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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again

It sounds like the sport is trying to get itself up and going again after the scandal.

The annual "Summer Tour" of the outlying parts of Japan (also called Natsu Jungyo) is underway. Each summer the sport goes on tour to take the excitement to fans who live in outlying areas. Often the rikishi only give a faint show of effort during these bouts, as the outcome does not go toward any official ranking. Most people believe these bouts are just for show. However, as they try to ramp up back to respectability, reports say the wrestlers are not just phoning it in, but instead are giving it their all, even during these tour bouts.

I think that's good news. A complete humbling is necessary for real repentance, I believe.

There have been some glitches. The first stop on the tour was in the northwest of the island of Honshu in Niigata Prefecture. The suspension of some of the top wrestlers, like that of Chiyohakuho and Toyonoshima, already came to an end and they performed for this event this week. I wonder, however, if a suspension that does not even last past the end of the rest period between tournaments is a suspension at all.

Fans must have wondered something similar, too. Only about 60% of the tickets for this event were sold. Another city's stop of the tour, the city of Aomori at the very tip top of Honshu, canceled their event completely out of disgust with the scandal.

Other cities are still on the roster. Fukushima, Akita, and Kitaakita are upcoming.

If the wrestlers do not rally and clean up their act, I wonder if the fans will even allow the sport to survive in its present form. Even if they do, it's a little iffy.

Still, they have to start somewhere. The tour coach reminded the wrestlers, both juniors and high professionals, that the fans are their reason for being, so to give their best effort. Those guys can clearly give a big effort. I hope it's enough.

Also, there's an update on the resignation of the chairman. He did resign, for like 10 minutes. Then he was back. Now he's mad about leaks that he plans to resign due to the fact he is undergoing surgery for stomach cancer. Not due to the fact that the sport over which he should be on the watchtower is imploding. I, for one, am suspicious.

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