Semi-Finals 2015

Posted: April 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

I thought I was done.

Earlier this year I had decided to stop going out for the team. It would have been nice to get my name on the belt, but after being on six teams, some of the joy had gone out of it.

The thing that I really valued out of those teams were the bonds formed with many other poets. These are people who I would not have been friends with in most circumstances, yet there it was.

I really value that.

But then things changed… there is so much negativity floating around my life that I decided to sit this one out and deal with that. I would still be going to the festival, of course, as National Slam Master, so I decided I would slam less, step aside and…

Well, the ‘and’ is that never happened. We kept needing more poets at our shows. I kept slamming and wonder of wonders, as soon as I stopped caring about my results, I started winning.

I won a lot this year, but all the way through I kept saying that I wasn’t going out for the team. I told Daniel that he would have the top seed in the semi-finals because even if I finished ahead of him, I would be stepping aside.

In the end I WAS the top ranked poet this season, which was nice. Then I DID step aside.

And then I stepped back in.

As I was trying to fill the spots for our semis, I was getting some friendly and well-meant pressure from friends who wanted me to do it.

I guess, deep down, I still wanted it, because I caved and put myself back on the list.

Then I figured that if I was going to do it, I was going all in. No messing around… get my name on the belt.

I prepared for semi-finals and ‘expected’ to win it. (I put ‘expected’ in quotes because I don’t mean it in an arrogant way. I just mean I put myself in that mind-set. I was there to win.)

I had prepared nothing new, though. I mean, normally I start prepping for semis and finals around February. This time I had a week. That’s okay, I figured. That was what I had been doing all year, and it kept working.

I came third.

I couldn’t have been happier.

I am serious. I don’t know if anybody in the place was cheering as loudly as Brad (who came fourth) and I when Nina was announced as the winner.

Now, third is still enough to get me into the Finals, but it was hardly the slam-dunk performance that I had been ‘expecting’. So why was I happy?

In the first round, I finished second, tied with Nina Vuleta behind Sarah Ruszala. In the second round I fell back, with Nina passing Sarah for the win.

I am not going to indulge in revisionist history and claim that the reason I run CapSlam shows is to create a stage for the youth. It isn’t true. I volunteered to help run the show to ensure there was a place for me. Does that sound selfish and self-centered? Sure. But this was back in 2006 and I was fresh on the scene.

And then I kept running the show. I am on my third Collective Director and I am still here… even after I am questioning what I am getting out of slam, I still love running the show.

Because I look at what that show has done for people who have crossed the stage.

I mean, even if you just look at my teammates over the years.

Danielle K.L. Gregoire, Nathanael Larochette, Mehdi Hamdad, Free Will, Ikenna Inyegbula, Komi Olaf, Suhaib Agial, Ian Keteku, Brandon Wint, Sean O’Gorman, Sense-Say, Bruce Narbaitz, Graeme O’Farrell, V, Brad Morden, Gavin Russell, Avonlea Fotheringham, Candice Bruchhaeuser, Artemysia…

That says nothing of the incredibly talented people who have graced our stage who I didn’t get the opportunity to work with like PrufRock, Jamaal Rogers, Steve Sauve, Festrell…

(I would say Kevin Matthews, but we worked together in the Copper Conundrum with Danielle Gregoire)

So what did I see Saturday night?

The next generation rising to the top. Nina Vuleta is FOURTEEN! Sarah Ruszala isn’t much older (you know, compared to me, anyway…)

This has been fun and YES, I would like to get my name on the belt, but if I instead spend my time helping people like this grow as artists and people… that is time very well spent.

Another semi-final to go to see who the other four finalists are. I am pretty sure Daniel Patterson will have something to say about this becoming an all-youth team, but there you go.

No matter what happens, I am happy.


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