Monday, 10 October 2005

It's the taking part that counts...

Not an awful lot I can think about to comment upon this week in the goings on of this fair land.
Though one thing that caught my eye was another case of sadistic and brutal baseball ‘coach’ in death of student incident. This one happened down near Osaka and was caused by a baseball team’s loss in a Sunday lunchtime game. After the game the coach took his team back to their training area near a river, harangued them for about an hour on the loss and then proceeded to give them three hours of punishment (his words). You might be thinking that these were older students who had possibly just lost the final of the all Japan league, or something, but no, it was a class of 13 year olds having lost a local game. Three hours of pitching practice, sprint relays, running up and down the river bank (probably about 4 storeys high, if anything like the banks of the Arakawa) and general abuse later and a 13 year old kid collapsed of heat exhaustion, this was about 830pm (after, remember, a lunchtime game) and the poor kid died just before ten the next day.

In an interview afterwards the coach said: “I don’t understand it. I’ve been coaching baseball for 20years and nothing like this has ever happened before. But I don’t think it was anything to do with the punishment practice the team were doing.”

That’ll be no remorse then. Or an apology to the parents of the child. Or an admission that he’d done anything wrong. Or an awareness that this sort of shit happens every year. Nothing.

I really cannot begin to understand this, not fathom it at all. 3 hours of punishment for a team of 13-year-old kids? For what, to engender a love of the game? Oh for fuck’s sakes please. Be passionate about sports, yes, but to the extent that the man charged with the responsibility (ha, responsibility) of looking after a bunch of children too young enough to say no ends up killing one of them! I hope the rest of the team learned a valuable lesson last weekend.

What possibly makes it even worse is that I have a strong suspicion the parents will demand an apology and probably let it go at that. If it was me I would be pursuing this guy through every court in the land to get some kind of guilty of manslaughter or at least criminal negligence kind of thing going. Not some half arsed apology and let the psycho loose again with another bunch of kids.

No wonder that I will never let my son anywhere near a Japanese junior high school. Anyway, some more detail over at ours friends at the Daily Yomiuri.

This weekend was a bank holiday one and so Monday was off so we could all indulge in sports as Sports Day it is. Except, in a very British way, it has pissed down with rain all weekend, and indeed all last week and, quite probably, all next week as well. Grey, dank, drizzly rain as well. I could have stood on the riverbank pretended, without too much of a leap of faith, that I was standing on the shores of Loch Lomond, or other renowned holiday destination in the UK. This meant, of course, that adventures and tales of derring do have been thin on the ground.

But sitting on the floor and playing with Marcus has been high on the agenda for the weekend. In case you have been wondering, he can now happily sit up unsupported, though he does plant his fists on the floor in front of him, so resembling a gorilla sitting and having a break. He can stay up right most of the time, but hasn’t got the hang of tracking people as they walk past, so has a tendency to fall over backwards whilst looking into the air. He also has a tendency to fall slowly but elegantly forwards if he tries to pick something up, which is highly amusing (for me) but leaves him with bumps on his forehead. He is also becoming adept at picking things up, clutching at things hanging, such as washing, and manipulating objects with his hands. Or more simply, his motor skills are developing quite nicely (I think) and so he keeps trying to do new stuff. But still hasn’t quite got the hang of falling asleep quickly and quietly...

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