The Real Contender

I watch him fly through the air doing butterfly kicks and aerials, landing in splits, springing up again into front stances, and he looks so…resigned.  He snaps his head too slowly.  Not crisp enough. Faster.  There’s a cut that’s not sharp enough, a run that’s off tempo, and he has to do it again.  And again.

He looks tired when he walks in the door, before he’s even warmed up.  He sometimes looks like he wishes he were somewhere else.

“How could you leave me alone with him?” he asked me once, when no one from my house came to the Friday class – and neither did anyone else.  He was only half kidding.

Does he want to compete for the national team, or is it just everyone else who wants him to?

“Is there any way I could get a day or two off?”  I heard him ask.  I looked away from the pleading in his expression.

He’s good enough as a teenager to be a real contender for the junior national team and go on to compete in international competition.  But sometimes one must search for the passion in his performance.  It’s hard not to wonder….

Just under two months to go before the trials.  Will he maintain enthusiasm – the kind that showed in every demo he did as a pre-teen, when his love for kung fu and pride in his aptitude was as clear as his talent?  Does it even matter, as long as he qualifies?

May the answer to both questions be yes.

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About T. D. Davis

Baker and former journalist. View all posts by T. D. Davis

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