Does Everybody Love Kung-Fu Fighting

My daughter started Judo a few months ago. She loves it, and loves to be called “tough cookie”. She is a toughie!

She is now doing competitions and it is a pleasure to watch. It reminds me of my football tournaments when I was a kid.

Waking up early in the morning, preparing sandwiches, the pressure of the event building up and then stepping on to the pitch with your heart in your throat.

On the morning of her first competition, I tried not to make too much of a big deal out of it, I tried to act normal (tried means I probably toned it done but couldn’t hide my excitement).

We drove to the place; she went for the weighing, fit her kimono on, warmed up then came up to her mum and me.

She sat quietly (this is unlike her), I could tell she was gauging the intensity of the moment, a few names were called out, hers included.

Two kids stepped up on the tatami (the fighting arena), the referee gives the go ahead to start the fight.

Some of these parents started to scream their heads off (a ridiculously aggressive behaviour).

I pointed out to my wife “How can people give such a despicable show? What kind of example for their kids is that? How can kids grow up in the spirit of Coubertin, participate and give your best no matter the outcome? LUDICROUS!”

My wife agreed with me shaking her head disapprovingly, “We can’t do anything for them.” She rightly said.

“Such a backward mentality.” I thought.

We ignored the “cavemen parents” and decided to focus on our little girl, our baby, our bundle of joy, our precious!

She stepped in, solemn, eyes fixed toward her opponent, they bowed to each other and the referee gave the go.

My heart was in my mouth, the tension seized me, I froze observing my girl fighting in her lovely white kimono, the world around me ceased to exist only for my little fighter.

I was with her, totally immersed in her actions, until I heard a scream on my left that brought me back from my reverie, I turned to my wife, she was crying and splurging her lungs off! “Come on BABY!!” she yelled. I looked at her incredulous, “How can she do that to me!?”

I’m lying.

From the moment I looked at her, I felt an uncontrollable surge in me, a savage instinct; I joined my wife in the euphoria and screamed louder that I thought myself capable of.

“Come on! Take her down! You can do it! She’s yours! Break her leg!”

Obviously I didn’t say that but that was almost the sentiment (not quite).

Although I publicly shamed myself, this prehistoric behaviour of mine felt so good! There is something satisfying in allowing yourself to connect with your primal emotions.

She didn’t win on that day and it really doesn’t matter. She tried her best and it would be impossible to be prouder of her than we already are. She sets her expectations for herself, not us!

Caro Gomez