I realize it starts a bit abruptly I have two choices for my common app essay
I'd appreciate any comments! thank you!
Having visited Japan earlier the summer before the tsunami hit I felt a closer connection to the terrible destruction that had engulfed Japan. While there I was introduced to a vibrant culture with hard working people and warm hospitality. I knew I had to do something for those people who had welcomed me with open arms and refrained from mocking my lack of chopstick prowess. After a few failed ideas I decided to hold a cricket and basketball tournament to raise money for relief in Japan. Hours of time spent gathering sponsors, advertising, creating teams, and organizing other logistical details culminated on April 9, 2011.
At first a few people showed up with their cricket bats and balls in tow, then a few more with basketballs, some people brought lacrosse sticks and soccer balls, slowly the event began to grow and the games began. While it was not surprising to see a basketball tournament, it was surprising to note that more people were there to play cricket than basketball. Everyone from teenagers to parents were here to play, umpire, or just watch cricket and a large number of these people had never played cricket until the day of the tournament. Parents who had met for the first time bonded over hot chai and homemade cupcakes while taking in the surprisingly intense cricket tournament. Younger children found joy in throwing water-balloons at the cricket and basketball players, others talked, threw lacrosse balls around or kicked around a soccer ball. Regardless of what they were doing everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and were here to show their support for the relief efforts in Japan.
I watched as the cricket ball flew from someone's hand, he had never played cricket before but was great for his first time. On the other side of me one could hear the swoosh of a basketball falling through the net and a lacrosse ball flew past me. Here diversity was truly brought together, a diversity of activity, a diversity of age, a diversity of food, a diversity of people all came together to support a country half way across the world.
That day we raised about six hundred dollars; although this was not a large amount it has given me the drive to continue my efforts to raise money for relief efforts across the world. Looking back at that event I realized the people of Japan had once again given me something worth much more than I could ever give back: the realization that when diversity is brought together there can be magic.
Overall, solid essay. I think it would be better if you refrained from using "diversity" in your last sentence, since you have repeated it multiple times throughout the essay. Also, it wouldn't hurt to talk about what you actually saw in Japan. It's always a plus to be extremely detailed and descriptive, as it will show universities that you felt connected to the scene and was inspired by what you saw. Great story nonetheless!