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The Strong Bonds Within the Soft-ball Tennis Club

Mr. Hiroki Shiozaki
Mr. Teppei Kashima
Mr. Keiya Nakamoto

"This was the final season I would get to play as a pair with Kashima, so I figured I'd just enjoy it while I could. It was a pleasant surprise when we actually ended up winning," said Mr. Shiozaki, reflecting on the outcome of the All Japan Soft-ball Tennis Championships. His partner, Mr. Kashima, looked back on the championship with his usual modesty: "I'm happy we took the title, but I can't help but wonder if it's a good thing for me to achieve this so early. I have to continue to prepare for future challenges and not allow myself to become overly complacent with this win." Next to comment on the win was Mr. Nakamoto, who had achieved a spectacular victory as a member of the National Team at the All Japan Indoor. "All of our rivals were extremely strong, so I didn't think we'd be able to win. As we began to beat out powerful opponents during the preliminary league I thought to myself, 'Huh? Is this really OK?'" All three players were left astonished by the unexpected outcome.

Mr. Shiozaki, who acted as captain during the 2008 season, didn't escape the scrutiny of the two younger club members. "The way he handles himself during a match is just amazing. He's got a good head on his shoulders," said Mr. Nakamoto. "He's one of those 'herbivorous men' you hear so much about lately," commented Mr. Kashima. Mr. Shiozaki returned their comments with some of his own, saying "Kashima doesn't let it show on the outside, but he's actually a really passionate guy on the inside." Then, with a laugh, he said, "As for Nakamoto, his behavior and playing style are both cocky." "You know as well as I do that that's the part of me you like best," joked Mr. Nakamoto. But then the younger player continued on, showing his loyalty towards Mr. Shiozaki by saying, "I'm sure I've been quite a burden for the captain up until now, but I'd like to be the kind of person worthy of being looked up to by younger students.

"Soft-ball tennis is fundamentally an individual sport, but our club considers an intercollegiate group victory to be the highest of all achievements. That's why we are so connected as a team," explained Mr. Kashima. Waseda University's Soft-ball Tennis Club is currently accepting applications for the position of student trainer. Anyone that would like to join the ranks of these passionate players is welcome, regardless of gender. "I am envious of Kashima and Nakamoto, who get to remain in the Soft-ball Tennis Club for many years to come" lamented Mr. Shiozaki, who just graduated this spring.

Mr. Shiozaki then went on to say, "Right now I'd just like to say 'thank you' to Waseda and the Soft-ball Tennis Club. It's been a very enjoyable four years." The other two players laughed, replying, "But you're going to keep coming to watch us practice, aren't you?" It seems as though their bonds which transcend age and school affiliation will continue to connect these three young men.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Mr. Hiroki Shiozaki

Born in Wakayama Prefecture in 1986. Started playing soft-ball tennis as a second year elementary school student. Graduated from Wakayamakita High School, and graduated from the School of Sport Sciences this spring. Mr. Shiozaki was the captain of the Soft-ball Tennis Club for the 2008 season.

Mr. Teppei Kashima

Born in Miyazaki Prefecture in 1988. Started playing soft-ball tennis as a second year elementary school student. Graduated from Miyakonojo Izumigaoka Senior High School, and is currently a third year student in the School of Sport Sciences. Enjoys listening to music (especially B'z).

Mr. Keiya Nakamoto

Born in Hiroshima Prefecture in 1989. Began playing soft-ball tennis as a third year elementary school student. Graduated from Ondo High School, and is currently a second year student of the School of Sport Sciences. Enjoys listening to music and watching films.