Today we taped some interviews at Mesa High for our MPS Sports Talk Videos and segments for our web-cast of Mesa High's 1000th football game. I asked senior Eugene McIlhenny about playing in the 1000th game. He spoke of Zedo Ishikawa and the story of 'Carry On'. He mentioned Mesa High was to play Gilbert in the game Zedo could not make before passing away. He said in a way they are all playing for him, since he could not play in that game, about how important that was, and how important it has been to the school and community.
I looked at Head Football Coach Kelley Moore and at the same time we both said "I've got goose bumps from that". It was a memorable moment to see how athletics, football, schools, communities, etc. can benefit from each other. I was inspired in 2012 by Eugene McIlhenny as he spoke of Zedo Ishikawa in 1930. Pretty cool moment!
Zedo Ishikawa, front row right in the middle in this 1929-30 Track team photo.
The motto, “Carry On,”is sacred in itself, as many of you reading this know. They were the last words of a 1930s Mesa football player named Zedo Ishikawa who died in a tragic backyard accident. On his deathbed, he told the Mesa High coach to tell the team to “carry on” just before he passed.
Mesa High students, after every game, win or lose, lock arms together in the stands and sing the school's song, “Carry On, Mesa High.” The football team, when returning from away games, stands up in the school bus and sings, “Carry On” as that bus enters the school parking lot. Sometimes the song is sung full of joy after a victory and sometimes it's not, but sung always.
The football team every August visits the Mesa City Cemetery and cleans around the grave of Ishikawa and walks the entire cemetery picking up around other grave sites. - John Goodie