Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Agony of Defeat

Don't you love those "lessons of parenting" days?  Wonderboy had his second karate tournament yesterday.  In his first one, last fall, he received first place in his age group.  To say we were beyond thrilled is an understatement.  We were SO proud.

He practiced really hard leading up to this tournament.  At his karate lessons four times a week, going over and over his form (routine) at home.  He was ready.  I was worried leading up to it - how to walk the line of keeping his confidence up while still cautioning him that he might not get first place this time.  Which he seemed to think was in the bag.

The competition is made up of a few different schools in our area, so he is not just competing against kids from his class.  Unlike the first tournament, where only one other girl from our group participated, almost every kid in WB's class entered.  Some were younger and therefore were not in the same age group as WB, but it did mean that all the parents were there.

We watched and cheered on the younger kids.  All of whom got trophy's - which is cool.  One little boy in the 5yr old group totally froze and started crying!  It made me get all choked up.  Poor kid.   Finally, it was our turn.  There were nine kids competing in WB's age bracket.  That's a pretty big group for this kind of thing.

Wonderboy gets up and begins.  His presentation (the speech they make to the judges telling them their name and what they are going to do) is strong and loud.  He steps back and begins.  Great moves, nice loud ki ai's (the yelling part).  Guard stance, back fist, body punch, round house kick, slide up, second round house ki- WHAM.  Lost his balance and fell on his butt.  (Although I'm sure it wasn't actually this way - in my head I heard the "Gasp!" go up from the crowd.)  I looked over at the Mr. and I swear we both had tears in our eyes.  He worked so damn hard!  It just didn't seem fair!  Immediately I begin thinking about how hard it was going to be to console him.

Meanwhile, without hesitation, WB got back up and finished the form strong.  He bowed to the judges and went back to his spot on the floor and, as people were clapping for him, gave me a wink!  And when he was called  into the "runner up" row instead of first, second or third, he never once seemed sad or felt badly about it.  He was excited about getting a ribbon since he, "didn't have one of those yet!"

There were no tears.  There was no regret.  At least not from the Wonderboy.  The Mr. and I?  That's another story.  We were both so bummed out for him.  Truly upset - although only when we were alone.  I mean, we weren't disappointed in him, clearly, just sorry that his hard work hadn't mapped out as we'd hoped.  Thank god my kids haven't shown any Olympic-like skill sets!  I don't think I could take it.

But we learned from him today.  He was the one who took it all in stride.  Who lived by the, "it's not important if you win or lose - just have fun" mantra.  And I have to say, that was what made us the most proud.