The Return

I went back to training tonight after a few weeks off. The longer I stay away, the harder it is to work back to where I was. I stayed out because I was sick with a cold, and I know that was the right thing to do, for me and my teammates. I needed the rest. I’d hate to be that guy who shows up sick and spreads germs all over the place. Especially when you’re in close quarters combat with people. Training in the martial arts is about spending a very long time doing something to get better at it, and as a result, become a better version of yourself. So a few weeks out of at an absolute minimum of a decade of training? It’s nothing. It just feels like a long time while I’m off the mats.

I also came back to work after calling out sick on Friday, and the long weekend. On Saturday Kt and I went to our annual Sounders game (Seattle vs Portland Timbers). It was a beautifully warm and clear day to march through the streets to the stadium. We had great seats, purchased from a season ticket holder who put them up for resale. The Sounders won 1-0, scoring in the fourth minute of the game. The stadium erupted with cheering. The rest of the weekend was spent at home relaxing.

At work I felt much better and more productive. I think I needed to get things off my chest, and writing that last blog post helped a lot. I also had the chance to fix something today, so that’s a great form of micro-reward. It’s the same thing with work as it is at jiu jitsu. I need to remember that it’s a long haul effort, and I’ll have good and bad days. Over the many years I’ll spend working, as long as I stay true to myself and my passion, I’ll never stop improving.

– Big Sean, Voices in My Head/Stick to the Plan


Birthday Weekend Part 3


This morning I worked for a few hours on a system upgrade, which went really smoothly. Then I came home and chilled out until I headed over to Doyle’s (a local bar) to watch the USA vs Portugal match.

Before the game everyone was cheering the American side (especially Dempsey), and booing Portugal (and especially Ronaldo). When the anthem played, everyone stood up, removed their hats, placed their hands over their hearts, and sang along. I knew what I had to do. Standing with my hand on my chest, I sang along. It was a defining moment for me: being part of an American sports crowd singing the national anthem of my country. I was no longer just an American ‘on paper’. I was an American for real. I was home. I belonged. I was part of the crowd, a member of the team, part of the population. I was just another American singing the anthem.

I’ve written about that issue in the shadows of this blog. I’ve been working through the problems of dual citizenship, being a dual national, and having two national identities. I moved here to establish my American identity, all the while running into more and more ‘Australian-ness’. That moment was a huge step and a big milestone towards becoming a true American.

Side note:
My appreciation of America is not blind patriotism, or the ironic ‘murica’, but genuine confidence in the potential for America to be great. At one point we all cheered: ‘I believe that we will win.’ That describes exactly how I feel about America. On the world stage playing football, and in general.

Anyway, the game was a draw, which makes America’s progression more difficult but not impossible. The emotion and memory of those 90 minutes at Doyle’s will be with me forever.

‘Oh say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave, o’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.’