Day 2 – Nationals – Sparring and Team Selections
Last night the nerves and anxiety sunk in. I was really nervous for this tournament for a few reasons. Not only was I worried about how my elbow would hold up, but I was nervous for the actual competition. Last Nationals and Team Selection in Vancouver, I kind of dug myself a hole and needed to fight my way out. This time around I promised myself I wouldn’t let that happen again. I found an empty room in the hotel and just went by myself to do some footwork and visualization. I also took a pad of paper. I sat there for a few hours and just wrote all my thoughts down on paper while I listened to my favourite music. After I went through my whole little routine I felt much better and had a great sleep. I had worked so hard for this and I had done everything I could have to make myself as prepared as possible. I knew that it was time “let go” and let my body do it’s job.
Mr. LeGrow’s division was first up to compete. It was incredible watching him spar since it was great motivation for me. I was so happy that he won the gold for sparring since I knew how important it was to him. He has put so much time in the sparring training and it paid off.
Then it was my turn and I was ready to go! It was so hard having people say that they were looking forward to my fights. I was touched that people wanted to see my progress, but it made me nervous because no one knew about my arm. I knew I wouldn’t be sparring the same as usual but I had put together a strategy with Mr. LeGrow that didn’t involve my arm.
My plan was to win the first two matches if possible and then maybe even forfeit the 3rd match if I was hurting. Mr. LeGrow knows me so well so he would know if I had had enough or not. I just wanted to qualify and didn’t want to risk more injury. Canada takes the top two competitors in each division. I was nervous in my first round since I just had to trust that my body would do what it needed to do so I could protect my arm. It felt so weird not punching so I had to use my legs more than ever. I did all my blocks with my good arm and turned my body to protect my injured arm. I was so relieved to win the first match. In the second match I actually fell once since the mats were so slippery. My body tucked my arm in to protect it and I landed flat on my side. It hurt and knocked the wind out of me, but it would have been worse if I had landed on my arm. I was able to continue.
After winning the first two rounds I knew I had qualified for Spain and I could have stopped but it never entered my mind to forfeit the 3rd round so I kept going. Fortunately my cardio is good so I was able to do a lot of footwork to get out of the way of my opponent. These girls are amazing fighters. I knew I had to score clean points and keep the distance so I wouldn’t have to use my hands.
I was so happy to win first place since I knew I was taking a huge risk to compete but I also knew that I would have always wondered if I hadn’t tried. I won the silver medal at the last World Championships in New Zealand but this time I am really working to bring home a gold in sparring from Spain.
I could not have gone into the ring without the support of my parents, Mr.LeGrow and the help of my doctors Dr. Aeillo and Dr. Noel De Tilly. Now it’s all about the healing process for the next few weeks/months to get ready for the training for Spain.
Congratulations to everyone who competed, and congratulations to everyone who qualified for the World Championships. The journey begins! Embrace every second and never take anything for granted!!!
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