Tim decided to give up jiu-jitsu, for the time being.
The third week into fall and after failing last year, he re-applied and got in
the notorious robotics club. Engineering was his future, he seemed to think and
I was happy for him.
It turned out to be a black hole sucking all his free time. Tim worked in the
lab after school three hours a day and four days a week. Moreover, like many
things in the Land of the Free, the way to get better at robotics was to compete
and extra hours were dished out to tournaments. Something had to give.
As he came down to join me as usual for our Saturday morning class, I blurted
"You don't have to go to jiu-jitsu if you go only once a week." "OK. In that
case, I won't go then. You have a good time." and he turned back before I could
say anything. In fact, I was lost for words.
Inside, I was crushed. I had always seen his health and physical development as my
parental duty. We came to jiu-jitsu after years of swimming when in the end we
were both fed up with the meets. He had been grappling for the last five years and
we were recently talking about this October he would change his kid yellow-black
belt for an adult white belt. I would sure miss drilling with him on the mat and
the quality time we shared in the car driving back home after sparring. An era was
over, just like that. For a moment, an impotent rage swept me away.
Oh. The memories we had! I remembered his earlier fights with stronger and
bigger kids in this gym and his win in a Jiu-Jitsu World League tournament early
2019 (which I later shared with my dad). I told Tim that he made me proud and
after winning gold, he no longer owed the family anything. (An ABC, this banana
boy had been proud of our family heritage. I had no idea why.)
It was nobody's fault and, like past losses, I could only accept. Besides, his
life had only just begun and we had planted good seeds. Maybe I was a bit
short-sighted and sentimental.