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SOFTBALL IN JAPAN 2001-2011 Author: Mel Roche 16 November, 2011 Double numbers have been a prominent feature throughout my life. And so it was Qantas Flight 22 in the 11th Month of 2011 who delivered me home to Australia from Japan for the last time. I concluded my Softball Career in the 44th season of the Japan Softball League, marking my 11th year. This on top of 4 Olympic Games (4 Medals) and 4 World Championships (4 Medals), I have finally placed my glove and cleats to rest in a place I can no longer reach. There was no fairytale ending for me, I’d let too many of those chances pass me by. Deep down, I needed to burn myself up. I loved it so much for so long, the only way to leave it was to have nothing left to give. So here I sit on a sun-soaked back deck, in the quiet of retirement, on a weightless Sunday afternoon. I have absolutely nothing ‘Softball’ to prepare for anymore. No tournament, no Camp, no 2012 Season… only dinner tonight. Preparation will still always be everything! I enjoy flying alone. Closer to the stars and moving through time and space in an airplane always sparks a creative flow within me. Thanks to Renesas Electronics, I had my Skybed, which I never put to much practical use but appreciate the space and comfort. An inch in an airplane is like a square meter in your home. I reflected on my time in Japan and what I had offered, what I had learned, what I had gained. Some lessons were softball specific but the big ones were about interactions, behaviour and relationships. I have 3 views on my time playing softball in Japan: 1.A HEROIC VIEW: the Japanese Softball League is one of the best platforms in the World for Women’s Sport. The level of professionalism, sacrifice, discipline, enthusiasm and competitiveness is top shelf, 1st Class, A-grade standard. 2. A POETIC VIEW: we both shared a deep respect for Chaos Theory. One ensured the right time and right place, the other has faith in arriving in the right time and place. 3. A PRAGMATIC VIEW: it was a daily arena of challenges, extreme highs and mind-boggling lows and silences. As a foreigner, it could also be one of the loneliest places on the planet. When I put these together, I picture a dynamic classroom with outstanding instructors and students. I have spent the last 11 years learning and I’m looking forward to spending the next 11+ years living it all out. The new Irish President, Michael D. Higgins was quoted in the paper today, saying “It is time to turn to older wisdom” in rebuilding Irelands battered economy. Mr Higgins called for a “Republic founded on Community Spirit instead of Individual Materialism”. I look at our sport around the World since we were dropped from the Olympic Program and I guess it feels a bit battered too. I was down at the Brisbane Local Softball fixture yesterday watching some friends play in a game. I’d much rather be down there cheering, laughing and hanging out with them then driving past in a fancy car tooting my horn. The world is awakening to the power of Mass Movements and that’s where I want to contribute my energy – to life giving, World-Shaping Movements. The Sport of Softball is in a great 'ground-roots' position to produce its own Movement, we just need the people energy and ‘Old Wisdom’ to drive it. Finally, my guitars are a bit dusty but they’ll be put to work soon as I fumble around searching for new melodies for new songs. I have a few collaborations in the pipeline as well as a new look website and have more than enough time on my hands to dig in and create momentum for it all. As for those double numbers, I’m uncertain to their significance but I enjoy their company and how they unveil themselves ever so cleverly and patiently over time. Thank you Japan Softball for 11 wonderful years!!!!!!! THank You Mel! It was an honor to watch you play! __________________ Coach
Registered: 1166631086 Posts: 270
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What a wonderful post. Very moving. Good Luck to Mel on her future endeavors.