In Viz Media’s most recent Cross Game release, Ko and the rest of the squad begin their tournament, edging closer to the dream of making it to Koshien. As they battle squads that are more and more superior, the team keeps responding with wins.
But strangely enough, even as they win, the team seems to have less and less control of the games. One game ends with a downpour; in another Akaishi can’t control his emotion and plays poorly; and in yet another, Ko literally has control issues, walking a multitude of hitters even though his pitches are sizzling, approaching 100 mph. Their wins even come in strange ways, with Azuma hitting pop flies (something that must be common for him, but which Adachi never otherwise illustrates) and Senda, of all players, hitting a home run.
This theme of “lack of control” runs throughout the volume. And it’s not the games that demonstrate it most, but rather the hospitalization of Akane. Despite the unfairness of it all (to Ko and Aoba almost as much as to Akane), she must undergo surgery, which is depicted as being risky.
Ko tries to calm Aoba (and himself) by saying that Wakaba is watching over her little sister, and that she would protect Akane on her account:
Wakaba wouldn’t make you cry that many times.
Ko’s words are not only an attempt to ease Aoba’s fears, but also a way for him to try keep control in a situation that is out of his hands. But it’s actually Azuma’s words, from an earlier chapter, that reflect the uncomfortable truth of the volume’s events:
Some things, you gotta do. Other things, you can only have faith.
There are times when the only way we can respond is with faith.
In a situation like this, we can either struggle to attain something we have no control over, or we can let go. We might assume that the path of events that lead from such a situation is accidental or destined, or we might take the point of view, as I do, that I was never really in control in the first place – I am a part of a greater plan.
A show I watched this week made me remember this lesson in my life. In Monday’s Castle, the title character’s daughter is going through a “tough” choice for college (in quotes because she’s having so much trouble picking between Stanford, Oxford, Princeton, Sarah Lawrence, etc. We should all be so lucky…or rich.). This reminded me of my senior year in high school, where financial considerations and ultimately, an unforeseeable mistake on a university’s part made me decline acceptance into one dream schools and withdraw from another right before the start of the semester. I was inconsolable and devastated. Clearly, my 18-year-old self was sure that all my great plans had come to utter ruin.
I ended up at the state college in my city, one I’d arrogantly looked down at my whole life. But this was in fact a beginning of wonderful things to come – I reconnected with old friends (who are now lifelong ones); I found God; I moved to the city where I now live; and I met the woman who would become my wife and the mother of my children.
There was no reason for me to fear a lack of control over my schooling; a much wiser One was directing my life and leading me down paths that my decisions would have led me away from. I’m here where I am now because I was forced to let go.
The truth of the matter is this: as Ko and Aoba find out, you can’t always have control. And as I found out, sometimes losing control can be a good thing.
- Cross Game, Vol. 7 (A Case Suitable for Treatment)