Friday, March 20, 2009

The National Past-time

It's the middle of the World Baseball Classic at the moment and that's all I've seen on TV for the past week, especially considering that Korea was playing against Japan in the quarterfinals. (Japan eventually schooled them, by the way, and has moved on to play Team USA in the semifinals, if you cared—but it doesn't seem like anyone in America actually knows or cares about the World Baseball Classic.) Baseball on TV everywhere you go, all hours of the day—it's like a weird little slice of home. But since Korea lost, I think that will be the end of that.

Today was my first day teaching on my own, without being observed, and a few of my classes took that as an opportunity to interrogate me (or maybe distract me from actually teaching the lesson, some of the kids can be sneaky little buggers).

"Teacher! Teacher! Where are you from?"

"Teacher! You are how old?"

"Teacher! You have boyfriend?"


One class was 12 and 13 year olds, so I figured they could handle something a bit trickier. I replied, "Actually, teacher's from..." and wrote Philadelphia on the board. Surprisingly enough, they read it without any problems, and looks of recognition passed across most of their faces. At first, I thought it was just because of the cream cheese, but it seems there was more to it than that.

"Teacher! You know Park Chan-Ho?"


One of the boys explained by way of miming a baseball pitch. Then I remembered.

"Oh! Yes, the pitcher for the Phillies. Yes, I do." The students were immensely pleased with this. Admittedly I only know about him because Mom mentioned his signing before I left, but I have no idea what his US celebrity status is (given that he's the first ever Korean-born MLB player).

Maybe with any luck (and if Park stays on with the Phils), Phillies gear will flood the market and gain the same iconic status in South Korea that the Yankees insignia has all over the world.

1 comment:

  1. truly amazing how small the world is ---- btw, I HAVE been following, to some extent, the World Baseball Classic; two guys from the Phils are playing for the USA -- Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino (the flyin' Hawiain/sp)... Team Italy keeps trying to recruit Shane ....
    I'll send you a Park T-shirt :)
    hope your solo teaching is going OK