In honor of the 2018 Winter Olympics, this month topic will focus on the theme, “Competition” because the Olympics is where athletes from all countries join together to compete in sporting events. Through these events, we see how “competition” brings out the grit, the teamwork, and the competitive spirit within athletes. This month, we will be exploring anime and pop culture media that discusses the good and the bad when it comes to competition and what it can teach us about ourselves and the world around us.
So if you’ve been around for awhile, you might already know I’m sort of kind of maybe a little obsessed and in love with this one show called Ace of Diamond (lovingly called Daiya by it’s very devoted fanbase). And while I was thinking of doing something “outside the box” for this tour I ended up just going with Daiya. Or more specifically, Sawamura Eijun, our underdog of the story
In Daiya we follow a very typical sports anime story. We have Sawamura Eijun who lives out in the country and he loves to play baseball. So much that he convinced his friends to make a team with him and they even played against others, though they didn’t make it far. During their one game, unbeknownst to him, a scout from the prestigious Seidou High sees him pitch and finds his peculiar form interesting. She ends up contacting him and with a bit of a nudge from his friends, Sawamura goes out to the city to become Seidou’s future Ace!
Except it’s not as easy as it sounds. Proclaiming you’re going to be the Ace of a powerhouse school like Seidou while having zero skills will only get you a couple eyerolls, maybe a snicker, and maybe a couple glares from your upperclassmen who have been around longer and have the same goal
But for Sawamura these are just obstacles he needs to face and surpass. He immediately sets himself apart because of his loud nature and quirky form (as a southpaw) but throughout the series there’s one character that is his fated rival (as we usually see in shounen anime)
Sawamura wasn’t the only talented pitcher that was recruited that year. Nearly his polar opposite, Furuya also has a passion for baseball and where Sawamura falls short, Furuya exceeds. He has a powerful pitch that instantly gets him onto the first string and while not a perfect batter, he does end up being a huge help to Seidou’s offense. And as the series progresses, he also becomes a helpful member in Seidou’s defense as an outfielder!
While it pains me to say it, Furuya is much closer to being Seidou’s Ace than Sawamura. And he “achieves” this status later on, except even Furuya acknowledges that he’s missing something. Something that will make the others on the team depends on him and really treat him as the backbone of the team (something that I believe Sawamura has)
There are many reasons I love Sawamura and most of them have something to do with how he is in competition
Having Furuya as a rival is tough but Sawamura is usually positive about it. It irritates him that he lacks so many skills but he’s also supportive of his teammates. While in the dugout he always yells out words of encouragement, especially when it gets tough (though sometimes he gets a little tongue tied). He might not realize it but his competitive nature always pulls out Furuya’s best. Because Furuya knows he can be switched out, just a teasing remark from Sawamura can get him fired up. Sawamura also acknowledges stronger opponents and tries to learn from them (and he befriends them). Plus I just love his tenacity. Even when he’s down in the dumps, which we’ve seen quite a few times, he always comes back stronger and with new skills
OK So What’s This About Me?
I actually wanted to post this separately about a month ago but it never came to be and when this tour happened I thought it would be a nice place to write about this
As I was growing up I’ve had little places to be truly competitive. In highschool I always loved math and made it my goal to get the best possible grade. I remember in my last year I ended up taking two math classes, which I no longer needed. One was college algebra and the other AP Calculus. In my college algebra class, during exams, it somehow became a habit for my teacher to try and finish the test before me (he’d take them with us) but I’d always finish first. It made me giddy, finishing before the teacher and I was proud of myself. I mean, if I could beat the teacher *ego inflates* Likewise, in my AP Calculus class, I was one of the few people who actually understood what was going on and got good grades. It was to the point where people would ask me for help or I would work with the other “smart” students. Again, being one of the best students in my math classes always made me feel proud, but I also felt it was a given. I’d always done well in math so why should anything be different this time around? While I was being competitive, I didn’t really have a bar set
But after high school things are different. For one, I no longer needed to take any math classes and second, you find that getting to the top is much harder. You meet a lot of people who are just as good as you or even better
In college I didn’t have anything I was competitive about, possibly because I was too focused on somehow making it through the semester, possibly because the work ethics of everyone else was so new and scary to me. It’s only until recently where I regained something that I wanted to work really hard at (and it was at my current job)
At my job we often are split into groups and need to sell membership cards. We have two types of membership cards and each one is weighted differently. I was usually in the winning team because I was grouped with people who sold a lot of cards or because I actually got better at selling cards and helped my team take a lead. But then I met my “fated rival” and we had quite the competition. And I feel like I am not a very good sport. While I encouraged my team to sell cards and even tried my best to show them a few methods that would work, I felt that my mindset wasn’t for the team. I just didn’t want to lose. Which made losing that much more devastating to me (and we lost by like a fraction of a point #rip)
Finally being in this type of event made me realize that I need to change my mindset and I want to be more like Sawamura. I want to be able to work harder positively but also cheer on my team and properly congratulate whoever wins. I think it’s okay to feel some jealousy but I want that jealousy to push me to become better instead of stagnating me, which I feel is happening to me in many areas. And like all competitions, I want to learn something throughout that phase and to not just focus on the end result
Wow that was a little random but I hope I got something to come across. Hopefully you guys enjoyed this post, which is shorter than my usual posts? If you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out Andrealinia post and next up is Lyn