Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"How Did My Son Get This Big?": Julie Sigtuna

Julie Sigtuna, the mother of Leafa Spirit right guard Gareth Kokonoe.

"How Did My Son Get This Big?": Julie Sigtuna

By Satsuki Ranjou
Spirit News
November 13, 2073

These days, Julie Sigtuna lives with her husband Toru Kokonoe in Whyalla, a shipbuilder's town located on the east coast of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. Sigtuna works as a housewife to Kokonoe, a former native of Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Kokonoe left the fighting business to work as a shipbuilder and an engineer.

His son, Garu "Gareth" Kokonoe, is a beast. Standing at 6'4", 300 lbs, Gareth, a recreational powerlifter, plays right guard and has seen limited playing time this year as a freshman for Dan Harding's Leafa Spirit Gridiron. Gareth is also a polyglot: he speaks English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish and Danish.

"How did my son get this big over the years?" asked Sigtuna in an interview with Spirit News. "I sometimes ask this question over and over again. He loves eating lean beef, eating protein shakes, powerlifting in our basement that I made (hence the nickname 'Mum's Basement'), doing 1000 crunches in two hours, doing squats and bench presses, eating more steak and chicken and fish, reducing the amount of rice he eats...and he's been doing this for the past 10 years that I raised him before he decided to head to Canberra.

"After Garu said goodbye to me and Toru, I went to the basement to take a look at the tapes he was watching. They're all football tapes. Not the football that's played here, but they are American football clips. I realized that he was training to play an offensive line position, and I never got to watch him practice because I don't look after him as much because I trust that he can make his own choices, and those choices are smart ones.

"I have to take care of my husband, so I can't travel to Canberra to see my son play gridiron. But I watch it on TV and I see him, No. 64, I think that's his number. He's really quick on his feet, can block really well, a really strong giant...and he's got his dad's ferociousness. I call him on the telly after the Homecoming Game, and I said, 'So that's why you're so big and strong and maybe a little pudgy.' He said, 'Mum, gridiron's a fun sport to watch. You should see me live one of these days. If not, I'll try to show you what I end up winning at the end of the season.'

"It's times like these I need to pay attention to what my son decided to do. I should have watched him in play club gridiron with the boys. I see football being tossed around instead of punched around. American football is usually more popular in Japan, but here in Australia, it looks like Leafa is making this code really relevant because the team's a winner. And my son loves to be a part of a winning team."