Sports are the world’s common language

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Sports are a language that everyone can speak.

That’s the beauty about it, especially for athletes like freshman Marisa Kume, who was born in Nagoya, Japan and didn’t start running organized cross country until her sophomore year of high school.

Kume lived in Japan until her sophomore year of high school before following her older brother to the United States for a study abroad program at

Redding Christian High School in Redding, Calif.

According to Kume, cross country teams are unheard of in Japan, so when the opportunity arose at her American high school, she jumped on it, or rather she ran, to it.

“The closest thing we have to cross country in Japan is track and field,” she said. “When I heard there was a small team at my high school, I was excited to try it out.”

Kume signed herself up for the team and the rest is history.

After deciding to continue her education in America at Linfield, Kume was excited for the opportunity to join a collegiate cross country team.

She was attracted to Linfield’s small size, the student-professor comradery and of course the rainy Oregon weather.

Despite English being her second language, she is speaking cross country pretty well.

She is the number two runner for Linfield, and placed third overall in the Linfield Harrier Classic.

“When I was in Japan, I liked running on my own,” Kume said. “Being on the team here is relaxing, but at the same time we all work hard. Everyone has to run for themselves and the team, which helps motivate me to work harder.”

In addition to being a hard-worker on the cross country team, Kume is a hard worker in the class room.

She is an exercise science major and wants to eventually become a physical therapist.

Kume compares athletics to her academic goals.

“I like running long distances even though its hard to keep going,” she said. “Similarly to running long distances, I have to be patient with becoming a physical therapist because I know it will take a lot of schooling.”

Competitors should not be fooled by the language barrier.

Although English may be her second language, just like her competitors, Kume hopes to make it to regionals.

“Yes, I am from another country, but I can communicate with people through sports,” she said. “Even though we don’t speak the same language, the basics are the same. Sports are the one way we can communicate with people from all over the world.”


By Sarah Mason/ Copy editor

[email protected]


Freshman Marisa Kume, an exchange student from Japan, holds her own at the Linfield Harrier Classic on Sept. 7. She finished third place at the classic with a time of 24:59.57.

Photo courtesy of Amanda Gibbon

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