A Lesson in community from Kawasaki

Submitted by Rachel Elizabeth on July 9, 2013 - 2:28pm
Inspiring others to enjoy each other

This past Sunday, I went to a Toronto Blue Jays game with a group of friends. I will not begin to pretend that I know anything about baseball, but I did notice something pretty neat I want to share...

As a curious observer of humans, I noticed how one player seemed to cause the crowd to erupt into joyful applause and his teamates to have wide grins on their faces. Munenori Kawasaki has been deemed a fan favourite as of late. He was filling in for another player (Jose Reyes) who was injured. When this player returned, replacing Kawasaki, he returned to the minor leagues.


People were devastated. In fact, the the Toronto Star ran an article: 13 Reasons why we will miss Munenori Kawasaki. Some of these reasons included:

1. We will miss his class. When he learned he was sent down, he responded through a Japanese interpreter: “It’s not as if I’ve died. I’m still a baseball player. It’s just that tomorrow the field will be different.”

2. We will miss his engaging smile and laughter.

4. We will miss the positive energy that seemed to inspire the Blue Jays.

He clearly had a deep impact on the team. From things I have heard/read, I gather he is not the most talented baseball player to have walked the earth- he has had some great moments (see when he leads his team to their victory in a tight game: see video), but he is not the Wayne Gretzky or Michael Jordan of baseball... so why does everyone love him?

I think (or, I hope) we all have those people in our lives that inspire us to be greater than we are. Their smile and energy is contageous- they are comfortable with themselves and give everyone a moment of their time with great genuinity. It seems Kawasaki is this kind of person. He is loved not only by sportsfans, but by his teammates. They want for him to suceed and he wants for them to suceed.

If we consider a baseball team as a metaphor or an image of community, Kawasaki brings the energy and joy that allows others to feel at ease and happy. His personality allows connection to be fostered. This creates an environment where a team cheers one another on as someone "hits a home run" (rather than envying their talent,) or runs out onto the field to console an injured player (rather than keeping one's head down to get our work done).

I think we can all learn a good lesson in community from Kawasaki.


I'd love to hear from you...

Do you have someone in your life who really inspires you to be better? Who brings a smile to your face? Why is this?



Kawasaki bandwagon

Hi Rachel I have definitely jumped on the Kawasaki bandwagon. I think its because he is so free to be himself and we are drawn to his genuineness and the joy he brings to every moment.  I find it interesting that this has trancended the language barrier.  Despite the fact that has little english, he has bonded deeply with his team and the fans.

A person who inspires me is my friend Phil, he is one of those pure hearted people who see's the good in everyone and brings it out of them.  Everytime I hang out with him I walk away with a smile.