I walked up to the restaurant where my husband works with the “certificate of achievement” clutched tightly in my hands. I don’t write much about him. That’s mainly because marriage stuff is…well, personal. (And, yes, it is more personal than catheter bags, sports bras and other stuff I write about.)
I’m not a demonstrative person by nature. And, if my husband ever posted on Facebook that he’s so lucky to have “married his best friend,” I’d have to kick his ass on principle. But, the truth is, when there’s stuff I have to figure out, John is the person I talk it out with. And, I had something to figure out.
“Guess what?” I asked sliding onto a bar stool. I held out the certificate so he could see it.
“Hey, you achieved …something,” he said, moving down the bar to help a customer. It was a lot busier than I thought it would be at 7:30 on a Sunday evening. “What did you achieve?”
“I qualified for this national tournament in Michigan,” I said. “Winners from that tournament will get to go to some world tournament in the fall.”
“Really? That’s great!”
OK, it was obvious he couldn’t see the problem with this. “You know I can’t go, right? I’m going to need surgery… at some point.”
John looked at me. “Did anyone actually say for sure you’re going to have surgery? Have they scheduled you for it?”
“Well, no.” Technically, one of the scenarios provided by my doctor was to “do nothing.” But doctors never like that option. Doctors like to fix things, which is why mine has decided to send me to get a second opinion from one of the big, regional hospitals. He couldn’t fix me. (And I’m sure that’s just bugging the crap out of him.)
“There’s a chance this new guy will want to drag things out some more and do more tests.” I sank in my seat. If John was trying to make me feel better, he was failing miserably. “My point is, why count yourself out now?”
Yah, why give up without even trying? It could be fun going to Michigan.
The 2013 Naperville Challenge was held April 7. In addition to being a AAA rated AKA tournament, this year, it was also a qualifying tournament for the 2013 World Karate Council USA Nationals to be held in June. I’m still researching this tournament but, from the people I’ve talked to, it seems legit albeit still pretty new (by sport martial arts standards). Any black belt who walked out of The Challenge with a trophy, also left with an invitation to the national tournament. And that’s pretty cool.
I was mildly disappointed that some familiar faces weren’t at this tournament. For the past two years, I’ve been watching Jeremy, Walter, Jonathon and others in the 40-49 division — measuring myself against their performance, trying to decide where I would fit in their group when I aged into it. Jeremy was there, but he was judging rather than competing. Walter wasn’t there at all. Jonathon was the only person I knew, and it was nice to have someone I knew to talk with.
There were a few new faces. I met Corey Holzman-Crass, a blackbelt from Wisconsin, who attended the WKC national tournament, last year. I was watching his division (18-29) because, well, I’m a fan of kata. Sue me. And Corey’s bo kata was outstanding.
“You killed it,” I told him.
“You think? I felt like I was really losing steam at the end there.”
“You couldn’t tell.” It was definitely a first-place kata and the judges agreed.
When my group was finally called for weapons, I’m happy to say I didn’t forget anything. Last time I did Chatan Yara in competition, I lost my place and ad-libbed for nearly 30 seconds. This time there was a moment – a fraction of a second – in which I didn’t have full control of my weapon. I didn’t drop it. (Thank God.) But I was making eye contact with one of the judges when it happened, so I was pretty sure he saw it.
When I collected my scores, I got two 9.98 and three 9.97. I didn’t actually see anyone else’s scores but, throwing out the high and lows, that’s usually a score that gets me third place. So, when they were announcing winners and someone else was was called for third, I was disappointed, sure I didn’t place at all.
Then, they called my name. I stood there for a moment trying to make sense of what I was hearing: that meant…second?
All five judges burst out laughing and I realized I said that out loud. “Someone didn’t do the math,” one of them said shaking my hand. I found out that the two judges who gave me the high scores had actually given me their highest scores of the division. (In other words, they thought I should have had first.) They thought it was a very good kata. (I just need more power.) I moonwalked out of the ring.
I was a lot more confident with forms and tried my hardest to steal first place away from David Odel, who beat me in weapons. I got about the same scores as I did in weapons. I’m not sure of the exact scores, but I do remember thinking they were consistent. David, however, nabbed 9.99 across the board. So, I was second again. Not bad.
The highlight of my day, however, was seeing Payton Foley take first place in the 18-29 black belt division for traditional forms. Not only was she the only woman in her division, she completely shut out her competition when three judges awarded her 9.99 and the two others gave her 10. It was an amazing performance and one, I think, everyone will be talking about for a long time.