19 February, 2016

It's over

I have lots of photos from this season, but I think this is my
favourite. These two tussled all season long. Six times
they met, score? Our son 4, the other guy 2. Our son
pinned him twice. They pushed one another to be better.
It wasn't easy to watch, but a great challenge for them both.
At least for the spectators. The wrestling season finished on Wednesday. It's been nearly four months since they started training five-days a week and these last five weeks have been pretty intense. It finished off with a three-day 15-school tournament in Korea that really pushed them to their limits.

The tournament is an American military tournament for the "Far East" region where they invite a few private schools to join in. The team lived on an airforce base in a motel for four nights. David said it was like living at an airport!

The first day and a half was an individual tournament, like most of the Saturday tournaments we've been to in January, except it was seeded. It has a few twists and turns to the way it was organised, which meant that when our son won then lost then won then won then lost he wasn't out of medal contention. He went into the top six (all medalists) and had a chance to get third, but it seems he underestimated his opponent and lost his first bout on Tuesday, relegating him to sixth place. Still, not a bad result at all. It was, by all reports, a tough weight class with \ the 2nd to 6th place getters all very good wrestlers. I also think that if you put them up against one another on a different day you would end up with a different end result.

Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday were a team-duel competition. Which means teams face up against one another, from the lightest category to the heaviest one, and the team that got the most points from that match-up won the duel and went on. CAJ lost, then won, then lost. They got 6th place out of the seven in their division. Our son pinned the guy who he'd lost to on Tuesday morning, which was a satisfying end to the tournament. That guy picked up 3rd place in the individual tournament.

Our son has come home with a determined attitude, he has one more crack at this competition next year as a senior. He and another member of the team are planning to train a couple of times a week with a Japanese university club in Tokyo. We'll see how it all pans out.

It's been a season of ups and downs. Certainly plenty of challenges on and off the mat. One of the most gratifying thing of watching the whole team through the season is seeing how they keep coming back each week and improving. I especially think of a couple of the lighter wrestlers who struggled early on. One didn't have much stamina and the other was a rookie, who was a bit at sea early on. Both improved significantly as the season went and it was fabulous to watch.

Of course watching our son do more wrestling than he ever has before in one season was exciting too. He's improved as well, having to dig deeper than he ever has before.

Watching our youngest son (nearly 11) start in on wrestling was also exciting, though we didn't see any of his seven matches first-hand he did very well and we got to see videos of them all. He moves into middle school in August and will be eligible to be a full-time member of the wrestling team. It seems as though next wrestling season will be even bigger than this one!

We get about a month's break until the next lot of school sport begins, though the athletes don't, training for the next season of sport begins in the next couple of weeks. The Spring season contains track and field, high school boys soccer, and middle school girls basketball. Our two oldest boys are planning to do track and field. The middle schooler to run and the high schooler for the throwing events (he's focused on building strength prior to wrestling starting again in November).

Phew! I've always encouraged our boys to be active (see our EF parenting philosophy), it helps them be nicer people and to concentrate. I guess this is where that kind of philosophy can lead! But I'm not disappointed. It is great to have active, healthy young men in the house. Much better to be out being active than stuck playing computer games as seems to be the great temptation when they don't have other things to do.

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