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GB Dana Point Kids Demonstrate the True Meaning of Heart at the Pan American Games by Andrew Wooten

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When it comes to competing there are so many factors that come into play: from how you are feeling that morning, to how good your training and preparation was leading up to the competition. Some things we  have control over: like our tournament preparation, but others we don’t, such as our health leading up to the match or our nerves. The one thing a competitor can control, that you can’t teach, is heart. This past Sunday at the 2104 Kids Pan American Games 2 of GB Dana Point’s students showed the true meaning of heart.

Vincent Morales and Jayden Eun both decided to compete at this years Kids Pan American Games, which is one of the biggest and most prestigious tournament for kids in the world.  For Vincent competing at a highest level is nothing new, as he has been competing in Jiu Jitsu and Wrestling since he could walk. Meaning competing at a tournament of this magnitude is just another tournament for him. Vince is currently in wrestling season, so not only is he training his Jiu Jitsu weekly, he is also training his wrestling. Leading up to the tournament he was feeling well prepared and confident. Everything seemed right for Vince to do what he always does and win his division, he was well prepared, focused, and was ready mentally and physically.  However, as  mentioned earlier, there are somethings a competitor can’t control. The Friday before he competed, Vince came down with the Flu. He spent all Friday and Saturday night being extremely sick, to the point he could not hold down any food or water and could not sleep. Now most people would say ,”Hey I worked hard but I there is no way I can fight I am not 100%. There is no way I can win so what is the point?[,]” and this is understandable. He had the flu, so not competing, is what most people would do. Not Vincent, still not feeling good at all and fighting the Flu; Vincent woke up that morning ready to compete and give it his all.  When I saw Vince arrive at the tournament suited up and ready to compete I was in shock, he looked weak, pale, and it was clear he was still sick, but he came to give it his best. After waiting around for a few hours it was finally Vince’s time to go, he had no food in his system, hardly any strength, but he didn’t care he came to fight. When it was his turn, he walked out onto the mat and he fought hard! You would have never known he was sick if you watched his fight. He fought with everything he had and sadly he lost the match, but it didn’t matter because he did not give up. This 11 year old boy that was hit with the flu fought, showed the true meaning of heart, because after everything he was hit with, he did not give up. He fought hard, which is more important then any medal he could have won.

Unlike Vince who has such an experienced competitive background, Jayden is fairly new to the sport he has been training Jiu Jitsu for a little over a year and competed in his first tournament just 3 months earlier. For Jayden Jiu Jitsu has really changed his life, he has tried many different sports before Jiu Jitsu, but nothing made him happy or comfortable. Nothing had helped improve his life in so many ways. When it came time to sign up for the Kids Pans, not many kids wanted to go, because of the size of the tournament. Most of the kids did not feel ready, however Jayden decided he wanted to give it a try. Thanks to the amazing team of Coaches and Professors at GB Dana Point and GB San Clemente, Jayden’s training leading up to the tournament was great and he was prepared physically, but as everyone knows that’s half the battle. The other half, is the mental aspect, which can cause even the greatest athlete to not perform at their best. For Jayden being mentally prepared was his biggest obstacle. Competing at a high level is something very new for him and out of his comfort zone, yet he still wanted to compete. At the Kids competition team practice the Friday before the tournament, he competed. He met with the coaches and expressed how he was nervous. The coaches talked yo him, confiding in  him, everything would be okay, which seemed to calm him down.  The day of the tournament, Jayden woke up good feeling great and confident ready to go and give it everything he had, but by the time he arrived at the event, he saw the stands packed full of people, which caused the nerves to pick at him. He started to question himself, why he was there, was everyone going to be watching him, should he really be there, and was he really ready to compete. At this point none of the coaches had arrived yet and Jayden had a few thoughts about not competing. He didn’t think he could do it, but finally one of the coaches arrived and took Jayden aside and talked to him. Then , the other coaches arrived and Jayden felt a little more comfortable and he decided he was going to compete. Still nervous, scared and not knowing what to expect Jayden walked to the bull pen to get ready for his fight. When his name was called he walked to the mat and you could see  in his eyes he was so scared, but when that ref said ,” go,” that look of terror became a look of determination. Jayden fought one of the best matches of the day, he fought so valliantly. Unfortunately, he lost a very questionable fight, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was he overcame his fear and showed so much heart in his fight. He fought so hard, that after the match was over, he had to throw up. He had never fought that hard before and he had nothing left. Win or lose Jayden gained more in that lose then he would have gained from winning any medal. He left it all on the mat!

After witnessing both of these events this weekend everyone in the GB Dana Point Family could not be more proud of Vince and Jayden and the amount of heart they showed, Great Job Boys!

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