Thursday, February 01, 2018

What happens in Vegas...

This week Billy and Tracy had an opportunity to travel to Vegas for the US Open TKD tournament. It was Billy's 1st international tournament and it was NOT without drama getting there, mainly due to registration being a pain in the ass and testing Tracy's patience.

Long story short, it took 8 weeks to register for the event since the genius's at the governing organization decided to change software programs 1/2 way through registration being open and Billy's registration got caught in that mess.  We finally got it straightened out 2 weeks before the event and got his GAL (Global Athletes License) 1 day before they left.  Talk about the nick of time!

Billy is a Bantam weight Cadet (38-41kg, black belt, 12-14 age group, boys).  Basically this means that they can now do head shots. It also means that, at this tournament, there 41 competitors in his age group. From around the world.  Crazy!  So, you could say he's in the top 50 world wide.  Its a huge honor to be invited and overwhelming to know that you are fighting the best of the best but ... Billy took it in stride was only a little nervous, mostly excited and held it together really well.

We landed Sunday night and had tickets to Mat Franco. He's the magician that won Americas Got Talent and he's totally worth the price of admission! It was a great family show, small venue and AMAZING magic. Both Billy and Esa now want to be magicians and we were all blow away. A great intro to Vegas!

On flip side of our 1st day, we couldn't seem to get our room "right". We checked in, dropped our bags, noticed that the room was hot, turned on the A/C and left for dinner and the show. When we came back, 3 hours later, the room as still at 78 degrees and we were dying.  We asked to be moved, packed our gear up and proceeded to be "placed" in 4 MORE ROOMS!  We had more rooms that we had nights reserved!  The 2nd room had a shower facet that literally was streaming water and we couldn't get it to shut off. The 3/4th room was an adjoining room, but one side didnt have a bed and the other only had 1 bed (thats not going to work), the 5/6th room worked. It was another adjoining room with 2 queens a murphy bed, couch and kitchenette.  We had finally found our home for th next 3 nights, after 2 hours of lugging luggage and  it was midnight. We fell into bed exhausted (to the hotels credit, they are undergoing a major renovation and comp'ed our whole stay.  That was nice)

We were up the next morning early to register and weigh in.  That took 3 hours. 1 hour to stand in line to register. 1 hour to stand and line to weigh in and 1 hour where Tracy totally lost it and started crying when she realized that Billy was actually registered for Fly weight not Bantam and he wasnt going to be allowed to fight.  She pleaded, bribed and worried. After going up the ladder 3 times, the woman finally found someone willing to bend the rules and, after paying a hefty fine, Billy was registered in the right weight class.  This only left 2 hours until practice so what did we do?  We headed out to see the Strip!!

We took the monorail and walked up and down the strip. The Vegas girls made Billy and Esa nervous but he was funny when he saw a sign that said "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas".  His comment to that?  "Huh, just like the fishing trip".

Practice went well and we headed out to find dinner and get to bed early.

Tuesday was the "big" day,  We had to get to the competition early (8am) but call time for Billy didnt happen until 11:20, then, it was waiting in holding until 12:30.  With 41 competitors in his class, we figured we were in for a long day.

Asa got called 1st and had 4 kids in her class, she did awesome! Won her 1st round and fought hard in her 2nd round, taking away silver.  Way to go girl! You are a fierce beast!

Billy finally got called and was ready. In the 1st (of 3) rounds in his match, he got hit in the nose and got a Rocky worthy bloody nose.  The blood was streaming down his face and they werent able to stop the bleeding so they stuffed 2 tampons up his nose and off he went into round 2 and 3.  He fought hard, managed to slow the match down (a key skill when the other athlete is hyper aggressive) and even got his 1st head shot points as a black belt.   He didnt win his match but he didnt back down, fought hard, got some points and walked out smiling.  When I asked how he felt he did he said ..."I fought hard and could have done a little better if I could breath and didnt have tampons shoved up my nose....".  Love you Billy.

Part of TKD team etiquette is that you dont leave the tournament until your last team mate competes. For this meet, that was 8:15pm. The kids were melting but I have to admit, the final matches were the best of the best and really fun to watch. His team took home a # of silvers and bronze.  Pretty damn good!

We barely made it to dinner without passing out, and then fell into bed exhausted.

Both Billy and Esa loved the competition and weather but the constant indoor smoking just about drove them crazy.   In order to pass time, we played a game to see how many countries we could spot and get a photo of (see below for photos) we saw ... Honduras, Mexico, Denmark, Australia, Pakistan, Canada, Nicaragua, Baztekzhan, Manila, Puerto Rico, China, Spain, Hungary, Sweden, Malaysia, Columbia, Guatemala, Peru, Taipai, Korea, Japan, Brasil

Here are some fun pictures - Love these guys to death, So proud of you both!!

The dynamic duo

The official photo

A BIG part of TKD is learning to wait

Getting ready to fight

Final prep

Trying to stop a bloody nose


The only kid that smiles after being kicked in the face 

Master Lee with Billy

The team!!

Photos of countries

Can you name them all?

So impressive

And the matches - check out his streaming bloody nose and the second face shot he takes, shakes his head and keeps going.