Wow! What a great day it has been. The boys had their first Tae Kwon Do tournament today and really their first real competition for anything...well, aside from soccer games! This was an individual kind of thing, so they really couldn't rely on anyone but themselves. I was trying to think of a way to describe how I feel about what they accomplished today, and "proud" just doesn't really seem to cover it. It actually started last week when they were practicing. Gavin had to learn a new form (which is a series of 16 steps with feet, leg, hand movements including kicks, blocks, etc), and he just started learning it two weeks ago. Normally he would have about 2 months to learn the form before he would really have to know it and be proficient. Not this time, not for his first really big competition! He had two weeks. And, instead of saying he didn't want to do it, he said, "can I practice on my own while Noah has class?" And that's exactly what he did. That was my first proud moment with this experience. The fact that he knew it would be hard and that he took the road of working hard to get what he wanted. I love it!! Of course Noah wouldn't be shown up, so he took some time to practice on his own during Gavin's class too, although what he was competing in wasn't quite as hard and he had a lot more practice in already.
So then comes the actual competition today. We of course had the talk about no matter what happens, it only matters that you do your best, and that is exactly what we expect from you. Now, when we get there, there are about 500 kids there competing, and then all of the parents, grandparents, volunteers, etc around this gym, and they have it broken up into smaller groups for them to compete. They still have to do their events in front of the judges and probably about 100 pairs of eyes....which can be pretty nerve racking, especially to a 7 year old who has never competed and doesn't have the 100% confidence that I would like for him to have!! He did great, did get a little mixed up, but finished strong. In this competition, everyone got a medal...they had 1st, 2nd, and 2 3rd place and they were in groups of four. Here's the most amazing part...Gavin has always been very sensitive and a perfectionist...which is a bad combination. So, a few months ago when he would get something wrong or not do something quite perfectly, he would cry. So, I was of course waiting for the tears when he came off the mat. But, to my surprise I saw a great big smile! He knew he made a few mistakes, and he did get 3rd place, but he also said he knew it was going to be hard because he didn't have much time to practice. I know that probably sounds really stupid...I was proud that he didn't win, and more proud that he didnt' cry, but for that boy, I consider it a success!! For the record, he did amazing at his board breaking and blew the other kids out and got first place...and yes, the smile was bigger that time!!
One of the most interesting things about all of this is watching the contrast in the two boys. Gavin has always been more sensitive and a little unsure of himself. Noah on the other hand just assumes he is cool s&&t and assumes everyone knows it! He got out there and was confident and knew he was going to have first place!! And he did. There was a mix up with this scoring when he did board breaking and thanks to Jeremys video taping we figured out that they wrote his scores down wrong and he got to trade his 3rd place for a 1st place! Good thing daddy was paying attention!!
I had a flash back today to when I was in dance and doing competitions every weekend and how exciting it is to win. It does just feel good...and even though everyone got a medal today, I think more than that they were proud of themselves for giving it all out there today. They both definitely have their own style and their own personality about it, but they were great winners and we couldn't be more proud. And, in a few years when we watch them both get their black belts, I'm sure it will be much the same feeling!!