Defeat is not something I can understand.
I blame my American heritage. Having become what seems like a giant, lumbering example of complete failure, America still refuses to accept, acknowledge or believe in any failure within our borders.
We’re taught from an early age that failure is for weak people, like Canadians and Mexicans. If you ask me the loser of any event throughout our glorious history, not only will I be completely unable to acknowledge these failures, but neither will any of my kin. Failures have been stricken from the records of our history books, unless of course you attend one of those lame, wussy liberal arts colleges. Good luck with that degree in Latino Chicano Lesbian Feminist Studies, loser.
Losers are deleted so that the most epic achievements of our most triumphant gladiators can be championed in whatever fields they do battle, even if they do steroids and blow lines between plays.
Losers are the people that, shoulders bent in eternal defeat, pump my gas, make my McCafe Carmel Mochas, and help serve me on my Taco Bell Diet.
So as you might imagine, I was in for a bit of a shock during my first couple of years in Japan when I ran into this:
Watching a few rounds of the Japanese High School Baseball Tournament, I was assaulted by intense camera footage of losers, crying, shoveling little mounds of dirt into pouches, followed by more crying, later to be shown on the news, crying a bit more.
Where’s the winning team? Why were the cameras so focused on useless rejects? Get them off the field and get to more games involving the victorious! Aren’t there death camps for these failures?
…And so went my first exposure to Japan’s cultural interest in the defeated. I came to learn that the process was more important than the outcome, and through effort and hard work, their effort was also appreciated and cherished.
It’s like when a girl applauds you after a tiny-dicked, 3-minute sex session:
“Thanks babe, maybe they should throw me a victory parade down the streets of Tokyo.”
I began to accept it as Japan’s little thing (pun intended, points up), some wacky culture where losers are beloved and worshiped. Maybe the 3 minute man is a god here. That’s cool man, I took enough cultural communication classes in university to know that things like genital mutilation, kidnapping your wives in Central Asia, and letting sports-men cry on TV isn’t my culture, and that I shouldn’t try to judge it based on my sphere of cultural understanding.
I gave it a pass, I moved on. I even kind of learned to enjoy this quirky little land where people respect failure. I just learned to let it all slide…
The World Cup is coming.. I’d like to root for Japan (Unless they face the greatness that is the USA). Unfortunately, they have so embraced failure as their modus operandi that I can’t even fathom how I could even marginally feel comfortable cheering for such mediocrity and sadness.
I like my American heroes, of uber-awesome stature and the belief that we could put our greatest sports-men in any competitive venture and they would emerge victorious, because they are American and thus, like half-god Herculean creatures.
This isn’t a realistic expectation, but we believe it, because we have hopes and dreams for our athletes.
Perhaps I’m over-exaggerating, but Japan needs a dose of this medicine. I know that Japanese people are a humble bunch, but it sometimes seems like a deep and honest belief that Japanese athletes can’t compete on a world stage and that failure should be expected.
I’m sick and tired of qualifiers and excuses.
I don’t want to hear anymore that Japanese athletes can’t compete on a world level due to size, speed, or enlarged vaginas. It sickens me to see people so convinced that they can’t do something.
Apparently, it’s the kind of idea that trickles up, as Japanese coach Okada seems solely focused on his team getting to the Semi-finals of the World Cup, instead of actually winning the fucking thing and JFA’s Ogura seems hesitant to even admit they’ll get that far.
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?
Listen Japan, it’s nice that you honor losers, but if you remain trapped in a mindset where you expect less than complete victory and categorize yourselves as less than that of your opponents, you’re already stepping on the field defeated.
I don’t want to leave you behind, but I far prefer teams that have hopes and dreams.
South Korea, what you doing this weekend? Wanna hang out?