I am a hypocrite. I admit it.
For years, I would sigh and explain the less than stellar performance of one of my students to fellow coaches this way,
"Yes, Little Joey (Joanna) has a lot of talent and could be junior national champion. The parents are that type - have the kid in a million different activities, always missing practice. You know that saying - they are going to end up with a person who is mediocre in a lot of areas instead of excellent in one."
Sigh again. Now I have gone from being self-righteous to being a hypocrite, because, you see, I am now that type of parent. I told Jim Pedro today that I felt bad about Julia missing judo practice at Sawtelle the last two weeks. I have had to give a couple of lectures at work that went until past 7 p.m. and had other commitments that just interfered with getting her to practice. He asked me how often she went to judo and I explained that, in a normal week, she has six hours of judo a week - one and a half at Sawtelle and four and a half on Saturday. Then I rattled off the other things she was doing - Monday she has gymnastics, Tuesday is volleyball, Wednesday is volleyball and judo, Thursday and Friday are volleyball. Saturday she has two judo practices and on some Sundays there is a judo practice or a tournament. She is also on the student council at school and in the debate club. Then, there is homework, cleaning her room and she is an altar server.
As I listened to myself talk, I thought, "Gee, that sure is a lot of stuff for a kid."
I said that I felt guilty that she had missed practice during the week but we still were going to skip the second practice on Saturday to go to the L.A. County Fair, since it only comes once a year.
Jim was quiet for a long time. We have known each other for a while now, enough for me to recognize his reaction when he thinks I have said something really stupid.
"Six hours a week is plenty for a ten-year-old. The few months before the junior nationals, have her work out more."
Ronda pointed out to me,
"You know, mom, I started judo around that age and I was only going to judo two or three times a week. You didn't even take me to the junior nationals until I was twelve. It didn't seem to hold me back."
(You can look at the video below of her during a grip-fighting drill and judge whether she turned out okay.)
So, why do I worry if I only get her to judo for four or five hours a week? We go to judo at least twice every week, religiously. Hell, if I got Julia to MASS twice a week the priest would be so pleased he would thank God even more often than he does.
Insanely, the more involved I have gotten with judo, the more I feel bad about not doing enough. If I miss a practice to take Julia to the county fair I feel bad (and speaking of thanking God, thank God I have Tony Comfort, Ronda, Gary Butts and occasionally Crystal Butts or Jake Flores to cover when I need to be two places at the same time, like the junior nationals and practice).
I think it comes from the number of people who are constantly asking for things. I don't blame them, usually they don't have anyone else to ask. Still, after I called Deb about the coaches clinic and athlete clinic at the All-Women's Tournament, called Bill Caldwell about the West Coast Judo Weekend Camp in San Diego, called Serge to talk about having Ronda help with the Great American Workout in Rhode Island and paid for Ronda and Julia's tickets to fly to Kalamazoo, Michigan for one clinic and then turn around and fly to Seattle for another - I decided I had done enough for one day.
Jim Pedro, Sr., probably the best coach in this country, was not at the U.S. Open this weekend. Since he was at home, I asked if I could call him over the weekend for the article for his coaching column. Much belatedly, I am going to be getting out another issue of Growing Judo.
"Call me Sunday. Saturday I am going to watch my grandchildren play Pop Warner football."
In the Bible there is a quote,
"My God is a jealous god."
Well, if the judo gods are like that, they'll just have to get over it.
JUDO QUESTION AND ANSWER
In her blog one day, Ronda asked why coaches need to yell and can't just say something once, is it because they think all athletes are deaf. This video shows the answer.
Fly on the Wall at the West Coast Judo Training Center
In this video you will see...
Crystal doing a credible job of grip-fighting, attacking with a nice ko uchi, and then forgetting the entire concept of transition to newaza despite the fact that we mention it every day. You will also notice Sarah not attacking at all until she gets thrown, at which point she remembers that in judo you are allowed to do matwork when given the subtle hint of Tony yelling at her three times,
"Matwork! Matwork! Matwork!"