I competed in Jiu Jitsu for the first time at 51. The woman who beat me was 20. And wow, did she ever beat me. Squished me like a bug.
But I felt great, I felt like a real winner. And I felt like a winner because I went into that fight knowing I was at a real disadvantage, but that I was going to give it my best effort no matter what. That was my goal, and I did it.
Tonight we were visited by two Paralympic athletes. They are visually impaired black belts who represent the US in the Paralympic Games. And they were amazing Judoka.
Yes, they are visually impaired and are therefore at a disadvantage. But you can do Judo blind. Some athletes report that they are faster, and better, when they rely less on their vision and more on their other senses, specifically their sense of balance and movement.
And visually impaired or no, they are athletes first. And they were really, really good. So good that it felt like the sighted judoka were the ones at a disadvantage. Honestly, they were amazing.
Oh, and the guy with his hair dyed red, white and blue — that’s Ben Goodrich at an international competition.