“My goal is to work with my team to win the league championship and be promoted to the first division,” says Takuma Komine, a third-year student in the Department of Business Administration, Faculty of Economics, without hesitation. He is the offense leader of the Athletic Association’s Men’s Lacrosse Club, and he also plays for a Japanese national lacrosse team. Here, he talks about the driving force behind his continued commitment to what he says and does since entering Meiji Gakuin University.
Takuma KomineThird-year student, Department of Business Administration, Faculty of Economics
An avid baseball player through high school. After coming to Meiji Gakuin University, he joined the Athletic Association’s Men’s Lacrosse Club, for which he practices daily. His other main interest is strength training, which he engages in whenever he has time.
I have a motto: “Do as you say.” When I was playing baseball, I had a keychain with that written on it attached to my bag. I attached it because it sounded cool, and it just seemed like something a baseball kid would do. But now I treasure those words, and I always keep them in mind as I put all my efforts into lacrosse. When I decide to do something, I see it through to the end. It is a very simple, easy-to-understand concept, but a difficult one to practice, so striving to realize it provides me with motivation.
A halfhearted baseball career
I started playing baseball when I was little and continued until my last year of high school. But reflecting on my time playing baseball, I think it was a life of inauthenticity, far from “doing what I say.” I wasn’t particularly good, but even so, I didn’t take baseball very seriously and seldom practiced on my own to get better. I think I had pretty much given up after seeing the gap in my ability compared to other players my age who were playing in high school. I was just playing as a continuation of something I’d been doing since I was younger. Putting in actual effort felt like too much of a hassle, and uncool.
Looking back, it feels like a wasted period of my life. I sometimes think that I could have had a more fulfilling childhood if I’d been more passionate and made more of an effort.
What I gained from being exposed to new things
Summer of my senior year of high school baseball. Our last tournament was over, and I knew I had to do something, but I did nothing instead. At that time, a friend asked me to join our high-school rugby team because they were short on players. I had nothing better to do, so I ended up playing rugby for six months as a fill-in. At first, I approached it as just a matter of helping a friend fill out his team, but being exposed to a sport I had never played was very refreshing. Because I was a beginner, I wanted to match my skill to those around me as much as possible, and before I knew it, I was putting my all into practice. I think the unique intensity of rugby made me particularly desperate.
That’s when I realized how wonderfully fun it can be to become absorbed in something and make an honest effort. So when I started college, I was ready to try something new. At first, I thought I would try sticking with rugby. I reconsidered, however, thinking I might be more enthusiastic about a competitive sport I could start in college. Just then, an upperclassman I knew from my baseball days asked if I would join the lacrosse team’s practice sessions.
Lacrosse uses a racket, so I thought it would be a good sport for me since I could apply my experience swinging a baseball bat. However, the most decisive factor leading me to join the club fully was something the director told me during a practice session: “Lacrosse is a sport where everyone can aim for the Japan national team, if they work hard enough.” His words really excited me, and I knew this was the kind of sport I wanted to do. I knew I definitely wanted to accomplish something while I was in college, so I decided to join the lacrosse club, where I could aim for the huge goal of joining the national team.
Believing my way through the Covid pandemic
I enthusiastically joined the club with the grand goal of representing Japan in lacrosse, but from the very beginning, the Covid pandemic prevented us from playing many games. It bothered me not to know how good the players at other universities were and the extent of the skill difference between me and them. However, since many lacrosse players start in college, I figured we would all be in the same circumstances, and the more I practiced, the better I would become. Rather than just practicing blindly, I made videos of plays and analyzed them. That allowed me to recall the plays I’d studied during games, visualizing them to play more smartly. So while I didn’t have many opportunities to see how much I had improved, I think I could stay motivated to practice because my teammates were frank and the team atmosphere was good. For that, I was and remain very grateful.
I was very lucky to have the opportunity to meet coaches and other personnel from the under-21 Japan national team, who were coaching at a joint training session with other universities that I attended on February 16, 2022. I played hard without being overly conscious of what I was doing, just trying to implement what I had been practicing. I was satisfied with the results, which gave me a little confidence in myself. On my way back from a practice session, a coach of the Japan national team contacted me, asking if I would be interested in participating in the under-21 Japan national team’s next practice. At first, I wasn’t really sure what that implied, but I knew it was a unique opportunity to get closer to my goal of joining the national team. I immediately replied that I would participate. I couldn’t believe it myself, but I was filled with a mix of happiness and nervousness at moving closer to representing Japan.
I started attending their practice sessions on February 19, 2022. The other players were older than me and had been playing together since a selection process in which I was not involved, so they had a mutual relationship, and I was kind of out on the edges, a complete stranger. Furthermore, before practice, a coach told me that this first practice would determine whether I’d be invited to future practices, so I remember being extremely nervous. But I was even more excited about the possibility of making it to the national team, my goal since I’d started playing lacrosse, and I was determined to make that happen. I don’t remember much after the practice started, but it was over before I knew it and when we were done, I was told they wanted me to keep coming to practices. I remember I was thrilled to have realized my initial goal of making the team.
Meiji Gakuin as my axis
I have had various experiences since being selected for the national team, including overseas tours. I gained a lot through those experiences, and I feel I am growing as a person. However, my main goal is to help lead Meiji Gakuin University to victory, so I am always thinking of how I can bring back the practices and trends I’m seeing on the national team so that we can implement them ourselves.
I’ve been given the role of the lacrosse team’s offense leader, meaning I’m in charge of our offensive strategies. No matter how skillfully I play, we will never win a game unless the whole team works together, so I want to be a player who can provide momentum for the whole team. There was a specific event that made me think that way: when we lost a relegation match. Last year, we were in the first division and the team atmosphere was a bit too relaxed, as if we could never be relegated. I myself didn’t think we could lose, so I was caught a little off guard. Once the game started, we found that our opponents were desperate for promotion, and they had been studying our strategies in detail, so the match progressed completely at their pace. That pace completely swept us away, and we lost because we couldn’t play as a team as we had in the past. I felt very ashamed for being unable to play in a way that would dispel the somber atmosphere that hung over the match.
This loss made me realize that being selected for the Japan national team was not my goal. Rather, my biggest goal was to use that experience to win games with the Meiji Gakuin University team.
Continuing to do as I say
My number one goal now is to lead my team to a first-division promotion, and I am determined to achieve that. This will be my last year playing alongside upperclassmen, so my current goal is to learn everything I can and send them away smiling because we got promoted together.
I am thankful to the lacrosse team for showing me how fun and difficult it is to do what you say, and to be enthusiastic and serious about something. I will give it my all over the next two years so I can leave without regrets. “Do what you say” will remain as words that move me during that time.