Today the sun actually came out for the first time since arriving.
Editors note: This is the second in a series of diary entries from Ashland High football player Lucas Stone as he enjoys the sights and sounds of Japan leading up to Pacific Rim Bowl XI.
July 23 — Today the sun actually came out for the first time since arriving. With the sun however came a new wave of heat to accompany the humidity. Practice was slightly later today and we shared the field with the Japanese team, which created an interesting situation. We tried to walk a fine line between taking peeks at their practice while trying to shield most of ours. The heat made us have to be conscious about our intake of water, but there are water girls who had a water bottle for us as soon as we started to get thirsty. It blew all the players away when we discovered that they weren't paid, they were volunteers!
After practice both teams walked down to a local park where there was a delicious barbecue waiting for us. This wasn't like many American barbecues though; every table was given a platter of uncooked, marinated meat and the cooking was left to the players. At first we were only given chopsticks. This led to many curses in both languages as different players got their fingers too close to the flame while trying to turn the meat. It wasn't until five minutes into this that someone brought around a pair of tongs. This addition made the meal much more enjoyable.
After we were done eating, both coaches spoke of what this game meant to them. It is so much more than a game, it is a bond that we will share with each other for all of our lives. I am now sitting on a giant lawn watching as various teammates are trying to play a giant game of jump rope with 15 people and a 40-foot rope. It looks fun. I think I'll go join them.