Monday, May 12, 2014

American Football in Japan?

     That's right, you read that correctly...AMERICAN football in Japan. As I've mentioned in previous posts, Paul Rusch-the founder of KEEP-is called the 'Father of American Football in Japan'. It is only fitting that there is a Paul Rusch Memorial Game every year at KEEP. Each year a team will play the St. Paul's University, or Rikkyo Gakuin, Rushers. St. Paul's is considered the kind of the home team for KEEP because that was where Paul Rusch started as a professor. This is their Facebook page if you want to check them out. This year they happened to be playing another Anglican university, St. Andrew's, or Momoyama Gakuin, Thundering Legion Lions located in Osaka. As soon as I found out about the game, I asked my managers if I could take a long lunch break to go watch, which of course they obliged. I was introduced to one of their coaches who felt like he had to introduce me to everyone, which was a blessing because he introduced me to a very nice family whose son was playing for the Rushers. The husband was British and the wife Japanese and they told me the story of when their son came home and said he wanted to play American football of all things--why not cricket or rugby?!? Their son was a wide receiver and has played in camps in the US and really hopes to one day to go over and play at the college level. From what the family told me he's pretty dang good, but still a freshman so he has some time. Having someone to look for on the field and root for made it feel like I was back at home all over again, minus the fact that Mt. Fuji played the backdrop for the game. How often can you say you got your Sunday football fix in Japan?
Driving up to KEEP's American Football fields--not a bad view, eh?
Rushers vs. Thundering Legion Lions--there's a university in Japan whose mascot is a lie.
Noda-san from the head office announcing the game.
Both teams praying before the game.
The St. Paul's University Rushers.
The captains exchanging gifts before the game--a very Japanese tradition.
Kick off.
Fuji was actually the backdrop for this!
Wasn't the best field to play on, but they managed.
End of the game.
American Foootball in Japan!
Until next time,


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  3. this is awsome! is there anyway to get in contacts with teams? I've been looking but to no avail