Ei-Chan finally decided that he really wants to go pro so he secretly does some research at Kageyama’s place and then delivers a presentation to his parents to show them just how serious he is about it. As we all expected, Ei-Chan’s mother was entirely against it, not wanting him to waste any time straying from studies for the sake of having more time to practice tennis. So Ei-Chan came up with a (risky, if I do say so myself) proposal where as: If he doesn’t win the All Japan Junior tournament, he will have to give up on his dreams of going pro and return to his usual studies for college. It is risky because while Ei-Chan made it into the Top 4 in the last tournament, there’s no telling what could happen in the next one. Fortunately however, by accepting his mother’s condition, Ei-Chan is not only going to have more time to train, but because the stakes are so high for him, it can either work to his advantage or disadvantage when it comes to playing hard against a difficult opponent. A few weeks ago I mentioned that if Ei-Chan needed something at stake, and now he has it, a terribly precious one at that. But without a doubt, it will make Ei-Chan work harder than he ever has in his entire life.
Seeing Soji play in a professional match was the last push of affirmation that Ei-Chan needed to know that he wasn’t just saying things, he wants it. The idea of being able to play a sport that he loves so passionately for a career and the opportunity to play against powerful opponents is exactly what Ei-Chan wants- and trust me, it is an exhilarating feeling- it really is.
Now, Soji is giving him an opportunity of a lifetime to play a match against him (a pro: ranked 252 in the world). Although I do have some worries about Ei-Chan being too overwhelmed by it, I also believe this will be a huge stepping stone for him to become stronger than ever. As another thing I have mentioned in my previous entries, Ei-Chan having the opportunity to practice with Takuma was a HUGE advantage because players will ALWAYS improve when they are consistently playing against a powerful opponent. And I am sure, had Ei-Chan not ever had the chance to practice against Takuma, he wouldn’t have grown as quickly.
It was nice to finally hear the initial reason why Natsu wanted to go pro. She was the one who in fact had introduced Tennis to Soji (a childhood friend of hers) only to be surpassed within a year’s time. But now Natsu wants to be a professional because the loves the sport so much.
I am definitely excited to see how much stronger Ei-Chan will become since he is a diamond in the rough. He will need to become stronger than ever now that he had helped his opponents realize their weaknesses and what they need to address if they want to reach the top. He is also extremely fortunate to have the STC already agree to full back him up (aka train him) to become pro as they have high expectations (especially when they don’t usually do this for a player that didn’t win the whole tournament).