Recent events dig up the question: is it alright to sell a gift from your heroes?

Coronavirus has caused all sorts of things to be changed, postponed, or even canceled–the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Disneyland’s annual events, and even school sports. Seniors in their final year of high school baseball missed out on a lot on practices and games during one of the most important times of their budding sports careers.

What’s more, Japan’s annual National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament was canceled for the first time since the end of World War II. That prompted the Hanshin Tigers pro baseball team and Koshien Stadium, where the Tigers play their home games and the high school tournament’s final rounds are played, to send the heartbroken students something to cheer them up: a keychain filled with dirt from Koshien’s field.

It might sound weird, but hear us out. In the Japanese high school baseball world, it’s a tradition for the losing team of the national tournament to scoop up dirt from the sports mecca and take it home as a memento, as shown in the video below.

So, you can imagine how upset student-athletes must have been this year to miss out on their chance to either take home the gold or take home the soil. So Hanshin and Koshien teamed up to send some 49,000 keychains filled with Koshien Stadium soil to every senior-year members of boys and girls baseball high school baseball teams in Japan in order to cheer them up.

However, things got a bit tense when some of these keychains were spotted on Japanese resale sites like Mercari, ranging anywhere from 1,000 yen (US$9.43) to 10,000 yen (US$94.30) or more. Netizens had a lot to say about this turn of events, and not all of it was nice.

“This is awful and pretty sad.”
“I guess age doesn’t matter when it comes to the notion of ‘anything for money’.”
“I had a feeling this would happen.”
“I get that money makes the world go ’round, but this is rude to the staff at Koshien Stadium…it almost makes people reselling masks and Nintendo Switches look better…”
“There are two sides to this. Honestly, [Koshien staff] probably knew this would happen, and in the end, people are free to do what they want with something they’ve been given. What I think should be discussed here is that only a small number of receivers are reselling them.”

If you’re a die-hard sports fan, you may be able to see why so many people find this inexcusable, but you could also argue the possibility that maybe not everyone wanted the gift so badly to begin with. And, like many other commenters pointed out, it’s a bit strange to think of people paying for dirt in the first place.

However you look at it, the gift was given with good intentions, and it likely lifted the spirits of far more disappointed high schoolers than it did fill their pockets. And with the newly improved skills of current high school players, the future for next year looks bright.

Sources: The Sankei News via Ceron
Top image: Pakutaso
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