New League Starts Soon! The Brave Bearies to Play in the JD League, a World-Class Stage for Softball from NSK
The Japan Diamond Softball League (JD League), a new women's softball league, will start this spring. We spoke with the new team manager and new captain of the Brave Bearies, NSK's Women's Softball Team, which has been reorganized.
Team Manager, Brave Bearies
He played mainly as a catcher in the men's league and experienced being "the best in Japan" many times, including Japan League Champion. He also has experience managing corporate and high school teams. His motto is “Have fun!”
Team Captain, Brave Bearies
Quality Assurance Section, Ishibe Plant
Joined NSK in 2019. Her position is infielder. From Osaka, she loves comedy. At a JD League press conference, she performed manzai (a comedy skit) as an opening act to liven up the start of the new league.
◆New manager appointed
Starting with the 2022 season, the Brave Bearies, NSK's Women's Softball Team, will compete in a new league under a new team manager, Takayuki Morisawa.
MorisawaI joined the Brave Bearies this January and watched the players at spring training camp. The Brave Bearies have a lot of players who approach softball with a pure passion to get better and win, and that is a real strength for the team. A team cannot get stronger unless each member grows individually. However, I don't think it would be fun for them just to do what I say - and that wouldn't motivate the players anyway - so as manager, I will try to solicit their unique ideas and discover their strengths. In that sense, I had the players choose their own captain and vice-captain for the 2022 season. I believe that players make the team, so I want them to take the initiative to build a great team. I hope to support the players so that they can each have a fulfilling time playing softball while enjoying the game with a positive spirit and embracing the “Have fun!” attitude.
◆Conveying courage, excitement, and the appeal of softball by making great plays
MatsuoOur slogan for the 2022 season is, “From Shiga Prefecture to All of Japan: Courage and Excitement.” Our team totally depends on the support and understanding of the company and the local community. The support of our fans, friends, and family is what inspires us to do our best. That's why we created this slogan - to remember our gratitude for everyone who supports us and to express our aim to be the team that represents Shiga Prefecture. Recently, the Olympic Games brought more attention to softball than ever before, and spirits soared. We were really inspired. Next time, we will be in a position to inspire others. We will do our best to give people courage and excitement by showing what makes softball great and by playing great softball. The slogan is also meant to suggest our strong determination to not let the heat of excitement from the Olympic Games cool down.
Softball is often compared to baseball, but because the field is smaller than in baseball, everything is closer, so plays develop faster, in less than the blink of an eye. This is one of the great things about softball. Another wonderful thing about softball is that the uniqueness of each player, such as those with power and those who are fast runners, is on full display. Because of this, it's not uncommon for lower-ranked teams to beat higher-ranked teams. It's also interesting that you never know what's going to happen until the game is over. I want more people to think, “Softball is interesting,” “Softball players are cool,” and “I want to be a softball player myself!” To that end, first we ourselves will enjoy softball with all our heart and soul!
◆Aiming to be a team of free-thinking people, loved by the community
MorisawaAs a manager, my ideal is to build a team of people who think for themselves. So I will strive to build a team of players who think freely and take the initiative. In softball, players have a tendency to seek all their direction and answers from managers. However, if each person doesn't try out their own ideas, they'll never know whether they will fail or succeed. So, I'd like to make this a team where players think independently and try various things without fear of failure. Even in daily practice, I hope that in the future the players will be able to think about their current situation and make proposals for things they would like to do.
Additionally, as indicated in the team slogan, we would also like to focus on contributing to the local community. Not just softball, but sports in general, have a large influence on children. So, I would like to contribute to the development of the younger generation by offering short-term courses and other activities to teach softball to elementary, junior high, and high school students. Unfortunately, Shiga Prefecture is currently a place where softball is not as popular as in other parts of Japan. So, I hope to grow the Brave Bearies into a team that can energize and enliven the home area and become a team loved by the local community.
Our goal for the 29-game 2022 season is double-digit wins. We are working to create a strong team together by calmly analyzing our strengths, with everyone thinking about how we can capitalize on our strengths to win. I hope to build a solid foundation for a team that can grow to compete in the championship tournament within the next few years. The JD League is the pinnacle of the Japanese softball pyramid, and that is world-class. I will work to foster an environment that befits this lofty status.
MatsuoNot forgetting to be grateful to the people who support us, we will do our best in the new league to meet expectations. Please continue to cheer us on as always. Or if you learned about us for the first time because this article caught your eye, please start to support us! We are looking forward to the season.
◆What is the new softball league “JD League?”
In the regular season of the Japan Diamond Softball League(JD League), 16 teams are divided into East and West divisions, with each team playing 21 games. In addition, there is an inter-division series of East Division teams versus West Division teams, with each team playing eight games. There are 29 games per year. The regular-season standings are determined by a winning percentage.
At the end of the regular season schedule, the higher ranked teams in each division advance to the postseason. The NSK Brave Bearies are based in Konan City, Shiga Prefecture, so they belong to the West Division.
◆About the Brave Bearies, NSK's Women's Softball Team
Established in 1972, the team is based in Ishibegaoka, Konan City, Shiga Prefecture. The team slogan is Teamwork in Motion. Bearie, the team's mascot, is a warbler, the city bird of Konan City. The uniforms are decorated with bearings, NSK's main product.