23 September, 2014

Overview of the weekend

Some of those at OMF Queensland Day Conference,
praying for Japan.
It's the September holidays at last. Americans would call it "Spring Break", though it is two weeks long, a bit bigger than a break. We're travelling around Queensland visiting family (Toowoomba and Springsure) and stopping to do some camping in-between.

But I want to give you a bit of a run down on how our crazy weekend went.

Warm-up prior to the wrestling meet.
On Saturday we were awake before 5, and left home at 6.15am. We took our eldest son to the airport and waved him off on his first aeroplane trip on his own. He flew down to Melbourne in order to be in time for weigh-in (on Saturday) prior to the National Youth Wrestling Championships on the Sunday.
A tall, echo-filled gym. The acoustics were dreadful.

Then the rest of us went to the Queensland OMF annual conference, which was, thankfully, only 15 minutes drive from the airport. We spent 9.00-3.30 meeting people and answering questions. We spoke up front for while too. 

At 3.30 we farewelled my parents and the other two boys, who were going to spend the next two days with their grandparents, and took off for the airport ourselves. At 7.20 we landed in chilly Melbourne, caught a taxi and met up with our wrestler, his coach and teammate at the motel.

The next morning the guys headed off for a high protein breakfast at McDonalds and David and I enjoyed a quiet (and lower calorie) breakfast alone at the motel. Then we walked down the street to Victoria University and spent the rest of the day watching wrestling.

Our son was in a category of three, including himself. He wrestled hard and beat both his competitors, winning gold. It was great to be there to witness it and support him. And I got my wrestling fix!

Struggling to gain control of his opponent.
Apparently there were only 45 competitors (from 6 to 18 years of age) at this national school-age competition, which gives you an idea of the size of the sport in Australia. Probably, though, there is double or triple that number of school-age wrestlers in the whole country. But the travel time and costs of travel were prohibitive. If it had been held in Queensland, for example, we would have had all three of our boys involved in the competition.

But we're getting a good picture of wrestling in Australia. Small, but the standards are still fairly high. If any of our sons want to pursue the sport after they finish school and are living here, there is scope to continue into the senior (18+ years of age) ranks.

Spending the day with Jan was a blessing, even if I did end
up with a scratchy throat from trying to talk over all
the noise!
An unexpected outcome was catching up with an OMFer (Jan McCalman) who once served in Japan, but who we hadn't seen for several years. She now lives in Melbourne and met us at the wrestling. It was her first time watching the sport and she enjoyed it, except for the little kids who often got quite emotional when they lost.

We caught a 7pm flight back to Brisbane and by 10.30 were home. Exhausted, but happy that we had taken the plunge and explored something we previously knew nothing about: Australian Freestyle/Olympic-style Wrestling. We brought back videos of our son's bouts, but nothing beats being there. So glad we could be there with him.

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