Finnish championships 2013: a journey of twisted fingers and broken hopes (part 1)

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A short story depicting the emotions before and after a competition.

I took a sip from my morning coffee knowing this is the day. This is the day I show myself I haven't been training for nothing. My body was ready for the competitions, my mind... still racing around a thousand topics.

This year was different. The competitions start at 5 pm instead of 10 am, so I had some time to kill while trying to preserve my energy and mostly my sanity. I felt sorry for my friends who were on a strict diet and had to suffer through the whole day with almost nothing. Although not being on such a strict diet myself I could still feel the hunger creeping in my stomach, shouting: "FEED ME DUMMY!" and making some kind of whale mating sounds.

Fast forward a few hours of random internet browsing and checking my bag for the 76th time to make sure everything is along I throw my gear in the trunk and hop in my coaches car's backseat with Markus already comfortably in his seat and Mikael in the front seat peeking behind him constantly trying to hear what we're saying.  The trip is mostly silent, everyone is playing every outcome, every scenario, every emotion from world shattering pain to the happiest moment imaginable through in their head.

Markus  "Marque" FrigĂ„rd
(blue gi)

We arrive at the sports arena, only to realize we're way ahead of schedule. We find a suitable spot for ourselves and stare at the mats being placed. A total of 4 yellow area mats with red borderlines are being set up. My first match being #162, I'm going to have to wait... and wait.... and wait.

While waiting for my matches I race around the arena greeting old friends and watching them fight. My teammate Markus did an amazing job. He won every match with precise and well executed techniques and secured himself the Finnish champion title in blue belts.

The numbers are closing in. Soon it will be my turn. I start to gear up and go for a little jog around the block to get some fresh air and kick-start my engines. I do a few more fast sprints and head inside through glass doors. Walk up the first set of stairs, there's a big glass window right in front of me with some people staring at me and looking very confused on their exercise bikes. I walk up one more set of stairs and start to stretch and loosen up my body.

It's time. I walk to the warm-up area and go through gi-check and start to wait for the first match. Carefully eyeing everywhere, just in case I recognize my opponent.