Ideally, I would like all of my kids to participate in sports.
I think that being active in sports can help my children three fold.
1-Athletes are so busy with their sport, practicing, performing, and competing, that they don’t have time for monkey business.
2-In order for athletes to perform at their best, they are careful what they put in their bodies. They are good to their bodies because if they aren’t, they will see the difference in how they perform in competition.
3-Athletes hang out together. *Instant barkada* (Instant Circle of Friends)
However, all of this also means that I have to support the sport they choose, even if it leaves me just a little breathless when I watch. Ok, breathless is putting it mildly. I’m tense, I’m anxious, I cannot breathe, (this statement coming from someone who practices yoga) I’m borderline full of angst, and on the verge of tears when I watch Diego spar in Taekwondo tournaments.
Diego has chosen to follow in his Dad’s footsteps with his choice of sport. His Dad was a Black Belt in Taekwondo many years ago as a young boy. His Lolo is the President of the Taekwondo Association here in the Philippines. Clearly, it excites Nino to work out with Diego, to practice the forms, and even more importantly to bond while preparing for tournaments and promotion tests.
Just this past month, Diego participated in his first tournament. This means that I watched while some kid tried to beat up MY son.
I didn’t get up and stop the fight.
I didn’t grab the other kid by the collar and ask him why he was trying to hurt my son.
I watched as they each tried to score the maximum amount of points to win the match.
I witnessed my son put up a good fight and win his first gold medal by one point.
NOTE: I am still learning about the point system. What I do know, is that the kids are almost always trying to kick each other in the head. If it weren’t for the protective gear that they wear, I think I would NOT be able to attend any Taekwondo event…EVER. (Hubby says that in HIS day, there was NO protective gear.)
I have one more point to make here on this post…and it reminds me of this quote by Elizabeth Stone.
“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
I made that decision four times in my life. There are four pieces of my heart walking around outside of my body, forever. I didn’t know this fact when we got pregnant with our first child. I know and understand it now, in a very real, raw, and weepy way.
Each of my kids will show me their talents and their interests as they grow up. I will support them in their endeavors on the court, the mat, or the stage. But as they each find their place in this world, I know it is my job to cheer them on, pick them up when they fall, dust them off and send them back into the world even if it means that a piece of my heart goes with them every time.
(Video taken yesterday, as Diego tested for his blue belt. Diego is wearing red armor.)
Confession: Even though Diego clearly has the upper hand in this match up, I was doing everything in my power to hold back the tears. I’m not sure if it’s the possibility that he can get hurt is what brings me to near tears, or if it’s the fact that the sport he has chosen is a complete contradiction of what I have taught him in my kids yoga classes.
These realizations occur for me as my kids participate in the sports and activities of their choice, and because of Diego’s choice to compete and study Taekwondo, it’s no wonder to me why Mommy Dionisa clutches her rosary, praying for the safety of her son Manny Pacquaio while he fights in the ring. Of course, I know Diego is not in danger of losing his life while he fights his opponent on the mat, as a yellow belt. But the fear that my child can sustain an injury while I’m watching…powerless to protect him, leaves me silently praying that my heart will make it through each match, unharmed and no worse for wear.