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Lessons on Winning

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And no – this  is not another frackin article about Charlie Sheen!!

The lessons on winning I want to tell you about came from my 8-year-old son, The Young Turk.

First, a little back-story.

This past Saturday, he competed in his very first BIG karate tournament. Which is, in and of itself, a very big deal. As long as I’ve known him, the Young Turk has shyed away from competition of any kind. The risk of losing was just too painful a thing to contemplate, so he just sat out.

Ah, but his very wise karate teacher, Master Joe, is a big fan of The Young Turk (YT) and his karate abilities. So he encouraged him to participate in a very small “in-house” tournament back in February. His Best Friend In The Whole World wanted to do it and talked the YT into doing it, too. (Oh the wonder and power of BFFs – but that is another blog post all together.)

Well wouldn’t you know the YT won two medals in that small tournament. And once he got a taste of victory, he was hooked!

He signed up immediately for the BIG tournament and decided to go to karate class four times a week. (As a side note, I agreed to the four times a week deal because I didn’t really think he’d stick with it. Well, I was wrong.)

He showed up Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. He asked Master Joe to meet with him before class to go over stuff. He worked hard (well, most of the time anyway). And when His Best Friend In the Whole World decided not to go, he didn’t back out.

Which brings us to the Big Day – Saturday.

Eight teams from all over the Southeast converge on one high school gym. I take a look around and realized that there are some crazy talented kids at this thing. Hmmm…….

But the YT’s confidence is not shaken. His energy is way keyed up, but he is totally relaxed about his competition. I envy him.

First competition – Forms. All boys his age go through a series of steps and motions that are integral to performing karate.  The Young Turk is way above average but does not place.

He is still unshaken.

Up next – sparring. This is when the boys don padded helmets, gloves, foot covers and a mouth-guard and basically fight each other according to sparring rules.

The YT does well – but he is up against boys way bigger than he is. Still he wins a match. Then another. Then another. His confidence (and truth be told, his showboating) increase with each win. He lost his final match to the biggest nine-year old I’ve ever seen.

Result: The YT recieves a second-place trophy. Was he disappointed by second place? Absolutely not. To watch him, you would have thought he’d just won Grand Master, he was so proud and happy. Again, I envy him.

Next up: “Creative” Forms – an event that allows the competitors to choreograph a karate routine that shows off their best moves. The YT set his to his favorite song, ‘Dynamite’. Except his music wouldn’t play.

He didn’t bat an eye. He got up there and knocked it out of the park.

Result: Third place. Again, when his name is called for third place, he hoops and hollers like he’d just beat out the whole room. Not a shadow of disappointment. Just pure joy. And again, I envy him.

So what did I learn about winning from The Young Turk?

First: I must overcome my fear and get in the game. Having a BFF along with me makes that a whole lot easier.

Second: If I want something, I have to suit up and show up, again and again and again. And I must ask for help and guidance from those who have more experience than I do.

Third: I can get energy from seeing my competition but I don’t have to let it rattle my confidence.

Fourth: A win is a win is a win. Rather than bemoaning the fact that I “only” came in third or second, I can celebrate the fact that I placed at all. Because it really is a big deal.

Fifth: And after I celebrate with a Reese’s Blizzard at Dairy Queen, I can say “Next time, Mom, it’s gonna be first place.” And then I get to take a nap. 🙂

 

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