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  My passion for the “Waseda Colour” rugby jersey

“Waseda Colour” rugby jersey

Every year, the Sou-Mei (Waseda Univ. vs. Meiji Univ.) rugby match is held on the first Sunday in December. This is the last game of the season, “Taikousen”, and known as one of the highest stages of the Japanese rugby world. From each team, only 22 players, including alternates, can participate in the match. Since there are about 140 players on the Waseda Rugby Team, only limited number of players can participate in the match. Many of members took the entrance examination of Waseda University in order to participate in the Sou-Mei rugby match. All the players have persevered through strenuous practice again and again with their blood, sweat and passion. Those who have triumphed now stand on the National Stadium field.

I'd like to tell you what is going on the day before the Sou-Mei match. Players who are going to participate in the match practice on that day. We call this practice “Shiaimaerenshu”, or the practice before the game. The rest of the players are observing this practice and entrust their passion to the players who will participate in the Sou-Mei match.

They are not just observing and praying, however. Players who cannot participate in the match try to capture their coach's attention by playing a practice game, hoping to be able to participate in the next match. Their fight never ends. Sometimes, the intra-team game becomes a fierce fight. For seniors, this is the night before their last Sou-Mei match, a night which will never come again for them. Players who didn't make the first squad vent their frustration in the practice game on the day before the match. Players who are going to participate in the Sou-Mei match imprint on their minds the images of all their fellow team members who will not get to play. “Behind us, there are many partners who cannot participate in the match. We will fight on their behalf.” On that night, the last meeting before the match is held between the line-up and their coach. At the end of the meeting, the coach scatters salt on 22 uniforms coloured with dark red and black for purification and hands over those uniforms and special amulets to the players, shaking their hands. The meeting room becomes a sacred place. In the past, many dramatic scenes have been generated from this meeting room. The coach and players write down their feelings on a sheet of paper. After the meeting, members who cannot participate in the match write their words of good wishes and names on the same paper. On the day of the Sou-Mei match, the first string players repeatedly read the paper, on which all their teammates' passion is recorded, and which has been posted on the wall of the waiting room, and prepare for the match. Some of them cry when they read the messages. The players keep all of their teammates' passion in their hearts and fight against Meiji University. They also keep in their hearts the memory of Katsuhiko Oku, a former team member who was killed in Iraq. They will all fight for the team's victory.

(The chief manager of the Waseda Rugby Football Club in 2002
Waseda University staff Dai Takeuchi)

Copyright (C) 2005 Student Affairs Division, WASEDA University. All rights reserved.
First drafted 2005 December 15.