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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Fond Farewell to our Friends!

As we quickly approach our final goodbyes to our friends in Toyonaka I thought I would leave everyone with a speech that I gave at last night’s farewell party:

“On behalf of the adult delegation and our boys, I would like to thank the City of Toyonaka, The Toyonaka Sister City Association, The Physical Education Association, The Boys Baseball Association and more importantly, the host families for once again providing us with an exciting and rewarding week in your lovely city.

It feels like yesterday our boys were meeting their host families at the Senrti Gymnasium  for the first time. In just one weeks time, we’ve played six games (3 wins Toyonaka, 3 wins San Mateo), learned a Bon Dance, played Taiko Drums, toured Nara, bowed to deer, and had deer bow to us, listened to music from Okinawa, met the mayor and toured City Hall, and our boys have been able to do so many more things that we’ll never know about…and maybe shouldn’t know about.

The cultural experiences that have taken place in this short week cannot be valued, instead everyone in this room have participated in priceless memories that I hope can bring us all closer together to strengthen our bonds of friendship. 

To our host families, thank you for opening your homes and caring for our boys as if they were your own. 

To all of you in this room, when we first heard about the tragedy that struck your great country in March, our hearts reached out to you and we continue to extend our hands in offering help, support or any other way to help your great country continue in the recovery efforts.  Our association raised some money for the relief effort that we would like to present to you tonight in addition to other donations that we bring on others behalf.  We hope you realize we are all in this together.

As we prepare to leave tomorrow, I take with me the pictures of Rose Stadium where the flags of our two countries fly in peace and the team post game photos of both teams joined as one.  Although our two cities are separated by thousands of miles of ocean, the hearts of our people will forever be joined as one.  In two years, our cities will mark the 50th Anniversary as Sister Cities.  We hope to see many of you there to celebrate.  Domo Arrigato Gozymas. “

As part of the Farewell Dinner, The Toyonaka Boys Ball Association chose two MVPs from the San Mateo team. The 2011 team MVPs were RJ Babiera and Jordan Pluchar. Also, we celebrated Payton’s birthday!!! 

The team arrives Thursday at 11:38 AM after already enjoying a great Thursday here in Japan.  See you all soon and thank you for all your support for this wonderful experience. Our boys will never forget this!

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