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Saturday morning. I'm awake. Hmm, my nose isn't too clogged. Could my cold have cleared up just in time? I take a few breaths. Pretty clear still.
Breakfast is light. We leave a little late, and there's road construction. At least dad knows where we're going, so we arrive on time, but there aren't any seats left. You'd think a tournament with 500 competitors would have a little bigger facility. Oh well.
I greet my instructor, and the other members of my school that are competing. It's a small group, about ten people, but we all know each other pretty well and are friends. I say hello to some people from the place I used to train, and trade some jabs with old classmates.
There are some introductions, and then a great set of demonstrations which finish with Master Lu, 8th degree black belt. To start, he held three 1" boards of wood around head height, released them into the air and punched them all clean in half with his other hand. Then he capped a series of quick breaks by snapping a board held two inches in front of another guys face with a twisting kick. Awesome.
The competition commences. I try to loosen up on the sidelines, in between watching my friends compete. I'm coughing pretty harshly. Not good. But our club is doing well. The lanky Dylan wins a couple medals. Tasha, the lone girl in our group, does great, taking the Silver in patterns and the Gold in sparring.
As we are in the last division before black belt, myself and Marc are the last from our club to compete. It's a fairly small division, totaling six people. But it's tough enough that, if you want a medal, you have to earn it.
Patterns, the artful side of Taekwon-do, are first. I get called in the first matchup, and it's so loud, I don't hear my name being called right away. Great start. I can feel my cold affecting me. I'm excited, adrenaline is pumping, but I just don't have the same edge I normally do. I lose the match by one vote. Fudge. I sit down, and watch the rest of the patterns. Marc wins his match, and ends up finishing third place. I'm glad.
Here it is. Sparring. It's fast and fun, supposed to be light contact fighting, but in this division things tend to be more heated. I'm cool with that. I survey the competition; my brother, a couple guys I'd fought before, a lower belt, and a great big guy who I'd never seen before. I was feeling pretty good about medaling at least. The competition started. Raymond beat the lower belt. Marc fought the other guy I knew, and I thought he beat him pretty good, but the judges disagreed. They wrapped up, and then it dawned on me: weight. Me and the big guy were a different weight class. So it was me vs. him for the heavyweight Gold.
He was tagged as red, I was blue. I thought I could take him easily. I would use my kicks and my speed, chew him up like a punching bag. Boy was I wrong. Right off the bat he took me by surprise, charging in landing a flurry of punches. He was FAST. I was in trouble, I was on the run.
I couldn't help but contemplate my position. "Great. It's almost over. Geez, I can't believe it. I worked, I thought and prepared. And now this. A bigger opponent, and a cold. It sucks. I don't want to end up being a pushover here."
He charged in again. I'm desperately trying to counter, then WHAP! I land a quick kick on the side of his head, and his helmet goes flying. It's a pretty good effect, and a clear two points. Good for a quick smile at least.
Late in the match, and I don't have a good feeling. He's been taking it to me the whole time. The ref pauses the match for a moment. The timekeeper signals that the match is up. "Wait!" I want to shout. "I can do better, give me another chance!" She corrects the timekeeper, and resumes the match. This is it. Ten seconds left, and I give it all I've got. I attack like a maniac, desperate for another point or two, and carry it all the way to the end. It's over. All up to the judges now.
"One red, one tie, two blue. Winner, blue." I did it. Mine was the hand being raised.
After the medals were handed out (sweet gold!), I wanted to thank him for the great fight, but he just left. Oh well. There were congradulations and handshakes all around. I was proud. Proud to represent my school and my instructor. I feel like I scored one for the team, and for myself.
So there you have it, my little moment of glory. I think I'm allowed. For once, humility can take the backseat. Hell yeah! :D
"History is more or less bunk." - Henry Ford
This post was edited by Bunk on Nov 17, 2004.
Congratulations on winning your medal. :) Inspite of your cold, and I hope your feeling better, you pulled up the best in you and won. Yea!!!
Wish I could send you some chicken soup. That always helps. I don't know what it is about chicken soup, maybe that's where the cold police live :), and maybe that's why eating the stuff when you have a cold always seems to help.
Anyway, congratulations again. Well done!