You will have to excuse me today as I turn this mish-mosh of a blog that touches on everything from coffee and nail polish addictions (separately, of course) to my encounters with the evil kind (Other Parents in the park) making it very much a "mommy blog" today because I just can't help but boast and brag about how proud I am of my oldest son.
Of course I am proud of all my boys, but this past Saturday was E-man's day. It was his day to take all of his hard work – five weeks of double the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) training – to fight in his first ever MMA tournament, the 2011 Pankration Tournament. As it would turn out, he would not only get his moment in the spotlight, but would prove to shine in a big way.
My boys play/train for a variety of sports – baseball, soccer, MMA, ice hockey – but never are expected to play for the sake of winning. At their age, it's about learning how to play, learning to be a part of a team, exercising and having fun. Of course it's also about learning how to win gracefully and about understanding how to lose humbly, but the boys are there to play because they like it, not because that's how they're going to make a living someday or even get a full-ride to college. MMA is no different. Excellent discipline, self-defense, consistent exercise, a huge confidence builder, great friends and no, I'm not even remotely hoping one of my dudes ends up in the UFC. (Your loss, Dana White.)
So when the tournament idea came up, it was up to E-man. And he was eager. Being a pretty shy kid, I was surprised but because he really wanted to, it was a no-brainer: "Go for it, dude." Of course I hoped he would win at least one match, so that he didn't walk away from his first tournament feeling disappointed, but we also didn't know what he and the rest of the fight team would be up against so they all went to the tournament with a "this is a learning experience" understanding.
Right there, sitting on the hard, wood bleachers in the USMC gym, E-man submitted his first opponent more quickly than I could grasp that he had even won. I was crying. I don't cry. Did he just win? DID? HE? JUST? WIN? BY SUBMISSION? Everyone was cheering. I was screaming. I was bawling. Oh my god, did he ever need that. Not just for the sake of winning, but in the grand scheme of life right now, my god, did he need that.
He had another fight. His opponent was a good foot taller than him and an excellent fighter, having one their first match easily. I relaxed. That's ok, I told myself. He won one. I started filming the match. He won again. He. Won. Again. BY SUBMISSION. This meant he had won 1st place in his weight division.
I can't adequately put into words how much pride I have for this boy. Saturday didn't change that. I've always been proud of him. Long before this Saturday. Since the Saturday he was born, actually. This particular Saturday just made him a little prouder of himself. And we all needed that.
E-man, I'm super proud of you. Saturday, Sunday, Monday… every day.