We interrupt our regularly scheduled pity party in favor of freaking out.
I lost my match at the tourney. By 2 points. She swept me. I know exactly what I did wrong, but I did it anyway and made other mistakes that made it difficult for me to recover. I'm really discouraged. I know that part of the reason is that I don't have a lot of tournaments under my belt, which is to say, more wins to counterbalance the losses so I don't care as much, but I'm bummed. Plus, what if I keep competing and keep losing? Well, I can't think that way, so I won't. Oh, and I got a huge shiner too; my opponent must have kneed me under the eye or something. So now I look like a poster child for a battered women's shelter.
The tournament itself was fun, though. I got to hang out with Mike, aka Dr. Kimura, his wife Kim, and their dog Che (as in Guevara). Mike is an avowed leftist, and he likes to intentionally piss people off on the forum with his political views. I keep threatening to register him as a Republican when he's not looking. Wen and his cousins Steven and Brandon were there too, which is always hilarious. And Santa Cruz is gorgeous, if difficult to navigate. (I guess in addition to the jiu jitsu competition, that day there was a surf competition, a marching band demonstration, and construction on one of the major downtown thoroughfares. So a trip from Mike and Kim's that should have taken about 10 minutes took about 40, which means Steven got to the venue minutes before his first match.)
I ran into some blasts from the past, including Caren, a purple belt under Claudio Franca (the tournament organizer) and frequent poster that I have met at other tournaments, Robert and Pat from Gracie Barra Alaska, and Cassio Werneck and his wife (didn't get to talk to him, but did talk to her. You might remember that she and I drilled takedowns together and she threw me, fell on top of me, and fell on her own hand, after which it swelled up. Turns out she broke the finger and just recently got the cast off. Yikes. I swear I did nothing but fall on my back and lie there.) Also got to hang out with Ryan Hall, a purple belt under Lloyd Irvin, whose nickname is Ryangle, because the triangle is becoming his signature submission. There was a forum thread once debating whether Ryan would be able to triangle Jesus. The consensus was yes. I had met him a few months ago in DC and it was fun to hang out again. He's a funny guy, and he makes jokes at his own expense. I like that because it saves me the trouble of having to do it for him. I have pics of me with all these people that I will post eventually.
After the day was over, Mike, Kim, Wen, Steven, Brandon, Ryan, Julius (Ryan's friend and a BJJ force in his own right) and I went to a bar called 99 Balloons for dinner. Don't tell my parents this, but I left around midnight and drove the 5 hours back to New Breed in the middle of the night. I wanted to get back in time to help Felicia one last Sunday morning before the Abu Dhabi trials on Saturday. I stopped for gas at about 3am, and when I noticed the attendant staring at me, I remembered my shiner and realized it looked like I was fleeing an abusive husband in the dead of night or something. The only thing missing was the kids sleeping in the car.
We had some fun with the shiner back at the academy. Greg, a purple belt who is black, and Sean, my whiter-than-white kid brother analog, and I were chatting at the academy. Greg said, "You know, if Val were to call the police right now, we'd be screwed." Sean said, "Oh, not me. I'd just say the black guy did it." Johnny wanted to give me a matching set and sign it like you would a work of art. Some of the cops who train want to write up a domestic dispute citation to protect me.
WARNING: PITY PARTY IN PROGRESS AHEAD. When I got to McCarthy's to train on Sunday morning, I had to relive the match with Felicia, Jimmy, and Rudy because they wanted to know what had happened, both with the shiner and with the loss. That bummed me out even more, and I teared up a little. I know there's supposed to be no crying in jiu jitsu, but apparently sometimes there is. The whole emotion deal is also tied up with the fact that I need to figure out my life and that's scary, so I'm trying to chalk it up to that too. But I feel like 1) I'm not getting any better at jiu jitsu and may actually be getting worse, and 2) since I'm not getting any better, what the hell am I doing on this trip? I actually demoted myself; I took my stripes off my belt. They mock me.
PITY PARTY MOSTLY OVER NOW; SAFE TO READ ON. So after feeling like crap: fat, out of shape, terrible at grappling, it is kind of hilarious that I woke up this morning to find out from Crystina that I have been accepted at the Abu Dhabi trials in the professional division.
I honestly have no idea what I'm going to do. I know there's nothing to lose by trying, but I really feel unprepared. I am by no means a world class athlete, and I just keep coming back to the fact that other people in the competition are, and they have been preparing WAY harder than I have. When I floated this logic to Felicia, before I heard anything, she said, "Don't be an idiot." Easy for HER to say! Of course I laughed at that. She's been so incredibly supportive of me since I've been here. I probably don't tell her that enough.
So anyway, I think I'm gonna take a walk and think. More later.