Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Curse of Colonel Sanders

There's a great story out of Japan this week. It is the stuff of legends: drunk Japanese baseball fans, a wild victory party, a statue of Colonel Sanders chucked into the river, a quarter century curse.

The story begins in 1985 when the underdog Hanshin Tigers won Japan's national baseball championship for the fist time in 21 years. Ecstatic fans celebrated by throwing a statue of Colonel Sanders into the Dontonbori River in Osaka.

Why Colonel Sanders? Well, to celebrate the victory, fans gathered on a bridge over the Dontonbori River. The supporters would call out a player's name and a fan who resembled that player would jump into the water. Because there was no one in the crowd who resembled American player Randy Bass, a few rabid fans stole a statue of Colonel Sanders outside a nearby KFC and chucked it in the river as an effigy (both Bass and Sanders had beards and were not Japanese).

With that one action, the Curse of Colonel Sanders had begun. Legend has it that Colonel Sanders cursed the Hanshin Tigers due to his anger over the treatment over one of his store-front statues. The Tigers have not won a single championship ever since.

Over the years, attempts were made to find the statue but it was never recovered. Divers were sent into the canal and the river was dredged in an effort to end the Tigers' losing streak. Colonel Sanders was never found. Fans blamed the statue's disappearance on the team's poor performance.

But guess what happened? Construction workers accidentally found the statue this week at the bottom of the Dontonbori River. The curse of Colonel Sanders has been broken!

The story was headline news all over Japan this week.

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