Young baseballers aspire to ‘Kano’

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Mar 16, 2014 - Page 20

Young baseball players said they will pursue their championship dreams by playing the game with strong determination, mental toughness and teamwork, by emulating the heroic exploits of the renowned 1930s Kano team of Chiayi City.

A player surnamed Lin, from Taipei’s Dali High School, said he and his teammates were impressed by the fighting spirit and never-give-up attitude portrayed in the movie named after the team.

“We want to have the same courage and dedication as shown in Kano. By learning from it, we can reach the finals of the Black Leopard Banner competition this year and have a shot at the gold medal,” Lin said.

Dali High School students were among representatives from 10 youth baseball teams at a special showing of the movie arranged by the Sports Administration in Taipei yesterday.

Kano is a box-office hit, having grossed more than NT$150 million (US$4.9 million) in Taiwan since its release two weeks ago. The Taiwanese production is set in the 1930s and portrays the Chiayi City team, led by Japanese manager Hyotaro Kondo, as they play through to the final of the annual Koshien championship in Osaka, Japan’s most prestigious high-school baseball tournament.

Taiwan’s Black Leopard Banner tournament aims to find the top team from Taiwan’s high-schools. Previously, the Golden Dragon Banner competition ran from 1995 to 2003.

“The film enabled these players to better understand baseball’s history in this country. The Kano team displayed the spirit and core value of Taiwanese baseball,” Sports Administration director-general Ho Jow-fei said.

“When we make the children practice and teach them skills, we sometimes tell them about how it was done in the old days. They did not believe us,” Dali High School manager Liao Yuan-feng said. “Now they have seen what the game was like in Taiwan in the 1930s. They better understand the many complex layers of baseball, and can improve their game.”

The winner of the inaugural Black Leopard Banner was Taoyuan County’s Ping Jen High School. Officials have said preparations will begin in autumn for the competition, with games scheduled for December.