I don't so much clean house as throw things out. You know those people who clean up before the housekeeper comes? I am the opposite. After the housekeeper comes and the floors are mopped, dishes done and everything put in the closets and on shelves I go through and throw out all of the clothes that don't fit, books no one is going to read ever again. You know those people they talk about in shows like Extreme Hoarders. I am the opposite of that. There is almost nothing I won't throw out.
My husband, on the other hand ... When we married he had 15-year-old copies of computer magazines, a CP/M computer ... His argument against throwing away anything was,
"We might need this some day."
and I would respond,
"For what? In case the Smithsonian calls?"
Exasperated, I turned to him one day and said,
"Year after year, I am going through drawers, closets, shelves and throwing things away. And yet, we never have any less stuff. Does that tell you anything?"
Hopefully, he suggested,
"That I'm a good provider?"
So, I was at it again and discovered a few things under the clutter. In the bedroom, at the bottom of a drawer under several feet of phone line (which I tossed out), two extra headsets for an iPhone and various random cables, I found a bronze medal from the British Open. Pinned on the bulletin board in the bedroom is a gold medal I won in the Austrian Open. I remember that I was extremely upset about getting a bronze medal and very happy winning a gold, but it was all a very long time ago and I have rarely thought about either tournament in years. Sometimes I go to people's houses and they have this little shrine to themselves with their medals and framed newspaper articles and I think- Why? I mean, really, why look back instead of ahead? Ronda's silver medal from the world championships and gold medal from the junior worlds are in the house somewhere, I'm pretty sure. I don't understand when people are shocked that I say that. It's not about the medals. What's cool is the fact that you won them. And then you move on with life and do something else.
Another thing I came across lately was a grant I had written for a judo organization in 1998. They received a few thousand dollars for their programs from a local foundation. I wrote several grants, raised money, taught clinics, attended meetings, ran practices and a hundred other things for the past twelve years on one judo committee or board. It struck me how much of my life had been devoted to judo, either as a competitor, instructor or volunteer. It reminded me once again how happy I am to be doing the things in judo I enjoy and not the paperwork, meetings and the rest of the administrivia. I've done my share and now I am very pleased to be doing something else.
The third thing I came across left me thinking the most. It was a DVD made by parents from Eastside Judo, a club Ken Otto, Dan Hoffman and J.D. run in St. Paul. The DVD featured five students from St. Paul who trained hard and then came to San Diego to compete in the USJA Junior Nationals. Their students didn't all win. That wasn't the point. It was about highlighting how much the students had learned, how far they had come and how they fought their hearts out, sometimes against far more experienced players. The point was how special these kids really were. It was an extremely important point because some people might argue that they were a team of kids average in many ways who were mostly special to their coaches and their parents. That is the exact point. We're all like that, ordinary in a lot of ways and, if we are really, really lucky, have some people who care about us enough that we develop, mature and do extraordinary things.
A couple of weeks ago, I was down at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, waiting for Ronda, and outside the gift shop they have a big banner that was the slogan for one of the Olympic Trials that she won.
And I thought to myself,
Amazing awaits. For all of us. That's so true, you just have no idea.