Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Reverse Press Conference

If I am to understand this article correctly, Atsuto Uchida approached sports reporters and asked them what exactly happened that caused Japan to lose a game in the World Baseball Classic.  As the headline reports, he frankly and openly admitted, "I do not understand baseball."

I had to laugh at the situation as I imagined it in my head:  Half a dozen reporters stand around the sidelines of the soccer field in Doha, chatting casually while waiting for the appearance of the national soccer team for their daily practice.  The cameramen stand around with their cameras ready but no one is actively working for an interview with any of the players.  Uchida-san emerges from the locker room and sees them.  He unabashedly approaches them and they all jump to attention.  "I have a few questions for you."  That gets all of their attention - what does a soccer player want to ask of them?  And then he asks about the baseball game.  "Why did the runner try to steal a base?  Why didn't that one guy run?  Why did the other guy go back?  What happened?"  They all look at him with a certain amount of surprise, without a word between them and he just looks back at them, waiting for their response.  Then someone jumps forward and offers an explanation and gets the reward of writing an article about it.

This isn't the first time Uchida has done something like this.  One of my favorite quotes of his was when people were making a big deal about playing a team from the Premier League during a Champions League series and he shrugged and said, "It's not like they have Pikachu on their team."  (Never fails to elicit a laugh from me.)  Plus, there are gifs online of him at a fan event for his team and him leaning over to their dressed up mascot and stroked its fake probably never been washed ratty hair.  You could just see him thinking, "What is this thing?"  (Which is exactly my thinking too)

On one hand, all of this just makes me laugh.  Who does this?

However, on the other hand, I'm genuinely impressed.

If I were famous - which I'm definitely not - but if I were, I think I would be acutely aware of how often I was being watched and I most definitely think it would affect my actions.  I would either act crazier than I usually do or act more conservatively than I usually do.  In either case, though, it's acting.  Of course, this is all conjecture, since I'm not famous and I don't think I ever will be to test out my theory.  However, I do know that I care a lot about the opinion of others and I also have past experiences to go by.  Such as the time someone randomly stopped me in my college's cafeteria and asked me if I liked Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip.  I looked at this table of strangers that I had never met and said what I thought they wanted me to say: Mayonnaise.  Before then, I had never had an opinion either way.  I only remember this experience because I was in the middle of a class project to be completely honest for a week.  There I was, giving in to what I thought my peers who I would never see again wanted me to say and now I needed to go to my teacher and report that I had done the project.  I wasn't sure if Mayo was my favorite but I resolved then and there that it was so I could be sure to be honest.  In fact, to this day, if I have to choose between the two, I still choose Mayo as though still trying, 13 years after the fact, not to disappoint.

Yep, I'm a weird duck.  I'm a weird, I want people to like me, duck.

Sometimes, I really wish I was more like Uchida.  No acting, no pretense.  Just Erin Reed as Herself.

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