by Monika Jingchen Hu
I have been reading a classic Japanese manga – Slam Dunk (story of senior high school guys with basketball), and watching its animation adaptations for the past couple of weeks. The first time that I watched the animations was in 1998, 14 years ago, when I was in fourth grade. At that time, I had high expectations of my senior high school years, which would be in 6 years, hoping it to be full of youthful events, just like what all those characters in Slam Dunk, who had lived their lives to their fullest by playing basketball for fun and achievement.
My high school years weren’t like what I had hoped for, but they were an amazing experience for me, in their own special way. However, I always feel it a pity that I couldn’t have lived a life like Sakuragi (leading character in Slam Dunk) when I was about his age, and every few years, I would go through all Slam Dunk animation episodes and manga books. The last time I did this was in my second year in college, and now I am in my second year in graduate school.
Every time I went through the whole story, I was very much encouraged by their determination to win and achieve and pursue dreams, and of course their good-looking faces, and now more obvious than ever, their youthfulness. Somehow I believe I can still be the young girl 14 years ago, fascinated by Slam Dunk stories, truly believing that life in the near future can be as extraordinary as theirs. I don’t know how to make these irrational thoughts, but my feelings are as strong as always. I guess this is the beauty of a brilliant piece of work, which once you had touched, it grew into you and you grew with it later on.
Something worth noting is that, being a person who has never taken sports seriously, I always play sports for fun. These recent months I have been playing badminton over weekend with some guys, and as usual I just play for fun and exercise. However, ever since I grew fascinated by Slam Dunk stories a couple of weeks ago, I started to have a strong will to win, and with that idea in mind, I became more focused and somehow played better. These brought me more interesting games and more victories, and therefore much more enjoyment. By now I really wish my obsession with Slam Dunk lasts long, to keep myself motivated, not only for badminton, but also for many other things in life.