I had a tournament yesterday. It meant so little to me that I neglected to mention it beforehand on this blog, where I subject readers to all things kung fu in my life. The obvious question is why it meant little to me. The obvious answer is that the whole competition thing has become old hat. That’s not it. In fact, the DC tournament’s “seniors” division is actually 36 years old and up. That puts me up against several more competitors than when the division is 44 or 45 and up! The challenge is too healthy to be boring.
I started learning White Eyebrow at the beginning of February, and aside from time spent in June correcting the walk (which I was only told needed correcting the same day I left for Florida with Ava), I’ve taken to the form pretty quickly and could easily have learned the whole thing by now, were that Sifu’s inclination.
I was disappointed that I couldn’t do White Eyebrow at the D.C. tournament. When I registered for it, I expected to know the whole thing by the time the day arrived. That disappointment was a big reason the tournament felt like a chore, as I stretched out for my events, and felt even more like something for which I should have just forfeited the entry fee after I messed up the end of Lian Huan Tui.
Then, the God of my understanding decided to whip out the fantastic sense of humor that makes so many ironies just delicious. At this tournament in which I competed merely not to have wasted the money, I scored a personal best with long staff that I can’t possibly beat in the future. I should now retire the form from competition, having seen not one but two 9.9s out of a panel of three judges. The third judge scored me at 9.7.
Frankly, I think they were ridiculously generous. Though it felt overall like it was my best performance of the form, I was conscious of not having the proper grip on the staff when I began the spins, which made the spinning slower than it should have been. Obviously, the judges didn’t care.
So I guess we can never know what’s in store for us, despite what we may expect, and even if in a low mood. Just showing up can sometimes do the trick.
The only thing to dampen the moment was the absence of my son and fellow kung fu fanatic, who had taken off that morning for a month of Spanish immersion at a college in Vermont. That, too, dampened my competitive fire, as I knew he wanted to compete as well but had other obligations.
Congratulations to my daughter for electing to compete in the more difficult advanced division, while allowed to compete with the intermediates. She took home third and second place medals – and a great deal of personal and parental pride.
And thanks to her father (bushy-haired guy staring at her in upper right hand corner) for coming out to support her – and having the presence of mind to capture my personal best on his phone!