The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Monday, August 06, 2007

Sumos and Lilies

By Tamara Lee

As I sit out here on my mom's back deck, I can feel the summer night air succumbing to fall.

It's 8:30 p.m. and while my mother is inside satisfying her Big Brother addiction, I am out here drinking red wine by candlelight, smelling the lilies letting off their evening scent.

This afternoon I watched the amateur Sumo competition at the Powell Street Festival (a local festival celebrating Japanese-Canadian culture) with some friends. I rarely miss it; the spectacle, for me, having as much to do with rooting for the little guy as anything else.

And there are a lot of little guys, some 100 lbs with their shoes and borrowed mawashi on.

Hundreds, maybe thousands surrounded the ring, and ooh'ed and ah'ed over the size disparities of the competitors, everyone certain the largest sumo would prevail.

Today, a young fella, no more than 18 years and 90 lbs, stared down his larger opponent, and waited for the gyoji (referee) to call out the start. Without a shirt, skin that had perhaps never seen the light of summer, glistened with nervous sweat.

The frangrant lily never ceases to surprise me; it looks gentle but its fragile body packs a whallop.

The young newbie sumo wrestler stayed in the ring for several moments, pushing and jostling his opponent, the hmms of naysayers soon giving way to surprised hope. The two fell in unison, the arrogance of the larger sumo evident with the presumption of his win.

But the audience and gyoji knew different.

The young fella had fared well and had forced a rematch. The crowd was euphoric, the tiny sumo buoyed by this faith.

It does not matter how the rematch ended. It does not matter that inevitably the arrogant larger sumo won, and danced around the ring and tried to force the crowd to cheer him.

The crowd did not go wild.

The young lily quietly settled his lanky, awkward body into the crowd of the other losers in the competition sitting by the side of the ring.

Then he smiled broadly.

(photo credit: karenkuo on


Blogger Tricia Dower said...

What an original and lovely analogy. And I love being brought into your part of BC.

Mon Aug 06, 05:12:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

I had no idea there was amateur Sumo! Finally a sport for me. Thanks, Tamara.

Mon Aug 06, 07:55:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger TJL said...

Hey you two, thanks for popping by. It's BC Day today. How do you celebrate BC it in Ontario?

Mon Aug 06, 09:21:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

Dang! I should enter next year, just to get tossed around.

Tue Aug 07, 09:52:00 pm GMT-4  

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