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第5回ジョッキーベイビーズへ

Ooikehayatokun_2今から2年前のちょうど今頃、私は北海道の別海にいた。別海と言われてもピンと来ない方が多いかもしれないが、羽田空港から中標津空港まで飛行機に乗り、そこから車で1時間ほどのところにある。騎手の原点を探し求めるために、浦河ポニー少年団が参加するレースを別海まで見に行ったのである。そこには現在、中央競馬の騎手課程でデビューを目指している木村拓己くんや弟の和士くん、福久紗蘭さん、大池悠梨香さんら、北海道地区の草競馬の錚々たるジョッキー少年、少女たちがいた。その中の1人として、当時最年少であった大池駿和くんもいたのだ。

 駿和くんは今回参加した浦河ポニー少年団の9人の中では最年少にあたる。6人兄弟の真ん中であり、1番上のお姉さんは第3回ジョッキーベイビーズに出場することになった大池悠梨香さん。お父さんは装蹄師という競馬一家である。

 「レースを見たけど、かなり速いよね。怖くないの?」と駿和くんに尋ねると、「全然怖くないよ」と強気な答えが返ってきた。
「でも、馬に初めて乗ったときは怖かったでしょ?」
「最初から怖くなかった。馬に乗ってから一度も怖いと思ったことはないよ。たぶんバランスがいいんじゃない。バランスはいい?」  
逆に質問をされた。私は返答に困って、
「うーん、昔はよかったかもしれないけど、今はダメだな」  
とだけ返した。
「そっか、子どもはバランスがいいからね」  
と彼は妙に納得してくれたようだ。  

あとでその話を彼のお父さんにしたところ、駿和くんも最初は相当にビビッていたとのこと。でも、今はジョッキーを目指しているそうだ。

(「未来を生きる子どもたちへ」ROUNDERSvol.2より) 

今週の日曜日に行なわれる第5回ジョッキーベイビーズの出走表には彼の名前がある。あの小さかった駿和くんが…、ポニーレースが終わったあとの自由時間には仮面ライダーのショーを見て喜んでいた駿和くんが…、卵と酢とサラダ油を容器に入れてどっちが早くマヨネーズをつくれるか競争した駿和くんが…、東京競馬場の広大なターフを駆ける日が来るなんて。あのときは想像すらできなかった。子どもたちの未来に向かうスピードの速さに驚きつつ、遅れを取り戻すためにも、東京競馬場で疾走する駿和くんに会いにいきたいと思う。

せっかくなので、「ROUNDERS」vol.2に書いた「未来を生きる子どもたちへ」を無料で公開したい。ひとりでも多くの競馬ファンに読んでいただき、私が別海の地で浦河ポニー少年団に教えてもらったことを知ってもらいたい。かつて私たちも子どもだったということを。

☆無料PDFダウンロードはこちら
Miraiwoikirukodomotatihe
プリントアウトして読んでいただけると嬉しいです!

☆第5回ジョッキーベイビーズの詳細はこちら
http://www.jra.go.jp/news/201310/102601.html#3_2

現在のランキング順位はこちら

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