Instead of a description of the rest of my spring break (which, I promise, will come eventually), this entry is going to be about Yu Darvish.
If I had to describe him in ten words or less (I think that phrase should actually be "ten words or fewer," which is grammatically correct), those words would be: Prodigy. Rock star. Barrier-breaker. Sex-icon. Ace. Controversial. Exotic.
That's ten words exactly.
Yu Darvish is a pitcher for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, a Japanese baseball team. He is half-Iranian, half-Japanese--and if you think that doesn't matter (or shouldn't)--in Japan, it does. Japan is largely a homogeneous country, with something like 99% of its population comprised of basically "fully-Japanese" people. Take this whatever way you want (and, FYI, the numbers are a little controversial), but "mixed-bloods" in Japan haven't always had it easy.
Anyway, moving away from that little spiel: Yu Darvish (who also goes by the name "Farid") was drafted by the Nippon-Ham Fighters in 2005, straight out of high school. Since then, he has become one of Japan's most celebrated pitchers (at least in skill).
An An, a women's lifestyle magazine. Then, in 2007, he married his girlfriend in what the tabloids (who love Darvish) deemed a "shotgun marriage."
Despite these small setbacks (or perhaps, one could argue, because of them), Yu has become an idol in Japan. As reported by the LA Times, "'I could write my scouting report in one word,' said a scout from a National League team who didn't want other organizations to know he was scouting the pitcher. 'Stud.'" (LA Times).
His former manager, Trey Hillman, quoted in the same LA Times piece, said "I think he can be the best in the world." Hillman has also compared Darvish to a mix of Fonzie and Elvis.
Needless to say, I am enthralled by Yu Darvish. Not only because of his good looks and god-like suave, but because his situation is fascinating. A half-Iranian, half-Japanese prodigy who has achieved rock star status on and off the mound in a country that still thinks a homogeneous nation is the bee's knees? FREAKIN' NEAT.
1) My citation sourcing consists of me copying the URL and posting it after the quote. Get over it. I'll do what I want.
2) Some good Darvish websites:
Darvish Watch: Who is Yu Darvish?
Yu Darvish - Best Pitcher in Japan?
Yu Darvish Official Site