When I go to pick up my son from school, I walk past the baseball field where the senior high school players are already at practice. Today some of the players (the youngest ones, I assume) were out on the field with buckets and towels sopping up the puddles from yesterday’s rain. I remember when I first came to Japan and was working at a high school, the kids had to do the same thing. It rained a couple of days before the sports festival, and there were still puddles on the field here and there, so the teachers made the kids go out with rags and buckets to blot up the water. At the time I thought it was a ridiculous waste of time and incredibly inefficient. I thought, wouldn’t it have been better to postpone the sports festival another day if the water was such a big deal? All these years later, I realize that efficiency is not the point. After all, a week or so ago I saw those same baseball players out practicing in the pouring rain. On that day there wasn’t a towel or bucket in sight.