Sunday, November 28, 2004
flag football, competition, harmony
It doesn't get more beautiful than that ^... another beautiful sunset in Seattle, viewed from "The Lid" park on Mercer Island.
A bunch of the us guys got together to play that most celebrated of American Autumn games - flag football. It was a match of Beacon Hill supremacy, pitting a team of young bucks from SCAC against a allied team of old geezers from CBC and other churches. Or, a better way to imagine the contest: current AACFers vs. ex-AACFers (like myself). We played 7 on 7.
It was a close contest and a battle of the wills - however, CBC carried the day by a score of 2 - 1. The speedy SCAC offense scored the first touchdown, but the intimidating CBC offensive / defensive lines and a crushing CBC defense (4 stops and an interception) won us the game.
The team, AKA "Old Folks AACF All-Stars":
That's right, we had more than 7 people... nothing like a little bit of rotation to keep everybody fresh and running fast. ;)
The competition was pretty intense, but things never got heated except once during the game after a physical collision between players. Once might credit the fact that we all wanted to just play with keeping the peace, but I'd like to think that it the brotherhood of faith that kept things civil and fun.
Good game, everybody!
When I played football today, it was good to see a lot of the guys I haven't seen since almost a year ago when I left for Japan. Running into G-Sak (who himself was in Tokyo/Yokohama this past summer), we couldn't help bust out the cliche...
He asked me what I missed most about Japan, but I had trouble at the moment really saying anything specific besides the little things (some of which I listed here)
. Now, that I've given it some more thought, I have a better answer (ha, hours later)... I miss the harmony of Japan.
Harmony (this Chinese character, pronounced often "wa" in Japanese) is a very important concept in Asian culture, but perhaps no country has taken in to an extreme like Japan. People are socialized from a young age to preserve harmony in both their surroundings, relationships, etc.
For example: keeping a clean and organized space around the home; being perfectly groomed and attired for every occasion, even leisure; trying to build a group consensus as soon as possible by consulting everyone's opinions.
I witnessed it myself a more than few times when I would teach children's classes - if one team started to rack a higher score than the other team, the winning team would suddenly start to "lose" to allow the other team to catch up and eliminate embarassing point gap. It's not to say that competition doesn't exist in Japan... but the attitude toward it is quite different. Competition is an exercise, a task, or a process... never an ideal.
Coming back to America though, I'm brought back to country that raises up competition as virtue - even to the point of ruthlessness and cruel domination. Popular American culture constantly espouses that "fair play" is inherent in our competitions, but fair play is also simultaneously mocked as old fashioned and weak - because in the American paradigm, there are only two groups: winners and losers. And if you're not a winner, you're a loser.
If in America, our ideas about competition were limited to just sports, it'd be bearable. But we're constantly applying this "winners and losers" mentality without a sense of its flaws to complex issues like war, social justice, ethnic tensions, religious beliefs, etc... the results are messy. Very messy. American strife. whoo-hoo!
Back to sleep.
i enjoyed that entry. thanks.Post a Comment
if it's all really as you say,
maybe it's time to go to japan.
getting pretty tired of life here.