When the year began, I knew I wanted to compete a lot. Competition makes you better, and you get to travel with your friends, and getting high-quality matches against guys you don’t know is fun.
A little extra motivation adds something, though. Before the first event of the season, I decided to donate $10 for every match I win this year to the Women’s Debate Institute, and an additional $10 to a second charity that blog readers could select. The winner of that vote was anti-cancer charity the George Pendergrass Foundation.
Now, the year isn’t over. I could conceivably still do Montreal, or Miami, or the No-Gi Worlds. For two reasons, though, I decided to wrap things up this weekend. First, I’m old and tired. I also have a few nagging injuries I’d like to let heal.
Every year, the Pendergrass twins — both black belts who have a great school, PAMA — hold benefit tournaments with US Grappling where proceeds help support the foundation. As it happens, the fall tournament was this weekend. It seemed like perfect timing to finalize the results and hand them a check.
That was all planned. What wasn’t planned was me getting sick the week before the tournament. As it happens, me getting stuck in a house for several days + Theraflu = me making an absurd giant novelty check. But then, how often do you get the chance to make an absurd giant novelty check?
I want to thank the awesome folks who offered to match my donations to one charity or the other. Your generosity meant that every win this year was worth $45 to charity. I want to thank the Pendergrass brothers for doing great work to fight cancer, and for being great sports about my goofy check. And I want to thank everybody in the grappling community for the support, and in advance for your support next year.
Without further ado: the results.
FINAL CHARITY PROJECT STATISTICS
Total Matches Won For The Year: 16
Total Raised For Pendergrass Foundation: $480
Total Raised For Women’s Debate Institute: $240
Grand Total: $720
This money isn’t going to change the world, of course. But it’s the end of the year, we did some good, and because I stashed the cash a little at a time, I didn’t miss the money. I just thought of it as additional entry fees. I plan on doing this again next year, too — and you can get involved! More on that below.
Another cool thing about the tournament this weekend: my first two t-shirt designs for Cageside MMA came out. It was fun, and kind of surreal, to see people walking around wearing my shirts. Surreal in an awesome way, kind of like making a giant novelty check while hopped up on Theraflu.
One of the shirts, the “Just Train” shirt, you can see me wearing above. The writing inside the shirt consists of common excuses people use for not training. The other is a reference to this part of the old Gracies In Action tapes:
Finally, I want to say this: I had such a blast doing the charity project this year that I plan on doing it again next year. Again, I will be donating $10 for every match I win to the George Pendergrass Foundation and the the Women’s Debate Institute.
The only difference: this year I’ll be actively soliciting more people to match either some portion of my donation or all of it.
In the next month or so, I’ll be posting the tournaments I plan to attend next year. That way, if you’re interested in splitting costs for a tournament we can travel to together, or if you’re interested in donating to support the cause — or both — you can get in touch with me and we can set it up.
Thanks for reading. Let’s do this again next year.