What we can learn from athletes[Apr 2018]

Fuden-An: Leaves from a Tea-Journal

What we can learn from athletes[Apr 2018]

KOBORI Sojitsu (the 13th Grand Master of the Enshu Sado School )

While we have recently become accustomed to unseasonable weather, the weather since the beginning of this year has been particularly changeable. The wild difference in weather across different parts of Japan has been particularly notable this year.

When I visited the city of Kanazawa the other day, which had just been hit by heavy snowfall, the streets were piled more than a meter high in snow. I became very worried about other cities in the area such as Fukui which were said to have suffered even more snowfall.

The winter Olympics were held in Pyeongchang in South Korea in the end of February. The event was unprecedented in how it was both a record breaking success for the Japan team in terms of the number of medals won and an event that was repeatedly covered in the political news. There were not only political issues between nations, but also a focus on how commercialized the IOC had become in the way it made arrangements for sponsors and the favorable treatment it afforded bigger nations. There were many aspects of the event which gave the impression that the athletes were not given the consideration they were due.

What matters most, however, are the athletes. We were moved by both the winners' performances and the good sportsmanship of the losers. I imagine that, when it comes to winter sports, stadiums have many restrictions and training grounds are in short supply, so athletes representing different nations share time and space together much more than in other sports. I can see figure skaters who have known each other since their teenage years, even if they were rivals, spending time together in the same places. This could be a reason why, after the competition, they are so respectful and praising to each other.

I was very fortunate to have the chance to watch live four events in which the gold medals were awarded to Japanese players. Each moment of victory was breathtaking and I found myself shouting and crying with tears of joy. There is joy and there is regret and we need both in our lives. I must consider what I can learn from this and to use what I have learned in my practice of the art of tea.