Man Without Limbs Throws First Pitch at Baseball Game

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    One of today’s most-viewed videos on YouTube Japan shows sportswriter Hirotada Ototake throwing the ceremonial first pitch at the May 6th baseball game between Seibu and Rakuten:

    He dedicated the pitch to the people of Tohoku, who are working hard to recover from the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.

    Ototake is very famous in Japan for his bestselling autobiography, No One’s Perfect, which tells the inspirational story of how he overcame his physical disability with the help of a positive attitude and supportive family and friends:

    Ototake was born with no arms or legs, yet grew up in Japan living as normal and active a life as possible by dent of his own determination and the encouragement of his family and friends. In this first-person account, written for readers of all ages, Ototake recounts the day-to-day challenges of living without arms or legs. He describes his education at regular schools, where he gained acceptance of classmates and overcame the skepticism of the teaching staff. Fueled by an aggressive personality, Ototake participated in athletics, within the limits of his abilities, playing basketball in middle school and managing the footfall team in high school. In college, he faced the obstacles of facilities not designed to accommodate the disabled and began a career as an advocate for creating barrier-free environments in a nation that had ignored the disabled until recently. Ototake is unsentimental in his recollections of coping with a disability, challenging his limitations, dealing with curious reactions, and making a place for himself in society.

    The YouTube video has received a lot of comments. Most were very positive. Here are a couple examples:

    いや、お世辞とか同情とかじゃなく、素直にめちゃくちゃかっこい­いんだが。

    マウンドから誰の手も借りずに退場するという当たり前のことを、­当たり前にするすごさ。

    “I’m not saying this as an empty compliment or out of pity: that was really cool.

    The way he left that mound by himself, not obviously needing anybody’s help, was amazing.”

    障害者は俺たちかもしれない。

    “Maybe we are the ones who have disabilities.”

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