You have come a pretty long way from stage IV neuroblastoma when you compete in a legitimate Tae Kwon Do tournament. That is a huge milestone. I can't tell you how proud I am of both Sydney and Graham. Not only did the both do well but they also both did it with pride and confidence that I had not seen in them before. It was truly impressive.
Take one moment to think about it. You are a five year old little boy and a little nerdy like your Dad. You are sensitive and one of those genuinely kind hearted little boys. I do not know that I would go as far as to call you a teacher's pet but there is no doubt that you are in the running.
Now, let me take you into the middle of a large auditorium. You are surrounded by literally hundreds of people in the stands and you are the very first to perform your forms. That takes guts. You then follow that with two back to back bouts - one of which you win and another in which you come in a very close second to a little boy who is two belts above you in skill. I don't care how old you are. That is an accomplishment. I would have been afraid. I would been nervous. Heck, I was. But, not Graham. He was a trooper. He handled it with class and dignity. He did finally tear up when he realized he would be receiving a silver medal instead of the gold but, he had made it through the entire experience with courage and bravery. I honestly don't know that I would have been able to do it. As you might imagine, I am very proud.
Sydney was much the same. By outward appearance I could tell that she was a bit nervous, but from the un-twerp trained I she was able to completely master her domain. I hate to admit the fact that I missed seeing her perform her forms. In fact, nearly everyone did. She was on another mat across the gym and by the time we saw her stand up she was already receiving her gold medal. We felt horrible but were tremendously proud none the less. Her final scores would say enough. She scored two 9s and a 8.5 which were some of the highest scores of the day. Unfortunately, in sparing, she lost to the girl from Mexico that took the gold. However, she did do a pretty good job. The little girl from Mexico was a kicking machine and Sydney did her best to block. She did a wonderful job of keeping the scoring low, however, she had difficulty with breaking the pattern of the onslaught of kicks. Eventually a few landed that would ultimately cost her the match. However, she learned some important lessons in that match that will make her an even better competitor the next time. Remember Sydney, hop back, kick. You have to turn the tide. You have to get on the offensive.
Sydney also handled herself with incredible composure. There were no tears and no asking to quit. She kept plugging on. She kept fighting. She would eventually take a bronze medal in sparring but in my mind it was a gold. She beat her greatest demons and she learned that she can do just about anything she sets her mind to.
Think about her. A little girl. Diagnosed at 2 with stage IV neuroblastoma - one of the deadliest forms there is. That little body was abused by gallons of high dose chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, a reactor full of radiation and years of oral chemotherapy and painful immunotherapy. In fact, up until her 8th birthday, she spent more of her life in treatment than out.
Two days ago, she received a gold and a bronze medal in an international tae kwon do tournament competing against kids that have never had to face any of those challenges. That is what I call an accomplishment.
We are so very blessed.
My purpii are meeting milestones that I don't know that I could have met. I am proud.