After moving here to Japan from Chicago about 5 years ago, I thought I said goodbye to my football career. Then I met a guy who knew a guy that gave me a full scholarship to play football at Teikyo University, and the rest is history. I still can’t believe that story to this day. I played my 4 years, I work with the Japan American Football Association and now I’m an event organizer for the Notre Dame Japan Bowl that is taking place on July 25th (Sat.). There have been a few American Football events throughout Japan’s 75 year history of football, including the “Samurai Bowl”(Ivy league Alumns participating in a spring All-star game) and even a couple NFL pre-season games.
Believe it or not, there is an American Football World Cup every 2 years. Japan has won it all TWICE! Of course, America hadn’t participated until last year. And even then, they didn’t exactly bring over the freaks of nature that litter our athlete filled great nation. But they did bring over a team with a bunch of Division 1 AA guys and a few D1 guys. I personally thought it would be a massacre. I figured a mediocre group of guys(from an American stand-point) would destroy an even overachieving Japanese squad… Boy was I wrong, the Japanese played a gritty game in the rain and took it to overtime, with in my eyes, all the momentum they needed to take down goliath.
But it wasn’t meant to be and the U.S.A team kicked a field goal in dramatic fashion to end the game. Win or lose, anybody who witnessed that game came away with a feeling that “wow…those Japanese guys can play.” Most people I speak to don’t even know they played Football over here, and most shrug and think, “well…if I played in Japan I would dominate.” I made the all-star team as a Senior, but it wasn’t a cakewalk. I’ll be the first to tell you that Japan does not get enough credit, and I think they like it that way. Japan LOVES drama. Comeback stories, David vs. Goliath, Us against the world, you name it, they love the story. And the Notre Dame Japan Bowl will be Japan’s next chance to write another tear-jerker. Notre Dame is bringing over a group full of ex-All-Americans/NFL players.
It seems like every time Japan shows the world that they can compete, America is ready to send over a tougher team, which is a sign of respect. Even Joe Montana has decided to witness this Football phenomenon with his own eyes. He will be acting as an ambassador and will be making his rounds in Japan before the game. And no he will not play…although I would be willing to bet he wants to be out there. Other notables include Tim Brown (Recievers Coach), Chris Zorich(D-line coach) and Mike Golic. Also, and here’s a big also, Lou Holtz is coming out of retirement to coach the team. It’s not hard to see that Notre Dame isn’t pulling any punches. This might be the game that makes the rest of America start acknowledging a country other than themselves, as a potential talent pool. We all know what happened when the Major Leagues started dipping in to the Japanese baseball market… you just never know right?
If you’re interested, check out these websites. If you need more reasons to be interested, I’ll be posting more articles!
Ticket Purchasing Website http://livinginfo.gaijinpot.com/entertainment/notre-dame-japan-bowl-2009/240
Official Notre Dame Japan Bowl Website http://www.americanfootball.jp/ndjb/contents/ticket.html