I'll say this now: as an English person, I've never seen a baseball game. Not on TV, not in real life, not even kids playing terribly in the park or during PE. I have no idea of the rules of this game, other than the fact someone throws a small white ball at you very quickly, and you somehow have to have enough coordination to hit the thing.
I dunno about other schools in the UK but the closest I ever got to baseball was dreading a game of rounders during spring or summer PE lessons in school.
In contrast, Korea seems to love baseball. I've seen it on TV, I've walked past packed batting cages, I've seen people of all ages wearing baseball jerseys, and I've even seen kids playing T-Ball early in the mornings before school. I felt a little left out, I'm not gonna lie.
So, when my co-teacher told me that one of my 4th grade classes had won some free tickets to a baseball game in a local stadium, and would I like to join them, of course I said yes!
The common image I'm sold regarding watching a baseball game in Korea, is that you accompany it with beer and fried chicken, no matter what. It's tradition, right? So who am I to break tradition. We wandered off after a few minutes of cluelessly watching men in white wander around the pitch (field?), in the hopes of finding some chicken. (The beer we weren't so fussed about)
We found some, and bought a pack for ourselves, and a pack for my students to share (which they were very happy about) and settled in trying to make sense of what was going on.
I dunno if it's just the Korean style, but it was a lot to take in. A huge TV screen kept blaring noise and showing us various numbers that I'm assuming mean something to anyone that knows what they're actually looking for, rather than an impostor that came to eat chicken. We noticed both teams seemed to have a token foreigner, which was amusing, and used the aformentioned rudimentary rounders knowledge to work out who was batting and who was fielding. But we weren't sure which team was which, or which team's area we were sat in. So we just cheered for everyone.
It started to rain after a while, so it was lucky we were high up enough that the sudden blossoming of umbrellas didn't affect us too much.
It went on for a while, and a fair few people left, so we took our chances and moved the entire class up to some better seats.
After a few more rounds, by which point Nick and I had started to make up our own rules, to fill in any gaps we couldn't get by watching, it was late enough that the kids had to head home and we finally managed to find my co-teacher. Conveniently, she was a huge baseball fan when she was younger and still enjoys the game now, so she finally explained the mysteries of the game to us and it became infinitely more engrossing to watch.
Next time we go see something for the first time, I'll be sure to do some research :p
Turns out we were watching two rival teams play, and in the wrong seating for my coteacher's preferred team. But the view was good and we had Shin Ramyeon, so all was fine.
We actually watched until the end of the game, where it suddenly got quite tense because it was coming up for a draw/underdog win (they didn't win), and I actually cheered at something for once. There might be some fire left in my stone heart, after all.