Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What a long, strange trip it's been

Thirty years ago today, I became the first American to win the world judo championships. For 14 years - more than half of my life, up to that time - I had been training and competing in judo. Winning the world championships occupied pretty much every waking moment for the last few years. I'm sure that had something to do with my divorce. Judo was more important than EVERYTHING (until I had my daughter, Maria). The only time I wasn't thinking about judo was when I was with Maria or when I was at work because programming does require some attention.

So, I won the world championships, went back to that job, earned a Ph.D., started a company, had three more children, then started another company.

Last night, I went to see my youngest daughter inducted into the National Honor Society. This morning, I took her to practice, fixed a few bugs in the next game our company is coming out with, Fish Lake. I drove back from Ojai - actually, I rode in the car and fixed a few more bugs while my husband drove. I got home, answered a few questions from students on data analysis and spent a lot of time on financial projections for a business plan we're submitting to an angel investor group.

Sometime in there, I saw a tweet from @judoinside

I said to my husband,

Oh, that's right, I did win the world championships 30 years ago.

It just struck me as very odd that I could have forgotten about something that was the center of my life for so long. When I was competing, I couldn't imagine what my life would be like without competition. If you've never been an elite athlete, maybe it's hard to imagine. For one thing, it's simpler.

When I was competing, all I needed to know to make any decision was - "Will this help me win, or not?"

My life now is different. Balancing the responsibilities of being a CEO, a parent, a judo instructor, a wife, statistics professor and board president, I'm constantly having to make decisions on what I should be doing next. Being CEO alone takes a lot of juggling. I'm one-third of the software development team in our company, plus the person who writes the grants and the financial sections of our business plans - along with several dozen other responsibilities, right down to feeding the office chinchilla.

What's life like when you aren't competing any more. For me, it's good. Complicated, but good.

I make games to teach math. Some day I'll write about why I chose to do that, but for now, I need to get some sleep so I can get up earlier tomorrow and get some exercise in. Funny how what used to be my first priority has slipped down the list ...


mike ripple said...

What age group does your game system target?

mike ripple said...

Did you quote jerry garcia and the greatful dead intentionally or not?

Dr. AnnMaria said...

The math is at 3rd to 6th grade level, but we know that high school kids and adults play the games just for fun. The youngest person to win Spirit Lake was a very, very bright six-year-old.

iSeeYou said...

I admire you so much. I tell my daughter every day, just as you did Ronda "don't let anyone beat you".
Can't thank you enough for raising such a champion woman. She has earnt everything she has under her belt.
We train in krav maga, so we can walk in peace.