Wednesday, November 16, 2005

valuable lessons from victoria

photo | victoria

last weekend our kids had a karate tournament in victoria, bc. the event was, um, eventful.

the trip was supposed to begin friday morning, but it really started thursday night. preston, our 7 year-old, couldn't sleep. too excited, too wound up. eventually he crawled into bed with us, and we all got a short, restless night's sleep.

no big deal, but then came friday and the oh-dark-30 ferry ride. the seas were angry, my friends...both preston and my wife got seasick. oy, such trauma. but again, by itself no big deal.

we disembarked in victoria, checked into a nice hotel, and charged off to the pool so the kids could swim (and burn off some energy). all went well for awhile, but the pool deck was badly designed...slippery tiles with a curving slope near the pool edge. preston slipped and whacked his head on the deck. it looked kinda bad, but he seemed fine the rest of the afternoon and through the evening.

at 12:30 a.m., however, he was not so fine.

for the next 3 hours he woke up off and on, crying miserably and complaining of a "horrible" headache. he really was beside himelf, and we were certain he had a concussion. at 2:30 a.m. in a foreign country, however, there was little to do but work the tylenol, cold compresses, and eventually a warm shower. finally, three-ish, he fell asleep for the rest of the night.

the wake-up call for the tournament came ridiculously early. avery (our 5 year-old) was raring to go, but preston was a mess. big dark circles under his eyes, overly emotional, obviously exhausted. we told him he didn't have to participate in the tournament, that there'd be other times, that he could stay at the hotel with mom or go to the venue and watch.

but no, he wanted to participate. so off we went.

avery's division went first, and she did her little teno kata routine. about halfway through she lost track of what she was doing....and just kept going. the girl had no earthly idea what she was doing next, but she pieced together something the judges found appealing, and won a bronze medal.

preston wasn't so lucky. he got about two-thirds of the way through before blanking...and melting down. he just put his hands over his face and started crying. he walked toward us, and i wanted to pick him up and carry him out. but i didn't. we told him to go back to the middle of the ring and show he was done, and wait for his score, which he reluctantly did. crying all the while.

man, that was hard. but after crying in mom's arms for awhile we got him pumped up to do his sparring (kumite), which he enjoys and is pretty good at.

again, avery's group went first. she wanted to give preston her bronze medal, so she was determined to go out and win a silver or gold. girl was banging her gloves together like rocky balboa, ready to mix it up with girls much bigger, older and more experienced than she is. she's a tiny thing, but like rod tidwell she is all heart. on command she'd charge across the ring and flail away, absolutely no fear. she didn't win a match, but she scored a lot of points...and won another bronze medal.

meanwhile...preston was mis-registered and got closed out of his division. he got thrown in with some much bigger boys, and was ready to get after them. but we and the sensei thought it would be a bad idea for him to go out and get his clock cleaned.

so he didn't get to spar.

next day we went back home. and the boy got seasick again.

tough trip. valuable lessons.

i hope.

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