Rikkyo Baseball Game
Saturday we went to the Meiji Jingu Stadium (not the shrine) to see the Rikkyo vs. Waseda baseball game. I personally like baseball. I used to go to games with my dad and every now and then I’d watch it on TV with my mom. However, I will admit that baseball does have its boring moments. I think that’s the reason a lot of my friends back home didn’t particularly care for baseball. However, even the people who think baseball is boring probably would have enjoyed this game.
I have to say, going to a baseball game here in Japan was totally different than going to a baseball game back home. Then again, the thing to keep in mind is that today I went to a college baseball game. If I had gone to a regular professional baseball game, things may have different. The game was obviously still the same, but the atmosphere was totally different. Unfortunately we technically weren’t allowed to take pictures. It had to do something with the fact that we were in the cheering section. I think it had something to do with the privacy of the cheerleaders, but I’m not sure. However, I did manage to sneak a few pictures, as did a few of the other international students.
As I mentioned before, there was a cheering section at the baseball game, and I think that was the most surprising part for me. Some of the cheerleaders wore a traditional cheerleader uniform while others wore an outfit that matched the team’s uniforms. Not only were there cheerleaders, but the band was also there too! Both the band and the cheerleaders were quite animated and I felt like I was back at a high school football game. The band members would walk up and down the rows of seats that were vacant as would the cheerleaders. There were also guys on the cheering squad, but they just yelled and led the chants. They didn’t do any of the actual cheer routines. I almost couldn’t watch the game because I was too busy watching the cheerleaders. It may have been just a little too excessive, but it definitely made the game way more enjoyable than just sitting there.
Surprisingly, Rikkyo beat Waseda. I say that it was surprising because from what I heard, Rikkyo is on the lower end of the bracket ranking wise. Although, the 9th inning was a little scary. Entering the 9th inning, it was 4-1 with Rikkyo in the lead. Waseda was the away team so they batted first. Well, at one point, the bases were fully loaded and there were no outs. I was so worried that Waseda was gonna hit a grand slam and come back to win the game, but we lucked out. The final score was 4-1.
The end of the baseball game reminded me of why I like Japanese culture so much. In America, at the end of baseball games, and any other sports game, all the players shake hands (some people do high fives instead), but to me I always felt like this was rather pointless (and I can say this because I played sports). The handshake after the game is supposed to show good sportsmanship and recognize that everyone played their hardest. However, I feel like that end of game handshake has lost of its meaning. I feel like most people do it just because they have to, and not because they’re appreciating the other team. It’s a half-hearted handshake, and some players barely even take hold of your hand.
At the end of this game, all the players line up to face one another and bow to one another. However, it isn’t just some half-hearted bow. It’s a deep bow. Sure, some players may still just be doing it because they have to, but somehow I don’t think that’s the case. Japanese just generally show more respect to one another. Then after the players bowed to one another, each of the teams turned to face their respective cheering sections and bowed to them as well.
Then, something I wasn’t expecting happened. First, I have to mention that at the end of the game, each of the cheering sections raised a really big version of the school’s flag. The Rikkyo students did some chant (that I couldn’t understand) and played the school song. Then, the two cheering sections lowered the flags towards one another, symbolizing the two cheering sections bowing to one another. Then the Waseda cheering section did their chant and song, and again the flags bowed to one another. Also, while Waseda did their song and chant, the Rikkyo students were perfectly quiet. Even though the regular audience members were leaving, nobody in the cheering sections made a move. Everybody waited patiently until both Rikkyo and Waseda were done, and then started to leave. I don’t feel like Americans have that kind of respect towards one another. Once they get what they came for, they go home.
Overall, the baseball game was a really cool experience, and I look forward to going to a professional game next month.