Fight through the jet lag

Freshman competes in international Taekwondo competitions

Story by Langley Leverett, staff writer

The seconds trickle down, agonizingly slow. Her feet move without her knowledge, stepping into the ring. The two opponents meet eyes, silently acknowledging the other, all the while assessing their odds. They shake hands, and resume their positions. The fighters breathe anticipation, until at last, the judge shouts the approval to begin. Meghan Brown is off like a bullet, and the match begins.

Brown, a freshman, traveled to the Taekwondo World Championship this past summer in Roana, Italy. Brown is a part of the American Junior Taekwondo team and hoped to bring home a gold medal.

“When I was first told I was invited to worlds, I was shocked and in denial because I was certain that they were just kidding,” Brown said. “Nothing like that has ever happened to me.”

Brown and her team flew for 20 hours from Dallas to Italy. Once they got there, they got to see some of the world’s ancient wonders.

“When we got to Rome after an overnight airport stay, we only had 45 minutes before the tours started,” Brown said. “We toured places like Pompeii and the Coliseum.”

As the days dwindled down, competition day arrived. The team was anxious about competing in such a grand scheme.

“The opening ceremony was very humbling,” Brown said. “All the competitors came down and clustered into groups. It was super cool because America was in the middle and we were all wearing the same colors and everything.”

Brown’s unawareness about the impending fighting circumstances, along with rumors about her competition, left her on edge.

“On competition day when I stepped out onto the floor, I was extremely nervous,” Brown said. “Not only did I not know what to expect, but during the year of training for the event, I was told that these girls were monsters and that they would kill and eat America for dinner.”

The competition proceeded on, until finally it was the U.S. against Russia.

“I stepped up to my opponent, looked her in the eyes, smiled, and continued looking at her as I stepped back to my spot,” Brown said. “Then the judge told us to face each other, hit gloves if we wanted, and prepare to fight. Her face was intimidating, but I decided that I’ve trained long and hard and this is what I was made to do. The judge called fight and we were off.”

After the fight started, her nerves decreased, and she began to feel confident.

“Once we got into it, I wasn’t so scared,” Brown said. “The first two points went to America and I was ecstatic. Some of my team and my boyfriend were cheering for me on the side of the ring, which made it even better.”

In the middle of the fight, Russia gained stance, and scored points. The opposing crowd went wild, but that just motivated Brown even more.

“Eventually, Russia scored and a large group of Russians roared and screamed,” Brown said. “Little did they know, they were just fueling the fire. It made me go even harder, and in the end, I won by several points.”

Brown’s victory was the last thing her team needed to win.

“It was an awesome experience, and I’m a world champion now, which is pretty great,” Brown said. “Mission accomplished.”

Brown feels confident about the upcoming competitions and is ready to get back in the ring.

“I feel like I am progressing really well, and that the upcoming training with will help me even more,” Brown said. “Next time, I’ll know what to expect.”

Along with the achievement of being a world champion, Brown is appreciative of the circumstances of America and the conditions she lives in. She is optimistic for future competitions and is thankful she got to experience this journey.
“I realized that in America we have so many privileges, and we need to be more grateful,” Brown said. “This trip has really shown me that I can do anything I set my mind to, and that trying new things makes life more interesting.”