When we invited a Korean foreign exchange student into our home, I was expecting to learn and grow some appreciation for Korean culture. This has happened. It was been an enlightening experience, but I didn't expect to grow more appreciative about my own culture here in America. This has been an added bonus to this experience. I hear not only appreciation from him in regards to how America how helped South Korea throughout history but admiration. He is now a daily reminder for me to be a bit more patriotic and appreciative for what I have been born into.
While driving him into school this morning we were not talking about history but baseball. I asked him if he had ever played for a team because he is a fan of the sport. He explained to me in Korea that the college bound kids don't play sports. At an early age you are put on a track from which you don't deviate. After lunch, the high school athletes leave school and go to practice for the rest of the day while the college bound kids stay in class until 9pm. I explained to him that some of our athletes are also scholars (but I emphasized some). He told he thought that the reason why the Korean team lost to the Japanese team at the WBC was because the Japanese team played smarter and were smarter. I don't know if this is true, but it is certainly his perception.
Here in the states every town (or close to it) has at least one baseball diamond. Little league is a right of passage with our youth. If you want to participate, it is there. He told me that Korea probably has a total of 50 baseball diamonds in the whole country. Of course, this is not an official number. I have no idea how many they actually have, but he said that when he visited Japan that he couldn't believe the number of baseball diamonds he saw. Korea has Little League but it appears to be a small organization, only in the big cities and not for everyone. If you know more about this, please let me know. I am very interested. I couldn't find much about it on the net.