Is the Internet schooling Ayumu Goromaru about students, or is he schooling them?

Although its been half a decade, Japan’s surprise upset over South Africa in the 2015 Rugby World Cup remains a memorable moment in the sport’s history. And following it, fullback Ayumu Goromaru, who was instrumental in the win, became an overnight superstar in Japan as the rugby craze swept the nation. By some estimates he was the highest earning rugby player in the world at the time.

Although his career since then has been relatively lackluster, Goromaru is still widely regarded as a legendary figure in Japanese sports. However, with such status comes the attention of many for better or worse.

For example, on 25 May Nippon Professional Baseball announced that they would be opening the season on 19 June. Some exhibition games will be held from 2 June leading up to the regular season, all games will be held without live spectators until it is deemed safe to do otherwise.

This news prompted Goromaru to tweet out the following question:

“What is the reason that adults can hold matches, but kids can’t?”

Although he didn’t specify, it would appear that this question was in reference to a recent decision to cancel the national high school baseball tournament in August. This biannual series is arguably more anticipated by many Japanese baseball fans than professional games are, and for the students it’s literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

However, the answer to Goromaru’s question didn’t seem like such a mystery, and other Twitter users had no shortage of answers.

“Because people need to work.”
“Because professional sports and amateur sports are different?”
“Because pro-baseball has more resources to implement safeguards against infections.”
“Is this a serious question? I think it’s because one is a business and the other is a club activity.”
“Because for adults it’s a job.”
“The kids need to focus on their studies with the disrupted school year.”
“The goals of pro and high school sports are different, so you can’t really compare them.”
“Students are missing school and will need time to catch up. Adults need to get back to work and earn money.”
“Professionals have been regularly training in social isolation, kids haven’t been training. You’re an athlete and you don’t know this?”
“If pros don’t play, then a lot of people can’t support their families.”

The list goes on.

A couple hours later Goromaru rebutted the numerous answers to his initial question in the following tweet:

“Most of the comments are saying ‘because pros this’ and ‘because students that,’ but rather than all that, I think it might be better to say that this is because we are trying to protect their lives and the future.”

This only seemed to confuse some people more, and led to the following replies.

“Then why did you ask the question in the first place?!”
“I don’t know what you’re trying to say.”
“Are you saying canceling pro-baseball won’t save lives?”
“One’s a job; the other’s not. What’s so hard about this?”
“I think it’s better to not get a bunch of students traveling across the country and gathering together.”

It’s unclear whether Goromaru is being deliberately coy so as not to upset certain pro-sports industry groups, speaking to us in riddles like an old kung-fu master, or just working through the logic of the situation out loud.

My interpretation of these tweets is that Goromaru thinks if efforts are being made to resume professional sports such as baseball, then the same should be done for youth sports. If not, at the very least a rational explanation should be made as to why nothing is being done for them.

As if to support that argument, the rugby star also tweeted an NHK article about how Saga has become the first prefecture in Japan to establish restricted tournaments this summer. The goal is to safely replace cancelled national events, so that all of their young athletes will still be given a chance to compete in everything from track and field to baseball.

In a way, the current situation is like if I told my daughter; “I’m sorry, it’s too dangerous for you to go to Disneyland right now because you have to stay home. By the way, I’m going to Disneyland tomorrow!” Even though I might have a good reason to go on Pooh’s Hunny Hunt without her, the way she sees it, I probably shouldn’t be surprised if she puts me in a home by the time I’m 57.

That being said, I’m reading between the lines to try to understand what Goromaru is getting at here. If I’m off, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time a rugby player lost me with their skillfully attenuated prose.

Source: Twitter/@Goro_15, My Game News Flash
Top image: Pakutaso
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!