Vauxhall, AB –
It has been a great month for the Academy and Yukio hit a major milestone – 5000 km in his quest for 100,000. Read below Yukio’s newest Open Diary.
December 9th, 2014 – A Diarist Account: Great! Another shot at getting it right
Curious why one does a hundred day assessment on the 91st day. Duh! (Reference November 30th diary). Maybe “I should have stood in bed” (Joe Jacobs, Boxing guru). As fate would have it, the hundredth day yielded a more comprehensive assessment of the Pennies for K’s fund raiser for JETS Baseball. First, the total number of pledges received was 45, while the amount raised at this point $4055.00, as well, on this eventful day, December 9th, 2014 at 11:37am, after 100 days of consecutive cycling the 5,000 kilometer milestone was attained. Hooray!! Typical of athletes, once minor goals are reached, naturally one is thrilled, nevertheless in most cases; we’re already focused on the next pillar, these to ultimately lead, in our case to cycle 100,000 kilometers by October 12th (ten years beyond) on my 88th Birthday.
During our cycling quest, we are often questioned on how it is that we are involved in the little town of Vauxhall, in support of their Academy of Baseball. It seemed that in the tone of their inquiries, they had already assumed that somehow we had some prior connection to that area. So just as Charles Dickens admonishes the readers of the now Classic Christmas Carol, that his business partner “Marley was as dead as a doornail” and that “This must be distinctly understood or nothing wonderful can come of the story . . .” Indeed, in the same way, it was clear to us, that to those inquisitive people, they “distinctly understood”, that the Kitagawa’s they had heard of that were successful potato farmers in the Vauxhall area was not us, nor did we know anything of Vauxhall. Perhaps to the extent that even when one of the former Academy ball players factiously questioned whether “Vauxhall was even on the map of Canada”, that was us too; that is, until October 29th, 2005. On this day a story about Vauxhall appeared in the Calgary Herald, the city and Region section. It featured the headline “Vauxhall’s Own Field of Dreams Baseball Academy organizers convinced that after they build it, fame will come to town”. Clearly it was that headline that turned our heads. Southward! From this article, we were to learn the Jr/Sr High School were troubled with declining enrolments and were at risk of losing their school, a typical concern of many prairie towns. Their “push back” was to “Hitch their star to a sports school” a unique concept modelled by the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame, famous for their hockey program, at Wilcox, Saskatchewan.
Indeed for us, having a background of the fine art of pedagogy, and consequently having a full recognition of the importance of youth, they being our future, we got involved, pledging our support, initially, founding the Reno Lizzi Scholarship program (the program now funds 6 scholarships annually), later to be involved further in other functions, this fund-raiser the Pennies for K’s for JETS Baseball, being one. We, as are others, keen to make the dreams of these young student-athletes a reality. I suppose, in another sense, we see it as an investment in our youth, the potential leaders of tomorrow.
But for now, for Barbara and me, it’s “With a whoop and a holler and a dime and a dollar [we’re] lucky son of a gun[s] (Dime and a Dollar by Guy Mitchell)
Thank you ever so much for your support. Merry Christmas everyone and in the Christmas tradition of Tiny Tim “God Bless Us, Everyone!” (Christmas Carol)
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————Below is the 2nd most recent “Open Diary” that Jets ambassador Yukio Kitagawa has posted in his quest to bike 100,000 km’s over the next 10 years. Once a Jet….Always a Jet!
Nov. 30, 2014 – A Diarist Account “Pennies for K’s for JETS Baseball”
Since Franklin D. Roosevelt (U.S. President 1933-194) put his novel idea of providing the electorate an assessment of his stated goals after the first 100 days in office, thereafter, newly-elected leaders at all levels of government embraced the practice, to wit, it has now become a tradition. Given that the idea is responsible and effective, it seemed appropriate in our context as well, but with one proviso – our assessment is after only 91 days (Sept. 1st to Nov. 30th, 2014} for the “Pennies for K’s” a fund raiser for the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball.
So to begin, after successive days of cycling, we have now registered 4,633.86 kilometers (the goal 5000 kilometers in the period Sept 1st-Mar 31st). Relative to our pledges, we now have a total of 33. Thank You all, for that! (the goal is for 100 pledges), the amount to be raised a minimum of $10,000.00 (presently undetermined) and finally, Barbara matching each pledge, Thanks Barb! (she’s good to go on that)
We have now heard from people from St. Albert; “you’ve got what it takes”, from Lethbridge; “Thank you for inspiring us to live well and love the outdoors”, from Bragg Creek; Nice writing, good journaling and outstanding riding”, from Winnipeg; “Keep Cycling” and these words from Vauxhall; “Big hug for Yukio, bless him for all he does”; “Wow your commitment level and perseverance doesn’t surprise me. Yukio, please be careful”; “That Yukio is unreal. Please be careful in all that ice and snow and keep warm”. In that recent cold snap, with all that “ice and snow” with “slobber-knocker” wind chills, those kind words were so encouraging. Thank You.
We spent a few days in “K-Country” recently, enjoyed doing a couple of art classes in wood with our seniors and got in some great cycling. What with the paucity of snow in the Kananaskis, I was able to ride down from the Lodge to Hwy. 40. Heading north, the mountain scenery being so spectacular, it beckoned me to ride kilometer after kilometer. I suppose like Marie Van Trapp (The Sound of Music), differing only, she on the grassy plateau of the Alps and me in the majestic Rockies, who losing herself, spell bound, fascinated and surrounded by the sheer beauty, freshness of air and total enjoyment, lost track of time, only to return to the Abby late, out of breath, and apologetic to the Reverend Mother, that was me also, only to explain to Barbara, much easier. The fifth day there, a dump of 40 – 60 centimeters of snow transformed K Country into a “winter wonderland”. How exciting. Out came the “Big Surly” bike, heck, only fell off twice on the deep snow drifts, some of them not quite firm enough to ride over. Bring it on!
Thank you everyone; keep those pledges and e-mails coming. You guys are great!