A Day in the Life

The alarm screeches and I snap fully awake from a dream I’ve already forgotten. There’s an open mat today and I’m not working for a change. I slowly rise and my children burst into my room with the energy only those who life hasn’t battered down yet seem to possess.

I pour myself into my compression shorts, thankful for the advent of spandex and the fact that my gut somehow still manages to get tucked inside of my rashguard. I drop my kids off at the bus stop and begin my 2 ½ hour trip to Performex Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I’m still exhausted from the lack of sleep and I worry if I can 12728960_1021383654586160_5514330412460176643_nmake the trip. Oh well. Nothing an energy drink and the Cracked Podcast can’t fix.

Eighteen yawns and half a tank of gas later and I’m there. I walk in, early to something for once in my life. The blue mats are lit by the mid-morning sunlight peeking through the windows and I feel the anticipation welling up inside of me like a kid’s volcano at the science fair. This is it. This is what life is all about.

I laze around the mats until it’s go time. There are three men with belts as black as a shark’s eyes and the ferocious killer-instincts we all wish we had. I’m not even bait for the sharks. My belt is the color of the blue ocean that a shark swims through; like air to us, they don’t even think about it. The purple and sandy-colored fish seem like more of a snack. Yet I find myself immediately with the largest of the black belts, who graciously decides to toy with his prey instead of going for the kill.

Nearly and hour of intense, five-minute matches later and I’m feeling exhausted. My arms ache and throb and I question if I will ever develop the grips of a rodeo cowboy because I’m not sure if there is any other way to survive a beating like this again. My gi is as wet as the towel of the fattest man at the lake in the middle of a humid August. I peel it off like it was a piece of plastic-wrap.

We sit around and shoot the shit for a minute before it’s time to go. I drag myself to my car that is entirely too small for my large frame and stuff myself inside. Reflecting on the rolls of the day during the drive home I realize that I need to Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 8.21.59 PMmake some changes in my training. I need to be the small fish more often instead of the top dog. I also wonder why the American vernacular provides for so many animal idioms, but only for a moment before going back to Jiu-Jitsu and that thing I said before about small fish.

I realize that I need to push myself more often. It’s too easy for me to be comfortable while I’m rolling. Instead of that comfort, I need to put myself in the middle of groups that will drag me through the gravel until I look like I’ve been on the bad side of a meat-grinder accident. It’s during this drive home that I realize how grateful I am for my team and my training partners and the people who force me to grow.

Because as far as growth goes, I’m not even knee-high yet.



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