Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Here come the Castle Town Dandelions!

An Shirogane, Akane Sakurada and Karen Ayugase, 
the mothers of Cole Shirogane, Jack Fukushina and Ben Ayugase.

Here come the Castle Town Dandelions!

By Naoto Suzukawa
The Spirit News
October 8, 2075

Nicknamed the "Castle Town Dandelions," cousins Cole Shirogane, Jack Fukushina and Ben Ayugase hail from Launceston, Tasmania and have officially signed with Dan Harding's Leafa College Spirit for the 2076 college gridiron season. Shirogane is a wide receiver, Ayugase is a left end and Fukushina is a halfback. All three are projected to earn ample playing time next year as key components of the vaunted Leafa Spread Option package.

Akane Sakurada, Jack Fukushina's mother.

"When I was age six, Ben and Cole and I would go out and head to this sports store in the center of town," said Jack from his home in Launceston. "The shopkeeper, a Mr. Ben Dover, would show us some sports equipment from different sports around the world. We saw this giant American footy and we thought, hey, let's buy it. So we did.

"I would pretend to play quarterback and play catch with Coley and Benno would try to tackle him. So mum (Akane Sakurada), she tell us, 'Boys, do you want to try playing for a local juniors side?' I said, 'Sure thing mum!' We ended up joining the O'Keefes Gorillas and we never looked back."\

Karen Ayugase, mother of Ben Ayugase.

"As the story goes," said Ben (also known as Benno), "we became big stars on the Gorillas and the Leafa scouts were actually putting us on the radar since we were 15. The day came that we were invited to come to Homecoming Week on an all-expenses paid official visit to Canberra to watch them face Boise State. I saw some really big guys hitting hard and punishing the Broncos. I was sold. It was easy. And it was a breeze."

"We signed on the X, all three of us," said Cole. "Then we breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that we won't have to worry about people saying, 'Hey, why are you playing across the Pacific; don't you know you blokes have it better out here?' We wanted to be part of the Spirit, and we got our wish. So now we need to finish up our studies because we begin our university life next January."

"I'm actually quite excited that I will get all this playing time as the first halfback from the class of 2079," added Fukushina. "Ever since mum chose to live a quieter life away from the public eye and marry the one person that fell for her, my dad, I've been having a good time working on my studies and studying the game of gridiron. It's a fun sport. Everybody needs to play at least the flag variety or watch a tackle football match. It's real fun; you won't regret it."