Saturday, August 13, 2016

Saturday encore ~ Half a lifetime ago

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. 

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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.

I was 29 in this picture, at my fighting weight of 63 kg. That was the part about judo that sucked – you had to make weight before every competition. But I loved everything else about it – the discipline required to master a throw, the strength and stamina needed to outlast an opponent, and the confidence it gave me to take on anything or anyone. I lived and breathed the sport for six years before an injury got in the way and I gave it up, but I carry its lessons with me to this day.

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 some of us most of us weren't built for gymnastics.

20 comments:

  1. Anne Boleyn8/13/16, 5:31 AM

    This is one of those Saturdays when I can't believe I missed your original post and I'm SO glad that you do the Saturday Encores!!!!!! I think I should have gone to Judo class instead of to the Life Planning course at The Womens' Resource Center!

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  2. Well done! With the judo, I mean; bet it felt great. Not to mention 63 kg which I'll never see again, sigh. I'm writing to vent...er, agree, about the commentators, as bad now as 4 yrs ago, 8, 12, all the years back to tv's beginning. Online dressage people were great! Otherwise, eeeuw. Tim Dagget proves that one can be a stupendous gymnast, as he was, without being a rocket scientist...oh, the nonstop blather! Have to laugh at the interviewers: "How does it feel to win the first gold in _______(fill in blank) in U.S. history?" What do they expect: "Oh, kinda crummy, wish I hadn't worked so hard." Give me burros any day -- when they say silly stuff, they know it!

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  3. woot woot! Linda judoka! did you digged your way to the black belt?

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    1. I stopped when I was a third-degree brown belt.

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  4. I could have guessed all day, and not come up with judo. But it helps me to understand how you can be so independent and self sufficient out there, 7 Miles South of Nowhere.

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  5. Northern AB gal8/13/16, 7:07 AM

    Now that is one piece of the "Linda Carson" puzzle that is very fascinating and makes a lot of the others fall into place very nicely. I can't believe I missed the original post! Thanks for sharing.

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  7. I missed this one as an original post. So happy to catch it now! No wonder you were able to strike out for Nowhere and make a home for the herd and hens and others. Fiercely independent and standing on firm foundation. Thank you for sharing the judo pic and story. Little do George and Alan know that they could be calling you teacher as well as Mom. Or they might just believe you are a Jedi and 7MSN is in a galaxy of its own. Kinda is :)

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  9. Wow! How did I miss this? I didn't know you were married in a previous life.

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  10. I agree that the discipline and confidence in judo helped you in your life at 7MSN but I saw that in you in 9th grade. Great post <3

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  11. You look very tough in that photo. Are you still able to use the training if needed?

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    1. Maybe? The first year of judo training is all about learning how to take a fall without getting hurt. If I ever topple off a ladder, I hope that instinct will take over.

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    2. Northern AB gal8/13/16, 2:14 PM

      Have you ever come off a horse unexpectedly? and did it help then?

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    3. Many times, and since I never broke anything on the landing, I'm thinking all that training probably helped.

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  12. I read somewhere the other day that the reason Olympic commentators (as well as much other sports coverage) is so bad/inane/incomprehensible is that in the TV industry it's entertainment, not the actual sport, that is important. Or something like that, anyway. Makes sense commentary would be so similar to sitcom dialogue.

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  13. Just so no one wonders: the previous comments were deleted because they were written before coffee and were meant for another post :-/
    I ditto KathyB. The life lessons one would learn from Judo have carried you far, I am sure. And the learning how to fall? That is something everyone should learn both figuratively and literally!
    Thanks for re-posting this. Carson!

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  14. I did TKD (not the Olympic style) for seven years until a dicky shoulder put me out. I still miss it, so I hear ya!

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  15. An American in Tokyo8/14/16, 7:05 PM

    Woo hoo! I don't remember this post, but glad I am seeing it now! Thanks for re-posting!

    You are one awesome person!! =D

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  16. Just now reading this post. Thanks for sharing that special memory. I would have never thought about you doing Judo. Kudos to you. Judo has had a big influence on you life and kept you on your feet.

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