Monday, July 10, 2006

Sloping Pinnacles & I Like Good Manners

The pinnacle of our trip to Atlanta was when Maya came to me just after she was beaten in her sparring match. I walked up the steps of stadium, she walked down. She wasn't looking at me, but to the side. Her head was cocked and her face flushed. Once I got my arms around her she cried so hard and said, "Mami, I couldn't breath. I couldn't breath."

Of course we knew that. We could see it clearly from where we sat. By the time her sparring match came, yesterday around 5 o'clock in the early evening, she was exhausted. The traveling, the time change, her little body still trying to fight the tail end of the flu all caught up to her. She couldn't even get her kicks up high enough to hit her opponent's pads squarely. The match was even stopped once until her coughing fit subsided. All of our hearts busted for her.

Her forms earlier in the day had been better, though not a spectacular showing. There were 25 participants in her category, the largest group of the entire Junior Olympics. We asked why there were so many in this group and why did it fall off so significantly after that age. We were told that this is the age when girls are most into the sport and once they hit puberty, once they get a little boy crazy, the majority quit the sport. Many of the girls in Maya's group were very good. They had different styles, different strengths. It's always hard to tell what particular judges are looking for. Out of 25, Maya placed 11th. Not terrible for how she felt. But the sparring was heartbreaking. After she cried and after we rallied around her, I asked, "How do you feel about Taekwondo?" She said, "I'm mad at it right now." We walked and then she said, "Actually, I'm just mad at what happened." I said, "Don't give up on the sport, Maya. You're really good, and I'm really proud of you."

And that was it. We didn't talk about it much more. We're all just going to rest for a while now.

I really enjoyed Altanta. Nicest people ever. I couldn't get over how manners are pushed so much more in other parts of the country. And let me tell you, manners work. Once I got over my suspicion of their niceness, I was really digging the politeness of conversation, the civility, the yes ma'am and the no sir. During the tournament, a woman was mopping the floor of the bathroom and Mina came skipping in and promptly slipped to her kness on the wet floor. The lady with the mop clenched her fist by her head and looked to the sky. She said, "Lord have mercy! Are you alright, baby? Please be careful! Oh Lord, I'm sorry, baby." And I wanted to hug her for the decency and concern. Where I'm from, the lady would've pretended she didn't see a thing. Most everyone I encountered was this genuienly nice, and it made me giddy, gushy even.

The other highlight was hanging out with the fantastic Andrea and wonderful Ward. They are exactly as they seem on their blogs; warm and beautiful and smart. Andrea and I hung like we were cousins that loved each other, like we've clicheingly known each other forever. Our kids hit it off immediately and our husbands dug each other too. It's like we slipped into old friendships in a foreign place. On Saturday, we topped the night off with a great dinner also attended by Maya's BD and his wife and their gorgeous baby. It was a perfect dinner party where we laughed by candlelight and toasted the city and Maya and new friends. Andrea also brought Ava to support Maya on Sunday the day of the tournament, and that actually touched me a lot. Firstly because the tournaments can be mind-numbingly long and secondly because I wanted as much support for Maya as possible. Though I still feel so badly that she felt so crummy.

I'm tired. We landed in LA a couple hours ago, but I wanted to update. I'm at the library again and the DSL situation at my house seems very distant on the horizon. I'll holla.

13 comments:

Alexandra S said...

Welcome back and please tell Maya that she had bloggers routing for her from all over the country and that she should be so proud of herself. I'm amazed and inspired by her commitment and perseverance. Definitely shes a champ!

acumamakiki said...

I'm sorry for Maya although I love her spirit and her wise words of how she was feeling.
I'm glad you got to hang with Andrea and Ward ~ it sounds like a fantastic trip. Welcome back!

Marigoldie said...

Glad you're back, and a big hug to Maya.

andrea said...

I keep thinking I'm going to come up with some good and clever words to describe our fantastic time together. really, so fantastic. meeting you, the entire family-- just so good. I wish there weren't so many miles between us. and all the kids (especially ava and mina)! crazy together! what a great thing that was to witness. I could go on and on about you and husband and the girls. you are the real thing and saturday/sunday was truly a joy.

my heart broke for maya but man, what a fighter. I was touched by your hardcore support for her, by her unbreakable spirit. honored to been able to witness that, honored to have been able to cheer her on, lend our support. an experience ava and I will not soon forget.

much love to you and husband and the girls. tell miss maya she is nothing short of an inspiration. photos (and more words) to come.

Jonathan K. Cohen said...

Count me in to help send her to next year's tournament. Ya gotta believe.

Ward Jenkins said...

What a treat to meet you and the family! And I, too, am very inspired by Maya's strength and endurance. Both your girls are incredible and will grow up to be even more incredible women. Big ups to the Husband. Send him my way, if you can—would love to send him an email. It was great to chat and enjoy the time with our families. Dinner was fabulous and the park was timeless.

Our home is always open to you and your beautiful family, madness.

Team Maya is in da house for next year!

la vie en rose said...

hugs to maya...and to you, her loving, supportive mama who feels it all so deeply...

Melinda said...

Maya is my idol. Seriously. So many other kids - hell, adults even -- would have totally quit if they were in Maya's shoes. Tell her I think she's awesome, ok?

Glamorous Jo said...

Congrats to Maya and her bravery that outshines anything I will ever do in my live long life.

And I should say...I too have had the opportunity to meet the Hula's and the Seventy's.....and it's pure joy. Glad you guys could hook up.

bettyboop said...

yo cuzzo!
poor maya!!!!!! that sucks so hard. unfortunately, that is part of being an athlete-injuries, illness, etc.. good for her for going out there and doing her best. and 11th place is great for being in that condition. sounds like it was totally worthwhile in many different ways. oh, and your apt. sounds perfect-congrats!!!!
b

LeS said...

Oh, man, life coming at you full force. I, too, am so proud of her for her tenacity and so bummed at the timing of it all. I wish I could have been there with ALL of you! Maybe one day we'll all be at the same place at the same time...heaven :)

Miniwhoha said...

Its always about the experience. I'm sure she learned a lot and that fact that she persevered is everything. Don't want to sound all mushy gushy but we miss you here like crazy!

melanie said...

oh, I am so sorry to hear that Maya wasn't feeling well... I can only imagine what that must have been like to watch as a mother. She still did very well, much to be proud of!