19 January, 2014

Wrestling Mums Club

There's a photo I wish someone had taken yesterday while we were at another wrestling event.

We had lots of family members supporting the team. One reason is because we were at the closest international school to CAJ, less than an hour's drive. Another reason is that the school (American School in Japan) was hosting a number of other sports events yesterday, including a middle school wrestling tournament, which meant there were a number of other CAJ supporters around who mightn't have come if it was just high school wrestling.

It was particularly exciting to have the company of a number of other wrestling mums. The photo I would have liked was of about half a dozen of us mums lined up on the bleachers (what do Australians call seating at a sporting event?) cheering for the team. I believe we made so much noise at one point that one of the usually unflappable referees turned to look at us in a break in the action! There usually aren't many women around these events. I've been getting around in rather a man's world, so it was great to have some feminine companionship. 

One of the new middle wrestlers was supported by his mum and two of his three big sisters and one of their friends (that's a total of four women!). The family is Filipino and none of them has ever seen much wrestling before this year, so they were a bit wide-eyed. Another mum and I spent some time helping his mum understand the rules (as I wrote back here it is very difficult to follow if you don't understand some of what's going on). I asked his sisters what their early impressions were and they said, "The gym is smelly!" She didn't understand why they got all sweaty. As my husband said, "She's obviously got no idea how hard it is to flip someone over on their back who doesn't want to be flipped over!"

But I was impressed by this new member of the "Wrestling Mums Club". The middle school wrestling was first up (we didn't arrive with the high schoolers until after 10am), followed by several hours of high school wrestling. She stayed, with her kids, at watched the high schoolers until 3pm, wanting to learn more about this sport her son is enjoying.

Gritty screen shot from a video from
The joy just kept coming with this informal "club meeting". A mum of one of the Senior wrestlers raved on and on to me about how good our son is and how she loves to watch him wrestling, "He's so entertaining!" It was a bit overwhelming and certainly something a man wouldn't do, but was wonderful for my happy mother's soul! 

Yesterday he had three bouts and won them all, two pins and one in a "technical fall" which is when the points between two wrestlers is greater than seven points, which ends the match. That means he's had 11 bouts so far this season and won 9 of them, 8 of them by pins. That is way beyond what I expected for this, his first high school season. We expected the level of wrestling would go up, and it has, but he's matching it fairly well. It does help to remember that most of the time he's not wrestling the top wrestler from a school, but rather the second or third best a school has in his weight category, because he happens to be in the same weight category as our school's best wrestler. But still, we're not unhappy. It's been a good "apprenticeship" year, a year to ease into high school wrestling, getting more experience, without being devastated by vastly superior wrestlers.

Yesterday's meet was a complicated one. All six international schools in the league were there, but they didn't all wrestle each other, it was a collection of nine duals, each school only faced off against three other schools. A dual is where one school wrestles against another. The dual concept is pretty simple, really, they run through the weight classes, with the representative from each school wrestling their opposite number. Our son's bouts weren't a part of that, they were extras tacked on the end to give the wrestlers who aren't the best in their weight class at their school a chance to "have a go".

Here's a list of the schools we wrestle against (and most of the other inter school activities happen with these schools too, as well as a girl's schools and some other international schools like Yokohama International):

American School in Japan (ASIJ)
St Mary's (Catholic boy's school)
Yokoda High School (US Airforce base school)
Nile C Kinnick High School (US Navy base school)
Zama High School (US Army base school)

In wrestling this year, St Mary's and Kinnick are the best schools, and it was very exciting to watch them dual yesterday. The St Mary's coach is usually very mild mannered and calm, but yesterday he was yelling and jumping and quite dynamic! And we had front-row seats: it was directly in front of where we happened to be seated. Lots of fun!

But you know, I could go and on. But I think it is probably time to call it quits. After all this isn't a meeting of the Wrestling Mum's Club!

No comments: