Monday, July 28, 2014

I've decided to look my age

Sometimes,  I watch these TV shows where I get interviewed and everyone else has had "work done". Their hair is dyed, their chins  -or  whatever - have been nipped and tucked by plastic surgeons. They are all made up.

Here is how my day starts whenever I am being filmed for anything:

  1. I take a shower and brush my teeth.
  2. I put on clothes that fit.
  3. If I remember, I brush my hair.
  4. I drink several cups of coffee.
  5. I sit down in my office and start working.
  6. People I have forgotten about show up at my door with lights, cameras, sound equipment.
I don't own any make up and I don't get my hair done all that often because I am usually too busy traveling to parts far and yonder demonstrating the educational games my company makes.  In fact, I told Ronda yesterday that I'm not doing any more of these interviews because it takes time away from my work and it's not as if she needs the help with publicity.

Briefly, I considered whether I should get make-up, a hair stylist. I found this picture recently of my grandmother. She didn't try to look like anything but she was. An old woman. There is nothing wrong with being who you are.

So, I decided that it is okay to be 55, almost 56, and look like it. There are some people who want to be known for the looks. I want to be known for my work.

=== Shameless commercial plug ===

Here are some examples by the way, the book on matwork I wrote with Jim Pedro, Sr. , Winning on the Ground.

Spirit Lake: The Game - an adventure game that teaches math and history. You can buy it for yourself or donate a copy to a student or school.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Why I'm Not Allowed to Be a UFC Commentator

When Ronda fought Sara McMann, my friend, Tina came to watch. Tina happens to be blind and the very nice security people felt so sorry for her having to listen to me give the play by play that they came up and offered to hook her up to a microphone to listen to Joe Rogan.

At the most recent fight, this was the discussion between Maria and I as we watched the fight:

Me: Why did they stop it and give the other guy a chance to rest?

 Random Guy next to us: Because his opponent hit him in the balls.

Me: That can't be legal, can it? Don't they get a penalty or something?

Random Guy: Not on the first one.

Maria: That can't be right. I don't believe everyone gets one free shot at the balls. Because, if that was the case, every fighter would take his one gratuitous ball shot. In every fight, it would start out with each fighter kneeing the other one in the balls, and once that was over they would start from there.

Random Guy: Well, if the referee thinks it's intentional, he can get a penalty on the first one.

Me: How do they know it's intentional? Is that when the fighter says, "Hey, ref, look at this- " and then, whammo, kicks the guy right in the nuts?

At this point, security came and chased away Random Guy because he was actually sitting in the wrong seat and some baseball player named Alex Rodriguez was actually supposed to be sitting there. I found this out only because I asked Maria why people kept coming up and asking the guy next to me to take pictures with them. I had heard of him. He was much larger in real life than I had expected, and also very quiet so I do not know his opinions on people getting kicked in the balls in MMA but I am just going to assume that he is against it.

And this is why they do not allow me to be a sports commentator.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Family, Friends and Acquaintances

(Here is how busy it's been - I wrote this on the ride back from Las Vegas and just got around to posting it.)

Been a busy week or two and just had a bit of time to blog sitting in traffic on the way back from Las Vegas. (Don’t worry, I’m not driving. No laws were broken in the making of this blog.)

Between Jenn getting married and Ronda’s fight, it has been a lot of time with family and friends.  Here is one of my pet peeves – few things irritate me more than when people say,

“Oh, your daughter is just like family to me.”

Funny coincidence here, they only say this about my daughter who is getting rich and famous, not my other equally wonderful daughters. Oh, and by the way,  Ronda had a lot less “family” when she was working as a bartender.

As the official word-definer of this blog, let me tell you what family means:

These are the people who are around your whole life. You don’t always have to like them, but you have to love them. Relationships with your family are a two-way street. Sometimes you make sacrifices for them and sometimes they do things for you.

For example, when Jenn finished elementary school, she was accepted at two high schools, one much more expensive than the other. I told her that between Maria at NYU, Julia’s nanny and Ronda’s travel for competition, there was not a lot of spare money. If she chose Marymount, we wouldn’t be having a lot of trips to Disneyland, dinners out or vacations for the next four years. Jenn said she did not want to go that badly. (Of course, for the next ten years she brought up how it was all my fault – until she got her masters from USC at 24 and decided perhaps she was not so academically stunted after all.)

If Ronda had been an only child, I could have traveled around the world with her to her judo camps and competitions, but because I had three other children to support by running a business, that was not feasible and she ended up moving to Boston at 16.

Shared sacrifice. People in your family are with you through good times and bad. Sometimes you have to give up what you want to help them and other times it’s their turn.

These people who popped up in the past couple of years who are “oh so willing to help” – what kind of help are they, picking up her tickets for some premiere so they can all go hang out and get their pictures taken?

It was the same thing when Ronda was in judo. So many people told my husband, “She’s just like a daughter to me,” that he asked me if I thought any of them would be willing to pay the insurance bill.

A big part of being family is a shared history.  People who claim to be family say, “I would do anything for your daughter.” People who aren’t family don’t say what they would do because they already have done.

While it is true that family will love you no matter what, it is also true that your family are the people who will tell you that you are an unmitigated ass when the situation warrants. (For the record, none of my children are currently behaving like an ass, this is just noted for past -  and future –reference.)

As I said, that whole claiming to be family thing really pisses me off. As Shakespeare said, “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.”

Or, as I say, “I’ll bet Wayne Gretzky doesn’t go around telling people he’s a good hockey player.”

Another part of a family is that you are always on the same side. Jim Pedro, Sr. used to tell me that he would back whoever was right, even if it was against his own son and I would tell him that I knew that I would not. No matter what one of my children did, I would side with them.

It’s funny because the girls used to joke that I was so biased that if they punched someone in the face I would say,

“The nerve of them, hurting your hand with their face.”

Last night, Ronda was in a fight where she punched Alexis Davis so hard so many times that she busted up her hand and needed nine stitches in it. When the doctors were checking it, Maria and I were both upset said,

“That girl hurt Ronda’s hand, let’s go get her and beat her up.”

Maria wisely pointed out, though, that Ronda already had (and Alexis actually seems to be a very nice person).

Monday, July 7, 2014

Who Wants to Be a World Champion?

Since everyone and their brother was talking about Ronda’s fight this weekend, I thought I’d talk about something else.

Driving back from Las Vegas, we got to talking about athletes who take steroids and Eric, my son-in-law, suggested that athletes take steroids because they want people to like them. Even if an athlete has outstanding performance, they think they can do better with drugs, and they will perform even better so the fans, team owners, sponsors will like them better.

When I was competing, I had friends who justified taking performance enhancing drugs because “everyone is doing it”.

I was never the least bit tempted to use steroids. Maybe it would have helped me win, but that wouldn’t have been winning, it would have been cheating. If I had shot each of my opponents in the face with a bazooka, I would have been the one standing at the end of the match, too, but it would be hard to argue I won a judo tournament.

What I have concluded is this:

  • Some people want to be the best in the world, they really believe they can do it and don’t care all that much whether anyone else knows how good they are or not. It’s BEING the best that is important to them. Those people don’t use steroids.
  • Then there are people who want to be thought the best in the world but really don’t believe they can do it. Those people might use steroids because what matters to them isn’t actually being the best but having other people THINK they are.

So, basically, we are talking about the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

Eric suggested that people in the second category are more common than the first. That may be true, but I am certain that by far the most common are people in a third category.
  • People who want to be best in the world if it doesn’t require too much effort.