WASHINGTON, PA (Sept. 2, 2019)—We know we’re baseball fans at Washington & Jefferson College, with a men’s team went to the College World Series twice in the last three seasons and an equally skilled women’s softball team. But when senior Brooke Shuck ’20 decided to study our nation’s favorite pastime, she went overseas to do it.
Through W&J’s signature program, The Magellan Project, Brooke embarked on a tour of Japan to study the cultural impact baseball has in the country.
“I’ve been going to baseball games with my dad since I was 1,” the business administration major and biology and chemistry minor said. “After completing my first Magellan in Florida…I had the idea to study baseball, but I wasn’t sure how I could make it a research project. Then, I thought about how players come from all over the world to play in the U.S. I had an idea of how big baseball was in Japan, and I wanted to see how it differed and how big of an impact that Japanese culture has on the sport.”
Brooke found that Japan has 12 professional baseball teams, and was able to visit nine stadiums across the country—five in Tokyo, two in Osaka, one in Nagoya and one in Hiroshima. At the games she attended, she had quite a different experience from the American match-ups she’s been to.
“Baseball in Japan is the same in the way that the game is played; however, it is a totally different experience because of the crowd,” Brooke said. “Every player has their own cheer that everyone knows. They sing and clap along and are entirely immersed in the game. No one is ever on their cell phone and rarely do people leave early. Every game I went to was entirely sold out.”
Learning more about another culture was a great experience for Brooke, who was encouraged to make the journey by her W&J softball coach Marissa Rush and her First Year Seminar (FYS) instructor, Assistant Professor of Economics and Business Hsiao-Ching Kuo, Ph.D.. The trip was a great expansion on her already diverse liberal arts education provided by W&J.
“Dr. Kuo was adamant that being a well-rounded individual with experience in many fields and the ability to problem solve would be critical for our future. She was right. There isn’t one specific class that prepared me for this journey; I believe it has been a combination of all my classes from so many different areas of study that have helped me overcome the challenges I have faced,” Brooke said.
Learn more about Brooke’s experience on her Magellan Project blog.