Sunday, June 26, 2005


On Sunday in Vegas, I competed in Point Sparring, Traditional Forms, and Weapons. We had to wait a LONG time for our divisions to get called but when they did get called, I took third in both point sprring and forms and fourth place in weapons. I didn't win a World Title like I wanted to, but my teammate, Sara, took the title in point sparring -- which made me happier than if I had won it myself. She has worked really hard and I love the fact that she won -- and she beat the girl that beat me both and Nationals and Worlds to get first. Sara ROCKS!

I did end up placing in all my divisions, which makes me consider Worlds a success considering I could hardly walk after Nationals. The guys at Project Athlete ( helped me tremendously and I couldn't have done any of it without the support of my friends and team.

I had to drive back on Sunday night since I had to go to work on Monday morning. Well, HammieLove had to drive me back. Without getting much sleep in the car and getting home at 3am, I went to work on Monday an absolute zombie. We started scuba lessons on Monday night, which meant I went to work a zombie on Tuesday too!

Thursday was probably one of the worst days of my life. My mom called me around 10am on my cell to tell me that my Uncle Anthony had succumbed to his cancer on Wednesday morning. And my grandmother had passed away from complications from Alzheimers on Wednesday night. Double whammy. I completely lost it. My boss was so wonderful and supportive. He sent me home and gave me Friday off so I could come up to my mom's house and be with my family.

My Uncle Anthony was my hero. I fought in his honor at Worlds, with "In Honor of Bandit 251 - Fight Hard -Live Strong" inscribed on the back of my headgear. I had taken pictures of it and sent it to my parents, who were in Virginia at his bedside. He was a little delirious from the medication and asked my mom for a pen and paper. He wrote (illegibly) a "press release" commending me for my performance and recommending my promotion to black belt. Uncle Tony was a general in the Air Force before he retired (Bandit 251 was his fighter pilot call sign) and I guess was used to writing and releasing press releases. He told my mom," No matter what people say, Phil (that's my dad) is proud of his daughter. We all are."

I was so lucky to have him in my life as long as I did. Tony lived his life to the fullest, usually in complete amazement that he got paid to fly. He was 6'4" and barely fit in his cockpit. When I hit 5'10" when I was 12, he told me," Always stand straight. Never be ashamed of who you are." I have carried that with me everywhere. I honestly think that advice has helped shape me into the person that I am. He revamped my resume for me and that resume was the one that I got hired at Chicago Title with, which has led to my awesome job that I have now. I owe him a lot.

I will miss you Uncle Tony. Say Hi to Nan and Jason. I know you will be keeping the skies safe once again.

I guess God needed a fighter pilot. I love you.


Blogger GreenTuna said...

A sad but very sweet and loving tribute. My condolences to you and your family.

11:51 AM  

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