Madeliene L'Engle said,
"The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been."
Obviously, Ms. L'Engle had a much better memory than me. On a regular basis, I catch myself trying to remember when I did not know how to write a scientific article for publication or what it was like learning judo or statistics for the first time.
Tonight, Kenji Osugi and I taught a self-defense class at UCLA. I am not sure why, other than that Kenji thought it was a good idea, a good way to get more young people to learn about judo. So, there I was throwing Kenji on the carpet in the commons room at UCLA student housing. Vaguely, I remembered living in the dorms as a college freshman. Did I really have all that much energy? Was I actually as nice, outgoing and interested in trying new things as these young people?
I am pretty sure I wasn't. I think the people who are like me as a freshman probably didn't come down to the self-defense demonstration and were instead in their rooms reading statistics books.
Horace Rumpole said,
"There's no pleasure on earth that's worth sacrificing for the sake of an extra five years in the geriatric ward of the Sunset Old People's Home."
He was right. Jim Pedro, Sr. got back from Europe today, and I called him to get information on a number of things. He had a shoulder replacement and it hasn't really worked. I need to get both of my knees replaced. We spent half the phone call comparing things that hurt. That's what old people talk about.
Still, for all of the years I trained, the miles I ran, the matches I fought, the countries where I traveled, the research I did, the lessons I learned, it was all worth it. What I remember of it, anyway.
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Terry Kunihiro said this recently, but I think it is a quote from somewhere,
"No one should put their child in sports if they are not prepared to see their kid lose."
This is true. In the October issue of Growing Judo, we had a special feature on coaching your own kid. A few of the coaches mentioned how it had been easier for them to coach their own children because they were successful and usually won.
The more you win, the more prone you are to put pressure on yourself that you need to win all of the time or ...or....or what?
It's hard enough for the athlete without having the coach or parent put extra pressure on them. Some parents and coaches see how an athlete does in every tournament as a reflection of their own worth.
Guess what, if your child wins, it doesn't make you a better parent or a better person because you "taught them a work ethic." If your child loses, it doesn't make you a better parent or a better person because you "didn't make them focused only on competition".
People win. People lose. The sun rises in the morning and 99.999% of the people in the world don't even know that the event happened, much less who won.
Get over it. After all, when you were young, were you undefeated?
(Actually, that last line came from Jim Pedro, Sr. but he is old and won't remember he said it, so I am stealing it.)