12 January, 2014

Another Day of Wrestling

Yesterday began early, as you can see from the time tag on this screen shot on my phone. It also tells you it was pretty cold outside.

We didn't bother feeding the boys breakfast. I had a little, and our bus driver (David) had a full breakfast. In lieu of that we packed a whole bag food: from fruit to nuts and dried fruit, to bread rolls, cheese, and eggs. Later on in the day we pulled out chocolate (and some coffee for mum) too! 

This was on one of the infamously blocked-up
roads, Kampachi Rd. It isn't an expressway, but
it was about 6am on a Saturday!
In fact that bag was one of the keys to getting through our long day, we had food on hand whenever someone felt peckish. It's something we've gotten used to in sitting through two years of long wrestling meets, often there isn't much time to be going off to find food (if there is any food to be found, school gyms aren't always close to somewhere to buy food). So it is advantageous to bring small easily consumed and somewhat nutritious food.
Driving through Tokyo streets in the early morning was illuminating. The traffic still seemed heavier than it should at 5.30/6 on a Saturday morning.
We arrived at the base at 7.15, in good time.
I was amused to find that this gate is called
"Womble Gate". We know the Wombles as a
show from our childhoods, but it turns out that
Rear Admiral John P. Womble lead the first
landing at this spot on Honshu.
I know this is hard to read: it was through a
slightly foggy windscreen (still cold outside) while
we waited for clearance to go through the gate.
I was struck by the not-so-good English here.
Number 3 reads: "The Driver must open all doors
and compartments (hood, trunk, cargo, gas cap,
glove box, etc.) and then upon completion of
inspection." You'd think an American Naval
Base could have good English at their front
door, wouldn't you?
Here is a blow-by-blow version of our son's wrestling results, as I proclaimed on my Facebook page.
About 10am: Our son won his first bout with a pin. Yay! 
About 11am: Then he lost in the second round by a pin. He was strong, but the other guy got the upper hand. 
At about 1pm: Third bout he won by a pin only 2 seconds from the end. That's 5 minutes and 58 seconds of parental agony folks! So glad I'm here though. 
A bit later: Okay. His (wrestling) day is finished with four pins: two for and two against. Not a bad showing for his first high school tournament.
So, he had half and half success. It turns out his last wrestle he lost on a big mistake, he'd already won on points and the bout would have finished there if he'd let his opponent go, but he persisted in trying to pin him and ended up getting pinned himself.

But, as I've written before, they often learn more from their losses than they do from their wins, so a couple of losses are really his gain. They also serve as a basis from which the coach can teach him how to improve next time.

We spent most of the time in the stands, but when our
son wrestled we huddled down next to the mat like this.
Most especially in order to get good video footage without
people walking between us and the mat, but it was
great to be close to the action.
By far the most exciting (from our perspective) was his third wrestle. As I wrote above, he pinned his opponent only 2 seconds before the end of the six minute bout. His opponent had more points when they came to the end of the first three minute period. Then our son turned the tables in the second half. It was agonising to watch, because it seemed than either could have won, almost to the very end. Watching the video, I realise that with only 28 seconds left on the clock they were called to their feet and set in action again. They were tired, but I think our son has fairly high endurance and was able to pull his opponent down into a pin in just 26 seconds.

I'm going to have to revise my supporting strategies, though. From the video I was obviously shouting a whole lot of stuff (some helpful, others not), but our son tells us he hears nothing, occasionally something from the coach, but not from us. After 6 minutes of yelling, I didn't have much voice left for a bit. Probably not a great use of my voice! But what to do? It is very difficult to watch without shouting something...

A former team manager came along to support the team (students do this as a voluntary thing, and it seems it is always girls who do this for the wrestling team; they help the coaches with various tasks, including scoring). She was sitting with us when we watched this 6-minute monster and taking photos (I hope she got some good ones). She turned to me at the end and said, "Wow, he's so good! And he's only a Freshman, I can't wait to see him when he's a Senior." My mummy heart was glowing!

Just across the road from the school was a small
indoor food court. We enjoyed Subway for lunch.
A rare treat!
Yesterday was the first time we've had a wrestler in a large high school tournament (there were over 100 wrestlers there yesterday, 16 in our son's weight category). All of the middle school tournaments we've been to in the last two years were of the larger variety, but the CAJ team was in a serious minority with only two or three wrestlers. It was the first time to be at a large tournament with a 17-strong team. It makes a difference. I think it gives more perspective to a loss and provides the individual with more resilience. 
Enjoying milkshakes at 4.30 after the tournament 
was over. Last year the same tournament 
finished at 8pm . Needless to say we were so 
relieved that it finished earlier this year. 
Even though it was a long day I thoroughly enjoyed being there with them all. Thankfully the younger two also enjoyed the day. We didn't have any major meltdowns. After lunch I took the younger two out and we played a version of handball against one of the outside walls of the gym. Good exercise in the midst of a long day of sitting (eight hours on backless bleachers isn't a joke).

And moving back in the opposite direction, in 
the dark again. It took it nearly three hours to 
drive the 70km home (including some expressway 
driving). This is the same notorious road
as the one above.
However I'm glad the next three meets are much closer to home. It's been a challenging week, first week back after holidays. But yesterday was a fun, if tiring way to finish it.

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