An Average Joe’s Pan Am Diary Part III

An Average Joe’s Pan Am Diary. Part Three

Hi, my name is Micah. When it comes to BJJ competition I am just an average joe. I have never been considered athletic. Because I am too small to get an opponent, I usually have to fight in bigger weight classes. I lost my first eight matches in a row, and have never won a gold medal. After losing yet another tournament in a higher weight class I finally decided. I am going to the 2011 Pan American Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championships. This is the story of an Average Joes first Pan Ams.

Thursday, March 24
5:00 PM
I am at DIA going through security. The TSA Agent checks my ID and asks if my mama’s been feeding me. Apparently I have lost weight since that picture. I guess that is what 3 years of BJJ and two weeks of dieting will do to a guy.

5:30 PM
My travel and training partner Bruce asks if I want a sip of his water. Since I have been doing a weight cut by drinking a gallon of water every day all week and then not drinking the day before I am pretty thirsty at this point. I say that I will just rinse and spit into the trashcan nearby. After doing this, and feeling like a 14-year-old anorexic girl, I catch the nastiest glare ever from a nearby woman. Not pretty, but it had to be done.

6:00 PM
Bruce tells me about a takedown involving an overhook, but reconsiders the demonstration saying, “Everyone one will think I am giving you a side hug!” Probably for the best, after the nasty glare earlier.

6:30 PM
Finally board the plane and take off…they have “complimentary warm cookie service” don’t they know I am on a diet.

10:00 PM
Bruce and I arrive at a friend of our instructor’s school and crash on the mats. Finally get to drink some water.

Thoughts: flying sucks, dieting sucks, cutting weight sucks. Why do I do this to myself? Because it is hard.

Friday, March 25
Game Day

9:00 AM
I Arrive at the Bren Events Center and step on the scale for a test weigh in. Four pounds under. Phew, I get to eat and drink before my match schedulaed at 1:20 PM.

10:00 AM
And hurry up and wait.

10:30 AM
My teammate Art loses a very controversial match. Afterwards three refs congregate on the mat to talk. Art walks up to them and asks if they are talking about his match. They say, “Yes, but you’re not.” Someone next to me says, “The ref is God.”

12:30 PM
…and warm up

1:00 PM
…and wait

2:00 PM
…and wait in bullpen

3:00 PM
…and wait some more

4:00 PM
…and…the journey is over. Everyone comments on how cool the medals look.

4:30 PM
…and wait for teammates to start absolutes.

5:30 PM
…and wait for teammates’ matches to start.

6:30 PM
…and wait for teammates to finish absolutes.

8:00 PM
…and last teammate decides to skip absolutes.

9:00 PM
Dinner time. Hooray for the first beer and fried food in months.

11:00 PM
Bedtime on the mats.

Thoughts: In the words of a friend of an old training partner I met today. “It’s just another tournament.” My reaction, “Yep, you still have to wait all day.” To be fair though, considering the sheer number of matches they pump through, things run pretty well. I noticed though that around noon everyday things start to slip behind.

Coming next…Part 4-black belt matches!

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