Back in August 2012, I was watching alot of the London Olympics,
and I wrote the post below just after Kayla Harrison won her first gold medal in judo.
Dang if she didn't do it again in Rio. Anyway, here's the explanation of why I care about judo.
Have you been watching the Olympics this week? I have. Big time. I set the DVR to record the primetime coverage, then start watching it a few hours later so I can skip through the commercials and the inane interviews at poolside. Where does NBC get these commentators?
Anyway, even though synchronized diving and beach volleyball aren't exactly iconic Olympic sports, I really enjoy watching these two events. In my mind, diving is the scariest sport ever. How those guys miss hitting their heads on the platform never ceases to amaze me, nor does the fact that their Speedos stay on when they hit the water. And every time I watch Misti May and Kerri make another dig or kill, I'm inspired to run out in the corral for a pick-up game with the boys.
I was ecstatic yesterday when Kayla Harrison won the first Olympic gold medal ever for the U.S. in judo. Yeah, I'm weird. Judo is one of those obscure sports that nobody cares about, even during the Olympics. But I used to care about it very much – some would say too much.
Way back in 1980, my then husband and I decided we needed to find a hobby we could share, so we looked in the local recreation center catalogue for a class that might pique our interest. We signed up for Beginning Judo. He dropped out after the first week and switched to Chinese Cooking, but I was hooked. I would study judo three nights a week while he went to cooking class, then come home and eat his homework. Win win!
The teacher of my class, Jim Takemori, happened to be the coach of the U.S. women's judo team at the time, and he had four daughters who were all champions. They became my training partners, and the next thing I knew, I was traveling with them all over the country to compete. Everyone I knew thought I was nuts, particularly my coworkers, who would see the black eyes and the bruises on my legs and think my husband was beating the crap out of me. But I didn't care; I was having too much fun, literally tossing people around.
So, Kayla Harrison, I salute you. I'm sure your friends and coworkers probably think you should have devoted your life to a more lucrative sport, but