My eyes were closed; replaying all of the moves and techniques my karate instructor taught me in my head. All the blocks: knife hand, back hand, spear cut. All the kicks: crescent moon, high kick, back kick. All of the good distracting areas: solar plexus, right side blind spot. Everything.
I opened my eyes and watched as the crowd was starting to cheer the two people on that were sparring vigorously and aggressively on the mats. In a few moments, though, I knew one of those people would be me trying to get my opponent to the ground with as much techniques and power as I possibly could.
Those few moments passed and the two that were just sparring had finished and my opposing team had won. So far, they;ve won every single sparring match. This terrified me. I’ve never actually sparred a classmate nor’ made physical contact with another person body as I was going to be forced to do right when I walked onto that blue mat.
Closing my eyes once more and breathing in deeply I thought about all the reasons as to why I had to do this; why I had to win for my team. Letting my breath go I stepped onto the mat and instantly the biggest thought of all came to mind. That little boy, Martin Richard. The little boy that didn’t even get to see his ninth birthday; the little boy that was killed while running in the Boston Marathon due to a bomb exploding.
I would win this sparring match for him. In my mind I’d picture that little boy running on and passing that finish line, with no harm in his way. He’d be indestructible because, in some strange way, that’s how our nation was. He represented us, in my mind. Young yet valiant, strong and powerful. He’d pull through that marathon as our people are pulling through this terrorist act. He is us making us a whole. Making us one.