Wednesday, April 26, 2006

On the Road

Last Saturday, Maya competed in her biggest Taekwondo tournament to date. For the last couple months she has stretched twice a day, she's attended extra classes and she's worked one on one with the director of her studio. She's put in a tremendous amount of work all so she could do well on Saturday. This tournament was a qualifier for the Junior Olympics.

Husband and I are in training too. Extra classes for Maya means extra classes for us. Two-a-day stretching means that I asked twice a day, "Maya, did you stretch yet?" It means I held her leg up against a wall at impossible heights because she needs a near-split side kick to medal in forms. It means Husband gave her pep talks and tips after every class. We are training a ten year old athlete and that means she follows our lead, not just our verbal instruction. Hardly ever did she whine or complain. Her desire never wavered.
Saturday, I watched my girl perform at a level I hadn't seen before. In forms, when she kicked her first side kick higher than ever before, my skin rose off my body. It was a near-perfect program and out of eight girls, she earned a silver by a subjective three tenths of a point. In sparring, she mercied the girl in her first match meaning out of two rounds, they stopped the fight in the first round because Maya had scored seven points to zero. In Maya's second match, she sparred a girl who had flown in from the Philippines. After the first round, the score was zero to zero and in the second, Maya started to slow and tire and her opponent scored points off a nice flurry of kicks. Maya lost, but she earned bronze. The girl from the Philippines, gold.

But what this all means is that Maya earned a spot to compete in the Junior Olympic Championships 2006. My ten year old black belt beauty gets to go to the Junior Olympics which will be held in Atlanta this July.

Immediately after the elation of her qualification, Husband and I realized the cost involved with getting to a Junior Olympics 2,600 miles away. We panicked wondering if we could even entertain the thought. We were geniuses in honing her natural talent, but we felt on the verge of failing her if we couldn't afford such an elusive opportunity. We were experiencing winner's let down. Maya had no clue. She kept saying, elatedly, "You guys were right, the work does pay off!" She was so proud of herself. And Husband and I said, "Yes, sweetheart," but we said nothing to each other, not wanting to admit the sobering practicality of the situation.

We slept on it. And the next morning, without much discussion, Husband and I both knew we would get Maya to Atlanta one way or another. We couldn't let her miss this opportunity she worked so hard to earn. We are full steam ahead to work hard for her too. So, we started to spread the word about her accomplishment. We were pledged support. I ordered colorful custom rubber bracelets to sell for fundraising. On one bracelet, I had printed "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams." For the other, I asked Maya what she wanted it to say. I said, "You could put 'Go Maya 2006', or whatever you want." She said, "I want it to say, 'Whatever it takes, follow your dreams.'" I rubbed her hand. "Perfect," I said. "Whatever it takes." The Rivera family is on The Road to Atlanta, whatever it takes.

21 comments:

Melissa said...

Kudos to Maya!! And all the best to her in Atlanta.

Never heard of a 10 year old with so much spunk. What a winner!

Regina said...

I would love to help. I can't send a lot but would love to help her reach for her dream. Let me know an address please.

White Trasherati said...

Me, too. I would love to share this story with my boys and get them a bracelet.

ESB said...

That is SO COOL.

Can you say more about the bracelets?

HollyRhea said...

Set up a Paypal Donation button on the side!

We'll do what we can...this is way more important than BlogHer ever thought it could be.

madness rivera said...

AAHH MAN, thank you so much for the words and support.

I ordered the bracelets 2 days ago and they take about 10-14 days. They are those rubber bracelets that Lance Armstrong made popular, but I got them in different colors with the sayings are in different colors, silk screened not embossed.

I'm figuring out a pay pal thing now if you guys would like to support by buying the bracelets. That would be so rad. The bracelets will be just $3 or $10 for all four styles.

Again, thanks so much.

Brittany's Corner said...

i would love to get some bracelets for my son and daughter. i teared up while reading the post. maya appears to be well grounded. what a great job you and your husband are doing in the raising of your girls. CONGRATS to Maya.

Maven said...

Having recently raised overwhelming (to me, anyway) pro-choice money on my blog, I second that emotion--I mean the one about the paypal button. E-fundraising! It's the wave of now!

And also, that kicks ass about the JO.

MrsFortune said...

wow, what a talented daughter and a GORGEOUS family (pugs included) you have! I don't know how you found my site but I'm loving yours. Thanks for stopping by, and I'll be back...

I just know you'll get the $ to get your daughter to atlanta. You should put up a donation button on your site through pay pal or however that's done.

LeS said...

I just got goosebumpy. Hooray! I'm in for some bracelets, too :)

amstar said...

B R A V O to Maya. The lesson learned is priceless.

I pledge a stash of four. I'll look for your post once PayPal is set up.

Lizi said...

Congrats! I want a bracelet...whatever it takes!

acumamakiki said...

Girlfriend, I hope you do the paypal button and I will definitely be getting all 4 colors....Maya's bracelets will be all the rage in my corner of NJ. Let us know when they come in and also, I want to donate to the paypal button; if not, than I'll just donate. Maya is my hero, especially since I've always wanted to do a martial art.

Green Whale said...

I admire deeply your determination to do whatever it takes to give Maya the opportunity to compete in the Olympics. When we see each other next time (and I hope it's soon) I hope I'll have the chance to put my money where my mouth is. I don't believe anything is possible -- except when I hear you say that it is!

tina said...

Wow, that is absolutely phenomenal! I'll help if I possibly can; you can count on it.

SUEB0B said...

Aw...made me cry! Go Maya.

Melinda said...

Count me in for all four bracelets, girl. Just let me know where to send the $$.

Heather said...

Wow!! that is impressive and insipiring, it makes me think of my own kids and getting them involved in sports. Congrats to Maya!!

Lynne said...

i'm in.

Auntie Kim said...

Please tell Maya that Auntie Kim could not be prouder of her! Whatever it takes!! You can count on us to support Maya and team Rivera in all ways!! Atlanta better get ready!!! (=

andrea said...

can't say it enough, CONGRATS TO MAYA! and congrats to you too, because it takes a whole family of support to help make it happen. the entire jenkins clan is going to be sporting those bracelets, sisiter. proud to play a small part in the road to atlanta. of course, we can't wait to meet you!

speaking of which, the ATL will be lucky to have y'all down around these here parts. can't WAIT.