The Rugby World Cup is the event for rugby jocks, enthusiasts, and devotees across the world. Happening once every four years, this year Japan has been fortunate enough to host the this international event for all twenty participating countries. However, the typhoon Hagibis, estimated to be the strongest to hit the country in fifty years, threw a major curveball at the country. For many residents and rugby fans alike, there was a disappointment of cancelling rugby games, but most fearful, the memories of the 2011 tsunami.
For many of the Canadian Team, this was their last shot as rugby players at the international stage. However, with not one win under their belt, everyone was anticipating the game against Namibia scheduled for this past Sunday. This was there best – and last – shot at a tournament win. No matter how important the game would’ve been, with a state of emergency called, the game was cancelled early Sunday morning as Japan braced for what was on its way. While the wind and rain was howling outside, sadness and heartache set amongst the players.
The next morning, the damaged was assessed and people set out to begin clearing the damage. The Canadian team also set out, shovels in hand to aid in the clean up of the towns hosting them. The team worked together and they felt like it was the least they could do.
A study published in 2007 looked at the relationship between sport participation and community engagement. In the article, theoretical support of a positive correlation between community participation outside of sport and sport participation is discussed. Researchers found a positive relationship between youth sport participation and community engagement throughout adulthood. This study suggests an explanation as to why our national rugby team were some of the few who set out to help the Japanese community. Participation in sport beginning in youth would have been necessary to reach the level of sport where they are. Due to their experiences in youth, there was now a possibility of community engagement such as helping out after the typhoon.
Japan suffered less damage than expected and saw more sportsmanship than they could have anticipated. They were very thankful for all those who set out to aid in the cleanup – and especially Team Canada. Although they never won on the field, they were definitely a crowd favourite.