This year’s Kids Pans was one of the highlights of our summer! For the first time since 2020, we were able to coordinate for an Easton-wide trip to Orlando, Florida for the 18 kids who competed and their families (A total of 44 people this year!)
Competing at such a high level can be intimidating, and we’re beyond proud of everybody who trained hard and put themselves out there. Trips like this make a great way for families and kids from different Easton locations to come together in support of one another at the event and feel a strong sense of community while hundreds of miles from home.
We knew it would be a lot of fun going into it, but what about the kids competing? How did their experience pan out?
Their take: Kids Pans 2022
We spoke to three students from our Easton Longmont academy to get their take: Ben (Benzai) Boatman, Marshall (Rowdy) Pritt, and Cameron (Tarzan) Thompson. We asked them three questions — what did they expect going into the experience, what was their favorite part, and what was their biggest challenge.
Rowdy tells us that his favorite part of Pans was the experience and being with his friends. He also recalls warmly how the coach of the opponent who he beat in his first round came up to him afterwards and told Rowdy he hoped Rowdy places first.
Although Rowdy lost his second match to a worthy opponent, he reflects on the experience as a whole. He had gone into the competition expecting to medal, but what he got out of it was – in our opinion – greater than any tangible object. He had gained wisdom of how to handle high-stress events and demonstrated even greater wisdom in his ability to be truly happy for his friends as they stood on the podium.
Tarzan’s experience with Pans felt more visceral as he met with Tyra, one of our on-site moms and our gracious videographer. One of the kids who has been at Easton Longmont the longest, Tarzan is always first to introduce himself to a new student and show someone the ropes.
Having done plenty of competitions, Tarzan knew it was going to be a lot going into the event, but it surpassed even the most of what he was expecting. His semi-finals match seems legendary — he describes it both as his favorite part of the whole experience and the most challenging part. Difficult and rewarding — he still seemed in shock.
How often is that true! The most challenging parts of life that seem the hardest at the time often become the biggest milestones of our growth.
Another very relatable challenge is what Benzai called his biggest one: the challenge of actually GOING there, getting out there. So often, we overthink something to the point that we don’t even try. When something seems so far away (either skill-wise, or distance-wise) we can psych ourselves out and stop ourselves too early. We barely even think the thought and already a part of our brain shuts it down.
Benzai overcame his challenge, whether it took form in thinking he couldn’t get there or wasn’t worthy, and he and his entire family (that’s five people total!) traveled to Orlando with Easton.
Benzai ended up winning the gold medal in his division, but his favorite part? Getting his grey belt on the podium! (Along with of course, getting to be a first-time Pan-American Champion of his division.)
Everyone from Easton Training Center’s academies who came out, and their families, made it a wonderful time for everybody, and all the kids had a blast! We look forward to more events like this that bring us together as a community and give our students the opportunity to compete at the highest level.