Friday, December 7, 2007

Waiting for the phone call


It is 9 a.m. in Tokyo,so my next-to-youngest child should start competing about now. I don't know how mothers who don't work can deal with the stress. At least I have work to take my mind off it a bit. I am writing an article on Autism right now which drives home the fact that whether Ronda wins or loses I won the lottery big time having four healthy kids. Still, I worry.

Anxiety is a result of uncertainty regarding a possible negative outcome. There are people who know they are not going to win this tournament unless a team of crazed Ninjas drops from the roof of the Tokyo Dome and kills everyone else in their division. These people aren't nervous because they know they are going to lose. Sometimes, you are so far above the competition that you know you are going to win, and so you aren't anxious then, either.

Last week at the USJA Winter Nationals, I wasn't too nervous. While Ronda had never fought Patricia before, I had seen them both compete and I was pretty certain Ronda would win. I must admit, though, that Patricia gave us a scare at the very beginning of the match when she almost countered Ronda. That is one of the attractions of judo, I think. Anything can happen, no matter how good you are, you can make a mistake, and a person who isn't afraid of you can take advantage of that mistake. Still, the tournament was double elimination and I was pretty certain Ronda wouldn't make two in the same day.

Today, at the Kano Cup, there is no one who knows he or she is going to win. In every event, this is how it is at the top of the world. The five best people are so close that any one of them can take it on any given day. When you look at Olympic records in swimming or track, the differences are often in seconds or tenths of seconds.

When she wins, she calls home right away, often from the side of the mat, borrowing someone's cell phone. When she loses, we don't hear from her for a week.

I worry enough that whenever she goes to another country I have the time in that country on my iPhone, so I know when it is past time she should have won and called. I try not to start worrying until then.

Why do I worry? Because no matter how big and strong she gets, she is still my baby. This is something important to her. She pours her heart into it and it hurts her to lose. So, Julia came home from school, we lit a candle together and said prayers.

Now I am going to go back to writing my article on Autism and waiting for the phone to ring.

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