Saturday, September 24, 2011

Oh, No! It's Ringworm!

But not on me. On Son #1. Oldest Child who puts his hands into everything and then into his nose, and for the finale, into his mouth. Nine-Year Old who is clearly made of snips and snails and puppy dog tails and anything else that crawls around on the ground.
            At first it looked like a scratch on his face, on his right cheek. Then it started getting bigger. This is his second battle with ringworm. The first time I was grossed out because of the name. I wasn’t concerned about getting it myself. This time, I’m frightened. I don’t want to lose mat time!

            Don’t come near me!” I find myself screaming scaredly as he hurtles his body at me, a jumble of arms and legs, no telling which of his body parts will make contact with me first.
He crawls into bed with me every morning before sunrise, but now I kick him out.
“You’ll get ringworm on my pillow!” I say forcefully, but not loudly enough to wake Husband, shattering all images of me as that unconditional-loving mom, hugging her child whether he has a skinned knee or lice are popping off his head. I do not want to lose mat time!
Son #1 is disappointed at my hands-off policy. “But Mom, how did I get ringworm?” he asked dolefully. Really? I think to myself, How did you not? You are like a sewer rat! Instead I said,
“Well, honey, perhaps it’s your tae kwon do. Ringworm can be spread on the mats.”
“No, Mom. That can’t be it.”
“Why not?”
“My face doesn’t go on the mat! Only my feet.”
“Really? You never sit on the mat?”
“Well, yeah, I do.”
“And do you pick your toes on the mat?” I already know the answer to this question.
“Yeah, sometimes.”
“And your feet touch the mat, right?”
“And then you put your hands, which have just picked your toes that have been on the mat, to your face, and possibly into your nose and mouth?”
“Mom, I don’t think that’s it.”
He may be right. He may have gotten it some other way. He was not a martial artist for his first bout of the old r-w. (That was near his ear.) But I am not passing up a chance to give him reasons to keep his hands out of his orifices.

Tonight at the church potluck, the barbecue chicken legs came out and Son #1 ran over to them and stuck his ringwormed face in the dish, millimeters away from the drums, hair brushing barbecue sauce. “Ack!” I scream. “Get away from the legs!”
“But I want to smell them!” he insists. He grabs a leg and takes a big bite of it, then smears the sauce across his face with the back of his hand to “clean” his mouth. When Son is finished, his face is covered in barbecue sauce, and his fingers have been licked clean and wiped on pants (or passersby) countless times. Husband sees Son’s messy face and moves to wipe it. He cleans away the sauce from most of Son’s face, but strategically leaves the sauce covering the patch of ringworm. Nope! No ringworm here! Only barbecue sauce!
If I get ringworm, I don’t think I’ll be able to use the sauce trick to keep me rolling. Until Son #1 is fungus-free, I will keep The Bearer of the Ringworm at a safe distance.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Last Tournament Post, Really!

I  love Husband. Really I do. But sometimes we clash over our ideas of time. I like to take deep breaths between life's little excitements. If I have a bunch of things to do in a day, I try to space them out and relax in between. Husband, he's different. Here's an example: If we were (hypothetically) going away for a few days and had to (hypothetically) leave by 6 AM, he'd be okay with us throwing a (hypothetical) huge, 5-course dinner party for ten the night before. Me? I don't like to be rushed. "Why is this relevant," you may ask? Because I want you to understand the rest of my tournament story. Plus, I wouldn't mind some, "Wow! You are a saint!" comments.

BJJ is often compared to chess. So, here's one more way they are similar. Their tournaments, inexplicably, last far longer than one could ever imagine they need to. It's pretty much sit around and wait. Fight. Fight. Sit around some more. Fight. Before you know it, your skin is vampire-pasty from spending all your daylight hours indoors. I was forewarned, and thought Husband knew that I would be pretty much out of commission that day. He, however, had other plans.

You see, we were invited to a pool party. At 3 PM. (Actually, there were two pool parties, but the one at noon was canceled because my son's friend was barfing.) It was kind of a work pool party in the sense that we were invited by some of Husband's parishioners. You know, the people who employ him and pay his salary. I really wanted to go to the party, just maybe not that day. According to Husband, every other day this summer was out of the question. Husband pushed it back from 3 PM to 4 PM. I was still skeptical that I'd be able to go. Really. Who schedules a social engagement the night of a tournament? I guess the same dude who books himself to officiate a wedding a few hours after he's run a half marathon.

During the tournament, it became apparent that I was not going to make 4 PM. Husband called and said we'd be there at 5. That seemed kind of doable, except for one thing.

