So ... not much blogging and a young woman writing a term paper asked me questions about Ronda. Since she is a judo black belt and used to compete against my little Julia years ago, of course I answered her. Since I have no time these days and am a fan of multi-tasking, I thought I'd make the less personal questions into today's blog post.
What was the reason for getting Ronda into judo?
She saw me teaching judo and wanted to try it. I was not excited about the idea because I thought people would expect too much because I was her mom. On the other hand, she had problems speaking (she was in speech therapy for years) and we had just moved to a new state, so I thought it would be a good way for her to meet other kids and make friends. You do judo with a partner, so even if she was too shy to talk or couldn't come up with the right words, at least she would be doing drills, randori with other kids and I figured eventually she would get to know kids and make friends, which is exactly what happened.
How did feel when she won the bronze medal in the Olympics?
I was happy, proud, sad and disappointed all at the same time. I was proud of her for winning a bronze medal. I knew if things had gone a little differently she could have won. The difference between first and third at that level is paper thin. I was really sad her father was not there to see it. He would have been so thrilled!
Did you feel that she was following in your footsteps when she was in judo?
Yes, and I tried as much as possible to ensure that she received instruction and coaching from people in addition to me so she developed her own style. In retrospect, maybe I did that too much because I think she probably devalues my knowledge somewhat because if I knew so much why did I send her away so often. That's okay, though. I know I did what I thought was best and I would rather have her underestimate me as a coach than as a mother.
What was your reaction when she made the announcement that she was going to be going into MMA?
I told her it was the stupidest fucking idea I had ever heard and that coming from her that said something because she had had some dumb ass ideas. She throws this in my face every time we have an argument. I never had any doubt she could win. My two concerns
- That she would never make any money at it. Women's MMA had very few professional opportunities back then and the few that existed paid very little. Ronda is very intelligent and I was concerned she would waste the years she could be in college doing some sport that would never get her anything and she'd be putting off getting an education, starting a career or having a normal family life. I was wrong about the financial part. I am still convinced, and I think it's obvious, that I was right she is very intelligent, multi-talented and had other career options than getting punched in the face.
- MMA and the entertainment industry in general can be a toxic environment. Look at the number of people who are in rehab, arrested, fail drug tests - they can't all have been raised wrong. I still think I'm right about this, although Ronda has navigated the hazards far better than most people.
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