View Full Version : Contest Entry My Dad and Me. Our favorite Father Son Bonding sport

08-17-2011, 05:51 AM
Throughout my life, I did many things that a typical youth would do in Midwest suburbia like joining scouts, playing on a little league baseball team with friends in the summer, going up to my family's cabin etc. I always knew that I was different due to the fact that I was adopted and therefore different than the other children who were around me. The area in which I grew up in is a mostly Caucasian, blue collar community. I was adopted from Korea, and to this day never had the chance to meet my biological parents at all, but I do see my adoptive parents as my own and am proud to call them mom and dad.
I will tell you that I was raised in a great home in which my family did not condone using violence as a means of solving problems; therefore I was shielded from hearing about MMA until I was quite older. Though I did participate in Tae Kwan Do and Karate in my youth, I never did pursue it. I was also asked to do wrestling during HS, but declined because I thought it looked “stupid”. During my years as a toddler years all the way to my freshman year in high school I played baseball, but was pulled aside and told that I was not good enough to play anymore, so I gave up the sport and have not looked back since. During my years playing baseball, my dad displayed little interest in the game even on a professional level. He knew about the Twins here and there, but not up to date. After my baseball career came to a sudden and disappointing halt. During these years I played, I also collected baseball cards, but stopped that year I was cut because it was painful to see anything to do with the sport at all. I became bitter with the sport and soon distanced myself as far away as I could for awhile. I spent my junior year doing football and playing lacrosse all of which I enjoyed for the most part but was not able to connect with my dad.
Come winter of that year, I get a call from a friend telling me to come to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch Brock Lesnar fight Frank Mir. This was the first time in which I did watch a full UFC fight. I reluctantly agreed and went there. I arrived there to be surrounded by various men and a handful of women waiting for Brock’s debut. I sit down with the group of my friends and they seem excited like a child on Christmas. I can recall that at the time, I was extremely bored. Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg start to announce the start of the match with Lesnar and Mir both getting prepared for the fight. With that people in the establishment start to cheer. Still not impressed or too amused. The fight started and it was explosive and it suddenly to fill me with interest and I can recall how much of a smile I had on. Though I am not like other fans saying that their most memorable fight was like Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar or the early days of the sport, for me this was my first memorable fight. Though Lesnar lost his debut to Frank Mir, I knew that I wanted to do keep watching mma and try taking some sort of classes.
Well, I started to read everything I could about it the following few weeks, reading about the legends, history, and the styles. I wanted to become educated about the sport rather than just go into a place and pull stuff out of my hat, pretending to know what I was talking about and look like a total idiot. I also started to look for gyms and started to read basics on Judo. In addition to the reading I sat in on wrestling practices at my school as well. I continued working out as well trying to stay in good shape as well. I soon felt I was ready and conditioned to go to an academy or a gym with those classes. I continued watching fights throughout my senior year in high school trying to learn more and more about the fighters in the UFC, WEC, Strike Force, etc.
My senior year comes around and I decided to make a huge step by dropping lacrosse and focusing on MMA as a sport instead. People in my school were surprised I was doing that instead of playing lacrosse. I did classes until it was time for me to head out to MA for school and felt as though I had conquered all the naysayers at my school and felt I could take on the world, but I was not expecting what college life would be like.
Going to school out there was a lot different than home, I felt as if I was thrown into the pits with lions. I enjoyed my time out there, but I knew that Minnesota is where I had to be. I came home after a year and enrolled at a different school in MN. My parents finally agreed for me to go to a real gym for mma. I continued this through the summer. My dad and mom did still not like the sport and my dad and I never did talk about it until the Chael vs. Anderson fight.
It was August of that year, when my dad finally agreed to go to a scheduled UFC fight. The main card of the night was Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva for the belt. My dad was not very interested in the undercard fights. When one of the main card fights did roll around I could see it in his eyes that he was starting to become more and more impressed in the sport. After Matt Hughes vs. Ricardo Almeida fight he was almost itching as much as I was to see the fight. For those rounds, my dad and I had our eyes glued and cheered for Chael the whole time until he was caught in the arm triangle. The fight was over, the guy we wanted to win lost by way of submission. It was a great night though regardless of Anderson still having the belt. For the whole ride home my dad and I talked about the fight and how great it was. He told me he talked with his co workers at work and we went to see the next few fights at the same place again.
That spring, my gym I went to closed down after the owner decided to quit financing the gym and left for another gym to have ownership in. He left a lot of people out of a gym to practice jiu jitsu and boxing at. I was not sure what to do, like the other guys there so we all parted our separate ways. I eventually found a gym that was a Rickson Gracie affiliate school. I immediately joined and have never been happier with where I am now. Every day after I come home from the classes my dad always eagerly asks me what I learned today and we go through the moves and I teach them to him. We usually work with each other on grappling and striking frequently together. In addition we talk about upcoming fights and give predictions. Since the Chael fight he has educated himself more as well and we can carry on a long conversation about the fighters, stats, styles of fighting etc. The move to another gym and the sport of MMA has greatly improved me and my father’s relationship. For my father and I this is a sport that him and I can always enjoy to watch together as a father and son. In addition to watching the fights, we have both recently started to collect the UFC cards together.

08-19-2011, 08:32 PM
Thanks for the entry Alex! Interesting stuff! Published here: http://www.sportscardforum.com/articles/2011/08/my-father-and-i/