By HyunCheon Kim
Translated SeungYeon Woo
For the upcoming Korean sports event, commemorating the 67th Korean Independence Day, many New England Koreans are participating enthusiastically; thus, the sports event is expected to be full of an air of festivity.
The ‘67th Korean Independence Day Sports Festival' is organized by the Korean Society of New England (KSNE), and it will open at Arsenal Park in Watertown at 9 am on Saturday, August 11th.
Previously, most participants were from large-scale Korean churches; however, there are many other participants from non-church organizations for this year's meeting, such as the Massachusetts Taekwondo Association, Boston Korean Baseball League, and Jong-Ro Institute, and it seems to be more highly elated.
Also,the previous teams from churches are willing to play every event, and this will lead more people to participate in the sports event this year.
Moreover, since the Boston Daehan Athletic Association (President Hyung-gu Cho) will manage the event with KSNE; the tournament will be operated very smoothly and efficiently.
The biggest improvement of this year's sports event is the participation of members from non-religious organizations, which satisfies KSNE's purpose to make the event more accessible to Korean people who are not church members. Since the Korean American community was dominated by churches, it gradually became a barrier for non church members to take part in such an event.
Also, KSNE changed the rule in order to encourage small-scale groups to participate easily by abolishing the overall championship and giving first prize for every event.
Nevertheless, the groups from large-scale churches should be on their toes, because the small-scale teams are mainly comprised of young people, who love sports, especially baseball and basketball, and are doing intensive training for the athletic meeting to win a victory.
The captain of basketball team from Jong-Ro Institute, Seung-woo Lee, was glad to hear about distinguishing the winner for each event and said, “My team will do the best to win first prize.” He already made contact with the opponent team, and has been leading practice games within his team and strategizing. The team is made of the staff of Jong-Ro Institute and their students.
Also, the Boston Korean Basketball Team, which belongs to the Massachusetts Taekwondo Association, is composed of members who enjoy playing basketball all the time, and they are very excited to have the competition. There is a rumor that some of the members are former basketball players.
The coach of the basketball team, Joon-won Lee, said he decided to join the athletic meeting in order to build friendships among Koreans and to introduce the basketball team to others. “Although it's a friendly match, we still aim for victory. We've been practicing twice a week,” said Lee.
The Boston Korean Baseball Team will play softball, and they are expected to show their usual skills that they have been improving.
On the other hand, teams from the Korean churches are somewhat relaxed. Byung-hak Ahn, the leader of the athletic team of North Boston Korean United Methodist Church, said, “We are attending the game as usual but since there are less young people in our team, I think the team condition won't be like previous years,” and he added that participating in order to promote friendship is the significant matter as the event is for commemorating Korean Independence Day.
Cambridge Korean Church and Hopkinton Korean Presbyterian Church also have the same situation as North Boston Korean United Methodist Church. St. John's Korean United Methodist Church, who has not joined the athletic meeting for 2 years, is also joining for this year by participating in foot volleyball.
Another reason to increase the participation of Korean teamsis that two new events are created to take the place of volleyball: coed dodge ball and women's kickball.
According to Kyung-sup Shin, the athletic department head of Cambridge Korean Church, “there are more female members participating this year since some events have changed. Most of them are playing dodge ball as coed and also they are playing kickball.”
It is also new that a team of the Boston Korean Consulate General is participating in the athletic meeting for the first time. Moreover, the Overseas Election Commission team, formed of members in their20s to 30s, is participating in foot volleyball.
It is interesting to see how the reform of KSNE’s sports festival will make a successful outcomein attracting more Korean participants.
ⓒ 보스톤코리아(http://www.bostonkorea.com), 무단전재 및 재배포 금지