The Rotary Club of Ofunato West initiated a grant project to provide players with a field after the earthquake and tsunami. A player gets ready for the game.
E lementary school children in Japan are crazy about baseball. But after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, many teams lost their practice fields, which became temporary housing sites for evacuees.
Watch a short time-lapse video.
To help give them a new place to play, the Rotary Club of Ofunato West initiated a Rotary Foundation Matching Grant project, with support from the Rotary Japan 2011 Disaster Recovery Fund. A sports field may not seem like a high priority after a disaster, but the Rotarians recognized the importance.
“Having no place to play could have a negative impact on children who are physically developing,” said club member Toyoaki Hamamori, who noted in September that other needs, such as shelter and school supplies, had largely been addressed.
The project has personal significance to Hamamori, who has two grandsons who play baseball.
“In Japan, baseball is the most popular sport for children,” he said. The new field that his club helped provide is a small step in the return to normality. “Rotarians call me every day to encourage me."