refugee Adults team faced off against the Children & Rainbow Crayons Staff team (including Ai-chan, Piroko-sensei, Itou-san, Komashun, and Nayuyu). By the way, the teams were 4 vs. 9.

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It was the skilled adults versus the energetic kids. The first half went well—a true test of ability. As time went on more people joined in, like an older man (I’d guess he was over 50) who wasn’t there when we started. He would give out precise instructions like “I’ll defend this area. You go over there.”

Eventually, the adults started to lose steam. It was getting harder for them to come back and they kept getting into tough spots. As soon as they started to think they could turn things around, the kids would attack and drive them back.

Ai-chan mercilessly handed down orders to the team.

“Run!”

“Go out!”

“Come back!”

“Pass!”

“Go get it!”

“What are you doing!?”

It must have been effective, because at halftime the score was 2-1 favor of the kids.

By this time the adults were totally pooped, so the kids started to lose motivation thinking that they’d won an easy victory! However, volunteers coming back from Ishinomaki High acted as reinforcements for the ailing adult team.

Humans are mysterious creatures. Even though no one said anything, they just started running after the ball. Our game had escalated into a large match covering the whole field!

Both the adults and the kids started to take the game seriously. Fellow Rainbow Crayons volunteers were now both allies and enemies, but we ruthlessly tackled our usual friends.

Shibata’s dribble was unnatural, but surprisingly effective. From time to time we’d see a family showdown between Shibata and Ai-chan.

Kumi-chan and her husband, both volunteers, participated as well. She selflessly ran around the field for the sake of her team. Though the most amazing thing was the speed at which she chased the ball when it flew out of bounds. Her husband had some amazing saves as well.

Tachibana, our offensive cameraman, took pictures while he played.

Nayuyu charges towards the goal. Her track-and-field training shows in the speed at which she dribbles. She shoots!

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A splendid goal against cameraman Tachibana!

Nayuyu: “I thought Tachibana was on my side.”

The game ended at 6 o’clock. The final score was 4-1, with victory going to the kids’ team!

Both the adults and kids were pretty beat, but both felt a sense of satisfaction. Everyone was smiling. It must have felt good for the adults from the shelter to finally be able to let loose like that; of course, that was true for the kids as well.

Ai-chan: “I really did get worn out, though.”

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Written by Kodomo Hinanjo Club on 5/5/2011.

Translated by Daniel Sunstrum on 6/2/2011.

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