Japan Players and Fans Show Respect in Defeat

Japan Players and Fans Show Respect in Defeat

In a World Cup Soccer (football to the rest of the world) game, there are approximately 90 minutes. At the end of 68 minutes, Japan was handily beating Belgium, 2-0. Belgium fought back, scoring two quick goals. With seconds remaining, Belgium scored the game winner. Belgium advanced to the semi-finals of the World Cup.

Needless to say, Japan was devastated. It was a crushing defeat. However, seconds after this defeat, the Japanese walked over to their fans and bowed to show their appreciation. Moments later the team entered the locker room, showered and proceeded to clean the locker room. They then wrote a thank you note to the Russians who hosted the event. While all of this was occurring, the Japanese fans grabbed garbage bags and cleaned their section of the stands.

Joe’s Perspective: My dad always told me to leave a place “a little better” than you found it. I always felt odd walking out of a movie theater with empty popcorn containers at the end of a movie, but my dad said it was important. Looking back, I know it’s an important lesson. Custodians aren’t there to pick up after me or you.

I never expected athletes or fans of a team to clean up after themselves. Not sure why, but it just never occurred to me.  I’m sure custodians can tell all kind of stories of athletes trashing the locker room. I bet it happens at the professional, collegiate and high school level. Yet, the Japan National Team took the time to provide this small act of kindness, responsibility and respect. This small gesture earned the respect of many onlookers, and maybe raised the bar for the expectation of athletes.  Nice job Japan.

Your Turn: After hearing about this story, what is your opinion of the Japanese National Team? Explain.


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  1. I think the Japanese team has truly set a great example of how players and teams should act. Despite losing, they didn’t act rudely. Often during a game, players tend to throw wrappers or water bottles. My coach tells us after every game to clean up our trash and leave the field how it was or better.

    I did not expect the Japanese team, or any team, to clean up after a game they lost. The team has showed me that even if they lost the game, they did not lose their respect for their opponents. Their gesture has definitely raised standards for athletes.

  2. I believe how we handle ourselves in our toughest moments ultimately defines who we are! The fans must have been disappointed but that does not mean they were going to make life harder for others! They truly have demonstrated they have a tremendous respect for all and that will go a long way in life

  3. i think the Japanese team should be looked up to for this. Showing good sportsmanship is tough, especially when you lose such an important game. The Japanese team is a great role model for all kids involved in sports because of how well they handled their loss.

  4. I think that the Japanese national team is a great example of how all teams should be, no matter the age or skill.
    I know that with my high school swim team we have to clean the locker rooms before we leave because the Rec Center is generous brought to let us use the pool before they open in the morning.
    Japan was just able to show mutual respect and bring it to a larger platform.

  5. I thinks it is important to recognize that humility is the root of a healthy team. Even though Japan was in the lead, they did not once give up. They continued to show their opponents that they are worthy of being champions, and after their loss they demonstrated that losing the match did not weigh down nor determine their abilities and strengths. It was not necessary for them to pick up the garbage, but their choice to do so defined their character.

  6. In opinion, many other people should follow Japans lead in this. That way the world would be cleaner and different cultures will be more respected.

  7. My opinion of the Japanese National Team is that they have really big and caring hearts. They weren’t asked to clean the stadium after the game but they did anyways out of the generosity of their hearts. This team has set a great example of how all teams should take part in cleaning up after games or meets to show their appreciation to those who came and supported them and to those who take care of them.

  8. I think the Japanese set a really good example for the others. It was very respectful of them to do that to help the custodians. It’s also a great way to show leadership and Mentor ship and Sportsmanship.

  9. One I think that the Japanese national team has a very good sportsmanship and are respectful towards the people who end up having to clean the stadium. so I call that a very good team

  10. I think more people should be like Japanese in the stands because really the only thing you have to clean in the locker room is your things. But the stand are dirty from everyone being there eating and drinking leaving there trash all over the floor.f everyone was like this in general the world would definitely be a better cleaner place

  11. My opinion on this is that they did this to show that by them losing it didn’t change anything or they didn’t want to show how they really felt out of respect.

  12. My opinion of the team and fans is that they are extremely nice people with great character. the fact that it was not even their home stadium and they cleaned it up was amazingly kind. Imagine if you hosted a part and people arrived and trashed your house (which typically happens at party’s) but then imagine just a small group of people staying back and cleaning you house for you. Now not the sharpest tool in the shed but i’m pretty sure that would make just about anyone happy. Also keep in mind the fact that the fans and players gained nothing from doing this they did this on their own time and effort. There was no pay and possibly not even a thank you but they did it a anyway and that is simply astounding.

  13. The Japanese soccer team showed it’s true colors through these small acts of kindness. The teams compassion and respect for the facility and it’s staff is unbelievable, in my opinion there should be more people who follow in their lead to act properly, not letting a loss of a game impact their attitude.

  14. I like what the Japan National team did because a lot of times now people are getting really upset about this stuff and don’t behave like they should. But this team showed everyone how it doesn’t have to be that way. I think this team showed lots of good sportsmanship.

  15. The Japanese team showed great sportsmanship and definitely took their defeat in a well mannered way. But was even more amazing was that their fans stood up like nothing happened and started to clean up their area. It was a very inspirational story and I think that everyone should live up to these expectations. Nothing more could be asked from the Japanese fans and players. This was a truly amazing story. One of my favorite blogs yet!