I've always been terrified of competing.
I hate attention, having any kind of audience, and having teammates watching so I can potentially let them down. I've gotten a lot better mentally with this since this time last year, but around August 2016 I tried to challenge that mentality on a whim.
Rather quickly and spontaneously, my negative thoughts of being shamed and embarrassed in front of my teammates for getting tapped in ten seconds turned into, "No one really fucking cares. Do it now or you never will."
Here's the thing. I've only ever competed once in a two-lass bracket at a NAGA a year ago that everyone has long forgotten about, but facing one of my worst fears that day is something I'll never forget. I don't think I'll be competing again very soon, but I may eventually.
John DePasquale saved my ass that day and I didn't even know it.
John is a purple belt at South Jersey Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and a fellow photographer. A lot of teammates were at the tournament that day and John happened to be shooting for fun. I had no idea he shot any photos of me until after the only match I had.
If I ever step onto a competitive mat again, I'll be sure to hire a photographer to document it.
I thank my lucky stars that he was there. Otherwise, this is what would be floating around social media instead of his gorgeous photography.
THIS IS WHY WE NEED PHOTOGRAPHERS.
How could I have forgotten to practice my badass "exhale at the ground while I point my finger in the air" pose?? As hilarious as this is, and as much as I'll probably regret sharing this later (please, spare me the screenshots and memes), I NEED to share it so hopefully someone else doesn't make this mistake. I always knew how important dedicated coverage was, but clearly not enough to hire someone - the feeble part of me thought it foolish to hire someone for a mere local tournament like this. But those were just the bad thoughts talking. I had absurdly good thoughts and happy dances upon receiving these photos though - I can't express how insanely lucky I was.
Some of my biggest treasures are the memories John DePasquale gave me of the day I grew my little lady nuts and said screw it.
Seriously, SO MUCH BETTER THAN THAT IPHONE PHOTO.
It's pretty awesome looking back and joking about how scared shitless I was that day, in its righteous quality.
Thank you so much John for the beautiful photography you honored so many of us with that day!
For more information about John DePasquale, visit his website here. Weddings are his absolute specialty - drop him a message if you're in the market for a wedding photographer!