14 February, 2014

Oh the fun you can have when you . . .

Yesterday I had such a fun day! As I wrote on Monday, I went to the biggest annual wrestling event that our school is involved in. It included international and US base schools from Japan, Korea, and Guam. 16 schools in all. Quite large considering our local league is only six schools.

We left home at about 7.30, arrived a bit after 9 and watched continuous wrestling until after 5pm. That's right, continuous—there was no lunch break. The two mats that filled the gym each had a wrestling match going on for more than eight hours!

It was noisy and busy. Plenty of tension and emotion in the air, since every bout counted.

Five of the six mums who were there yesterday. We had a
bird's-eye view from the top of the stands and had a great time.
Two of these mums saw their sons win gold today.
Most schools didn't have many parent supporters, because they'd come a long way. So our team of eleven guys and two coaches, with about a dozen parents, was privileged. And I tell you we made a lot of noise at times! Especially fun was having these other mums here. 

There was great spirit amongst the parents and I had some great, if somewhat fragmented, conversations with a couple of other mums. Watching wrestling like this isn't conducive to good conversation, because our team was fairly strong and frequently we were interrupted by needing to cheer for someone, sometimes two at once! We had lots of fun!

One reason I went was to take our wrestling son so that he could watch some higher level wrestling and learn. But also to familiarise him with this bigger event, presuming that he'll probably be on the team in a couple of years. He's glad he went, though it was a long day and he did get a little bored because he wasn't wrestling himself. 
This was a long and hard fought match. We yelled like crazy.
Here the ref is about to raise the CAJ wrestler's arm.

But I am super glad that I went. After watching these guys all season, it was fabulous to see them wrestling at their best. Our team did very well, better that I expected. Of our 11 wrestlers, six of them ended up in Finals. It is a three day event and the finals matches (for the first six places) were held this morning. I was very hard not to go back today. Our school ended up with two golds (Far East Champions), two silvers, two bronzes and one sixth.

At one point the seniors were warming up on this stage
area (with 16 schools in the gym, plus spectators and
coaches, there wasn't much room). A couple of the mums
went down to take a photo of them. I was way down the
other end of the gym and my zoom didn't quite cut it
in this low-light environment.
Those six medals were all taken by Seniors who've been wrestling for several years together. It would have been sweet to have been there to see that. 

I especially want to hug the mum of one of the guys who took out a gold. He has worked so hard at his wrestling, but always seems to get third, to lose out to a bad draw or a bad call from the refs. And he's such a lovely guy, a really great sport too. But this time, when it most counted, he triumphed against an excellent wrestler (to whom he'd lost at least twice this season).

I was really touched to see two of the wrestlers give their mums hugs at the end of the day. So sweet!

This is an attempt to take a panorama shot with my little
camera to give you a sense for what the place looked like.
On a funny note, I used US currency for the first time ever. We've gathered some in a little zip-lock bag as we've moved on and off US bases, and our son went to Guam last year too. My husband dragged it all out on Wednesday and said, you could use some of this up. Good idea! Unfortunately, not as easy as it sounds. If you've travelled overseas, you'll know it takes a while to get to know a new currency. I could manage the bills okay, the quarters (25 cents) were also okay, but the rest of the coins were a bit of a mystery. I ended up pulling all my change out and asking the lady at the concessions stand for some help. She picked through my coins and found (I hope) the appropriate ones. She was fully sympathetic, though, as a military wife she's lived in at least Japan and Europe and has had to deal with those currencies. I was very grateful for her help!

One advantage to the long travelling times in this city (the 22km took us over an hour yesterday), is that you can have some great conversations. We travelled with the above mentioned wrestler's parents. It was great to get to know them better.

But this marks the end of my wrestling highs for now. I'll just have to settle down for a bit and . . . hmmm, sleep in on Saturdays? Or, start working harder on preparing for home assignment? Maybe both!

But first I want to see some videos from today's finals...


Ken Rolph said...

Did you ever imagine, when you were in school and making up lists of things you wanted to be, that you would end up as a wrestling commentator?

Wendy said...

No, I had no idea. But then I never imagined myself with three boys, or living in Japan either. Even a couple of years ago when our son started wrestling, I had no idea it would become such a passion, for him or for me!

I think most of the mums at wrestling were equally surprised at the turn in life that their son's passions had taken their own lives. Even a mum whose older son had wrestled most of his school years, expressed surprised when her younger son got very emotional on Thursday when he lost an important match. She wasn't aware that he was so invested in this sport, and had had no idea a couple of years earlier that this would be where he'd end up. And following that, surprised that she found herself sitting at this 3-day long event!