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.