“Steaks, Suits, & Champagne” was the theme last night as Crazy 88’s annual Holiday Regalia at Ruth’s Chris Baltimore. Who knew that fighters could be such ladies and gentleman? All joking aside, the night was a complete success from beginning to end, and each and every one of you deserves many thanks.
Congratulations are in order to all of our annual award recipients. Keith “Trainspotting” Cebula, for the second time in three years takes the award for Most Improved. In 2009 Keith took his game from “good to great” and won a staggering three International Medals for the school. Rookie of The Year was awarded to none other than Al “Big Al” Washington. Big Al is a true inspiration to all. Despite a severe break to his leg in late 2009, Big Al still happily fought in almost every BJJ tournament available, had multiple Muy Thai matches, and even prevailed in his first MMA smoker fight. The award for Competitor Of The Year went to a humble and much deserving Jon “Devastator” Delbrugge. Jon went from blue-belt to purple-belt in 2009, and has since traveled the globe sweeping his competition. Jon spends day and night at the academy acting as a coach and role model to all. Lastly, Jason Smith was given the coveted Student Of The Year award. Jason is a proud father of six and credited most of his success and impeccable work ethic to his wonderful children and his supporting wife, of over twenty-years, Sarah.
Crazy 88 had a lot to be thankful for this year, which was evident as toasts, hugs, and laughs filled the Ruth’s Chris ballroom. Adult membership doubled in size in 2009, and the academy itself has gone from “warehouse to penthouse,” with the addition of three thousand extra square feet, a cage, and a completely revamped reception and waiting area. The children’s program grew from six students to a whopping seventy-five students. The white-belts won thirty-five gold medals and the upper-belts took home thirty-seven gold medals, seven of which were coveted international titles.
The strides that Crazy 88 has made since its inception in 2005 are simply astounding. Crazy 88 is much more than a Jiu Jitsu & Muay Thai team – Crazy 88 is a family. As the night was coming to an end and the last stragglers were leaving the ballroom, I was approached by the Manager of Ruth’s Chris. He said, “I had no idea that a sport could affect and touch the lives of so many people in such an emotional way.” I simply could not have said it better myself. Each and every student has a different story relating to why they started and how their training has affected their lives. One thing remains constant, however – Jiu Jitsu & Muay Thai improve upon daily life.
Sincere thanks go out to each and every student and supporter of Crazy 88 for helping to create an environment for all of us to thrive. Special thanks go out to Julius Park for being the mastermind behind all that goes on at Crazy 88, to Rodeo Brian Neal for putting together a spectacular slide-show, and to Ms. Cathy Tran-Zwanez for her hard work to make the holiday banquet and Crazy 88 truly special.
*The more incriminating pictures should be available on the Crazy 88 BJJ Facebook Page.