Perspective: Judo, COVID-19, and a Lost Season


Punahou Judo Competitors


Now is not the time to resent. Now is the time to be selfless. Hundreds of thousands of people have died around the globe, the economy has taken a nosedive, domestic abuse has increased, and kids can no longer go to school. These are just a few of the devastating effects of COVID-19. Everyone around the world is dealing with the pandemic differently. On one side  I see people ordering expensive takeout and enjoying their time in lockdown, and on the other I see people rushing to the food bank and counting every dollar bill that they have left. Being the seventeen year old girl I am, I can’t help but feel frustrated towards the cancellation of my senior sports season. While this has brought me great disappointment, this is just a small, tiny issue in the grand scheme of a pandemic. 

Ever since we were young, we’ve had fire drills and lockdown drills.  However, how many of you actually know what to do when a fire breaks out during your chemistry class? Or when a dangerous stranger arrives on campus? I’m sure many of you have seen or heard about school shootings, but never once expected one. Sometimes, the course of our lives changes so rapidly that it’s so hard to even comprehend what is going on despite having prepared for it. Thus, it’s completely understandable for us to be panicking right now. After all, we’ve never practiced social distancing or prepared for a war against an invisible enemy. 

No one expected a pandemic this big other than maybe Bill Gates and a few others. When the Coronavirus first broke out in Wuhan, I didn’t even know about it. When Mr.Reddy spent hours talking about it in my Capstone class, I questioned why this was even relevant to our class. “I have better things to focus on,” I thought. However, in a matter of weeks, I went from being a bystander, to being a victim of this horrible virus. What was once something I couldn’t care less about ended up stealing one of the most cherished moments of  my life. 

I started judo four years ago. Up until then, I had never competed in athletics. I spent my first two years in high school getting used to the physical toll that judo exposed me to. Junior year I finally started to get better. That said, I lost my blood match at the State tournament and never got to place. My senior year was supposed to be my redemption at being able to stand on the podium. I spent my school nights practicing at club until 9pm every other day, and I ran extra miles to make weight. When spring came around, I went to both school and club practices, a total of five hours per day in the dojo. Despite this, our season was cut short 2 days before our first tournament. I felt like none of my effort or sacrifices mattered. The worst part of it all is that I can’t blame any of my frustration on anyone. 

That said, in a time when healthcare workers are tirelessly working to save lives and when scientists are racing against time to find a vaccine ASAP, I shouldn’t be the one to complain. Nor should I be the one to cry when family members of the deceased are trying their best to remain strong. Now is not the time to resent anyone or anything. In the same way I may feel like I’ve lost an important time in my life, so has everyone else. Teammate Breyden Watanabe ‘20 says, “This was the time for us to shine and now that we can’t compete or do anything, I feel like there’s still something for me to prove”. Underclassmen, Kaylynn Hashiro ‘22 also says, “The fact that sports got cancelled is a hard pill to swallow. Now all that’s left to do is embrace it and move on, because I can’t do anything to change it.” 

While it’s easy to magnify our own problems, sometimes it’s important to step back and see the problem on a larger spectrum. Instead of turning my disappointment into resentment, and frustration into anger, I hope I can propel these emotions towards accomplishing something greater. I hope that all of us, in our own ways, can embrace this moment and come out stronger from this experience. My heart goes out to those who are fighting against COVID-19 and the devastating effects of it.