Journal Entry: Albert Glenn Hudson-05/14/2024-Grandmaster Sacrifices

Journal Entry

I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal that struck a chord. The name Maurice Ashley wouldn’t ring the bell to most Americans unless you were deeply entrenched in the world of chess. Maurice Ashley is the first African American that was inducted into the United States Chess Hall of Fame. The article compared sacrifices made on the chessboard to sacrifices made in life.

What is a “Sham Sacrifice”?
A sham sacrifice is where one can easily see that whatever is given up will return concrete benefits that can be clearly calculated.

What is a “Real Sacrifice”?
Real sacrifices offers gains that are neither immediate or tangible. With real sacrifices, we are taking a risk that we don’t truly know if what we are doing is worth it, but without risk nothing is gained.

“Many positions cannot be won or saved without something of value being given away. Certain types of sacrifices happen so frequently that to an experienced player they might be considered routine, almost boring, and it often takes an unusual sort of sacrifice to quicken the pulse of jaded grandmasters who have seen tens of thousands of them in their lifetimes.”

He’s talking about strategy and sacrifices in chess, but it made me reflect back on my life, and think about what sacrifices I have made, both good and bad. How are my scales balanced? Do they need to be? Are my thoughts of my good and bad sacrifices based on objective facts, or am I being delusional and being led with an inflated ego not willing to face the brute reality that some of my sacrifices have caused great pain to other humans? Is there such a thing as a bad sacrifice, and if it is, who is the judge? Can I genuinely care about a person or situation, but at the same time offer an irresponsible sacrifice?

Maurice Ashley’s mother made a real sacrifice when she left him and his two siblings in Jamaica when he was just two years on a desire to build a better life for her kids. She left her children in the hands of her mother while she scraped and clawed to better herself in order to provide for her children. It took her 10 years to gain citizenship to the United States, and to be able to bring her family with her, but she succeeded despite many setbacks. She had understanding that curves in the road would only stop her if she forgot to make the turn, but her GPS system remained locked & determined to arrive at her final destination.

His mother dreamed that all of her children would graduate from college which they did, but she did not foresee that her son Maurice Ashley would end up making his living from chess, her other son’s passion for martial arts led him to becoming a three-time kickboxing champion, and that her baby girl would leave a career in business and win six world titles in boxing. None of this would have been possible if it was not for the original “real sacrifice” his mother made when they were young.

In chess, some risks you take derive from intuition, and some are calculated. Due to the complexity of the game, even the chess grandmasters find it difficult to know whether a risky move will pay good dividends. That choice solely lies within the player. Does this not translate to our daily lives? Is not everything we do, our mere existence, not created by our choices?

He paints the picture that risks contains a personal vibration that affects us all differently. Some people are more comfortable taking risks than others. The real personality of the player manifests themselves on the chessboard. “Not being willing to take risks is an extremely risky strategy.” The higher our risk tolerance, the more comfort we must have with uncertainty.

What is my risk tolerance for something I truly believe in? What is your risk tolerance when it comes to operating in your purpose that goes against the grain of what others may think? I’m of the belief along with Maurice Ashley that to effectively take risks, we have to be ok with the consequences on how it turns out. Good, bad, or indifferent, we have to be at peace with the outcome. Is being at peace during risky times truly not what living is? Is this not being alive, operating on our leading edge? Is this not a behavior that we should have revere? Is this not inspiring? I find that it is.

Taking a risk does not always lend us a winning hand, nor does it need to. If our risk assessment is justifiable, our risks should be made from our muscle memory, reflexively. We build this reflexive muscle memory by habitual practice of taking action and trusting our instincts, which stretches our capacity. “Practice makes the master”. Risk taking takes courage, and I find the more courageous I am, I feel freedom, and that sense of freedom has a collective inspiration to others.

My present day reflection while being incarcerated makes me reflect on the real sacrifices my wife, mother, family, and friends have made for me while I’ve been away. I find sincere gratitude and humbleness with the selfless time they have lent me during my incarceration.

My amazing wife has given so much of herself to hold the home fort down, nurture and love our kids, keep our home lovely, thrive in her career, & still pour into our marriage with unconditional love. Yes, I’ve been a steady rock for her, I’ve been the assertive rudder guiding her ship, I’ve been the listening ear, and a voice of reason when she’s at her edge, but she’s still needed to be the Queen and take the necessary risks to thrive. I know my wife’s love language, and I recently told her that her love language is the only language I want to remain fluent. She is my modern marvel. My wife is my Superwoman.

My mother, & mother-in law have sacrificed so much of their time rotating one week on and off staying at our home to help out with the grandkids. They help take and pick them up from school, take them to doctor’s appointments, helping do homework, laundry, and all the other things that grandparents are capable of doing. My father has sacrificed many of the same things as well as taking Major to boxing practice, & keeping the yard cut at our house and at our boxing gym. He has been my wife’s right hand man when it comes to getting much needed tasks done on the outside.

My second family at our boxing gym has made countless sacrifices. Coach Terrance has been just relentless in his passion and dedication when it’s come to keeping the gym open and running. This man has stepped up in ways that words cannot fully express. From teaching classes, training the competition boxing team, traveling to tournaments, managing the other coaches, visiting me in prison, and having extensive communication with me and my family during this time. Coach Rick, AJ, Jonathan, Charles, and our manager Mrs. Rachel have all went above and beyond to take the risk and make the sacrifices for a vision & they believe in.

Was there a guarantee to my family and friends that the sacrifices they were making will pay off? Were there risks involved in what they have done by taking time out of there lives and schedules because of their belief in me? Absolutely there was, and because of their willingness to take a risk on me, I embellish carrying the weight of those sacrifices on my shoulder. It is the reason why I have used my time in prison effectively. It is why I have stayed dedicated to writing three books that will be published upon my release on boxing and fitness philosophies. It is why I birthed and created the non profit organization Major Grace Moves Foundation soon to be in effect in order to secure the future and legacy of our business that will have incredible impact on our communities & the clients we serve.

When people make sacrifices for a higher purpose, the universe rewards those efforts. As I finish my final preparations before transitioning home in less than two months, I continue to reflect back on this journey, and I am thankful for the experiences I have had, and I am thankful to know that I have been supported and covered in prayer by those closest to me, as well as those who have been more distant, but I feel your presence. Although chess is a board game, Maurice Ashley has found a way to find how the lessons there translate to life. Sacrifices require us to resist fear. Resisting fear and taking action lead to change which helps us grow, & growth leads to success. If we take the time to reflect back on the most meaningful times, and life lessons learned, it has come at the expense of some sort of sacrifice we have made, or someone has made for us. I am thankful for sacrifices.