"Honey," I said, "I could leave now and we'd make it by 5. But I have to go home, shower, and change."
      "You can't do that. We don't have time. And I can't push it back further."
      "But I have to shower. It's just unsanitary."
      "You can shower there."
      "No, I can't!" I'm not really on an I-can-show-up-at-your-house-totally-disguto-and-shower-in-your-master-suite basis with this couple.
      "Sure. They won't mind."
      "Hon, I can't do that."
      "[sigh] . . . then you can't go. We can't really talk about this because we have to leave now or not even bother going."
     "Fine. I'll do it, if you call and ask them if I can shower there."
     "They're totally fine with it."
     "Did you ask them."
     "No, but they'll be totally fine with it."
     "Okay. Can you ask them first before I show up there all sweaty looking to use their shower?"
     "Okay. I'm coming to pick you up now."

So, after Shark Girl's first tournament, I apologized to Cousin, left him behind to finish his section alone, and went off to a pool party, where, it turns out, no one had been forewarned that I might urgently need a shower. And then I had to explain why I needed a shower. This all made for "fun" conversation and I, of course, got the first audience for my tournament videos.

I challenge you all to relate a more awkward work-party story than that!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Back to School

Summer Shark Girl is gone. Now there is only School Shark Girl. What does this mean? Well, I get up a lot earlier. And I have less time. Way less time. So I apologize for the lapse in posting. But I will finally (finally!) finish my tournament posting. Over the summer I had too much time to think. New, timelier ideas would come to me and I would have to write about them, pushing the tournament further into my past. Now I’m lucky if I can even get a chance to sit down at the keyboard. So, I am happy to have something to write about.
            Okay, long story short: Cousin and I went to the tournament. I fought some matches. The end.
Hah! Only kidding! Nowhere near the end. Did you think I would let you all off so easily? I am too tired not to ramble. I’ve been up since 5:30 AM preparing and teaching the leaders of tomorrow. (I have seen the future, folks. It’s not pretty. Actually, it’s very pretty. Prettier than me and also skinnier and blonde. It can text like an m-f-er.)
Okay. Where was I? Tournament. Well, it was quite interesting. I’m using that word because it is accurate and it pisses my husband off. “What does interesting mean? It doesn’t mean anything!” he will shout as he reads this. (Who am I kidding? He doesn’t read my blog.)
Focus, Shark Girl, focus. The tournament. I was the oldest by far in my grouping. A couple higher belts looked like they could be approaching my robust age. But all the ladies in my division were nubile moffets; lithe and energetic, radiating a healthy glow from their pores instead of the middle-aged acne that graced my chin. There was no Executive Division as there was for men, so my 41-year-old ass was placed in Master’s. There was only one other Master. (She was 31). So, Shark Girl competed in two open divisions and one Masters. To add to that, my weight class was 120# and below. I weighed in at 104. So, if you can picture Shark Girl fighting fresh, young faces at least ten years her junior and with as much as 16 more pounds on them, you will begin to know the terror that crept inside my heart that morning. Let me just say that after my first match, I was just happy that I didn’t pee all over the mat. ’Cause that was a possibility.
It’s not my style to give you a statistical breakdown of my wins and losses. If you must know, I’m happy to tell you privately via e-mail. I will say this before I continue on: I did not lose all my matches, nor did I win all my matches. There. However, I fought five times. There were two no-gi matches, and three gi. When I finished, I went over to cheer on my cousin (who by the way, rocked both his divisions. Way to go, Cousin of Shark Girl! You know who you are!).
In the end, I think the tournament was a good experience and I don’t regret it. But it was super stressful. It reminded me of my son’s chess tournaments. I sit on the sidelines worried the whole time. When he’s in a match I worry that he’ll lose quickly and not have a good game. When he’s waiting for a match I worry, too. Son waits patiently for his next match and plays without a care in the world. Some people are just like that. If I felt less stress at the tournament it might have been fun. Instead, I think I can skip this year’s Haunted Corn Maze.
            After the weeks I’ve had to reflect, I want to share with you what I took away from the tournament. Here goes:

1)      People sandbag. Either I royally suck or some of these folks are not so honest about their experience.
2)      A cheering section helps. I did not have one. Biggest mistake ever, because the other girls did. It was demoralizing to be in a tooth-and-nailer surrounded by people cheering for the other person. I felt like the bad guy. Plus I could hear their suggestions and see my own doom coming. Not as fun as it sounds.
3)      It’s all about the take-down. The person who lands on top has a much easier job of it all.
4)      There is no number four. Just wanted to see if you are still paying attention.

And so, my dear web-friends, after all this I feel like I could be convinced to compete again, but I’m in no hurry. I appreciate what I learned as well as the street cred it gave me with my gym-mates. My sense is that at our own, familiar gyms, our game gets complacent. In a sense, a tournament is like going to a new school. One where everyone wants to kick your ass. It shakes things up and lets you see your weak spots. So for me, first day of school, facing 100 teenagers? No problem. I’ve definitely been faced with worse.  

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