Thursday, March 7, 2013

And Sometimes You DON'T Fall Down

My sister, brother-in-law and twin nephews drove from DC to New York City to surprise me at nationals. They missed my performance by a mere 20 minutes because I went on early. I don't mind because she didn't mind. I got to hang out with them either way, so I'm happy (Thanks guys! Love you!).

The reason I was early was because nationals was running late.

Nationals were running an hour behind when I checked to estimate what time I would be on. A three-minute routine is a three-minute routine so I figured we were safely on track to continually run later. They couldn't ask people to change to a two-minute format half-way through the event. I added the number of females before me at three-minutes each with a half-hour break that I would be first after, and figured I had roughly two-hours. Plenty of digestion time.

I ran across times square and grabbed a bag of disappointingly bland wasabi peas and some tea. I carried them up to the fifth floor, an area of the adjoining hotel we had taken over, and settled down with a good book.

I was holding a handfull of peas at an 80 degree angle, letting them roll into my upturned mouth, when an organizer, Griffin, appeared at the foot of my couch. "You're on next."

I nearly spit my peas.

Instead, I pushed them into my cheeks like a squirrel holding nuts and shouted, "But I'm EATING!"

Can you come back at the end of the chapter, please?

While they could not change three-minute routines to two-minute routines, they could eliminate breaks to push everything quickly forward. I had neglected to consider that option.

I scooped my belongings into my arms. Peering over the pile to my phone, barely grasped by my fingertips, I texted The Boy, "Schedule change. Up next." We headed down the elevator, bypassing the warm-up room, which I had no time for, to the stage.

My devoted coach, Jessica Rask, and the lovely MJ were calmly filing people on stage; giving a quick hug, words of encouragement, laughter, or a quick nod, each according to the competitor's temperament.

Panic-stricken, I confronted my coach with a singular sentence I hoped encompassed both my unpreparedness and the current affliction I would have to cope with, "I was EATING!"

She calmly looked back, "Kate, you are ALWAYS eating."

Each according to the competitor's needs. I laughed. She laughed. It didn't matter. Part of the mastery of yoga is a mastery of your own breath, your own calm. Slow your breathing, calm your mind. I ran through the mental check-list of things that needed to be done before going on stage. I had lotion still on my leg and hand. I was directed to a sink backstage. I lifted my leg into the sink and soaped it off. I hugged Jessica, hugged MJ, rolled my shoulders back, smiled into the bleaching white of the stage lights and walked on stage.

I am very proud of my performance. My postures rocked, and by that I mean that they teetered, weebled, wobbled, but I did not fall down! I brought none of the seven poses to what I am fully capable of. I forgot to announce the first three entirely,* which I think means that they can't score them at all. But I came off that stage BEAMING. I did it. I competed in nationals, a feat I never thought myself capable of.

Please, when you set out to accomplish something, give yourself credit for the effort. Try something new. Be proud of the effort before you evaluate the shortcomings. No matter how flawed, the attempt itself is glorious.

* Coach and I laughed about that later. I remember very clearly getting into floor bow and thinking, "Hey, this is going really well! Wait...isn't there supposed to be sound?"


  1. You looked great. Totally calm and in control.

    1. OMG! You got to see it? WOW, you must have been watching all day! I am flattered! Hope you got to see Giana's performance too. She's the HOB yogi that won. I happen to have had the privilege of training with her, practicing with her (when she's in town) and calling her my teacher.

  2. Amazing job my dear! The first thing I said to anyone after I left the stage (which happened to be a woman I didn't even know) was "I didn't puke and I didn't fall!!!". I don't know if she was as elated as I was about it, but those were my only goals in competing this year :)

  3. Dalia - that woman was likely me, Kate's "coach" - Jessica. You all did amazing and I was so honored to be the first person you saw after leaving the stage.

    Kate - you are still scored, they take points off for grace when you don't say the name. N. B. D.

    1. Thanks, Dalia!!! Congrats on meeting and exceeding your expectations! I bet the woman WAS as thrilled as you were. :)

      Teach: Grace points? Who needs those anyway? ;)

    2. I was only in Florida, haven't quite made it to nationals yet :)

    3. Dalia, love the spunk! Agreed, haven't made it YET. Hopefully I will get back the same year you go so we can meet face-to-face!