11 December, 2016

Yesterday: first wrestling of the season

Yesterday was a huge day for our family. 

4.30 I woke up and never made it back to sleep with lots to anticipate in the day ahead. However I laid huddled in my warm bed with my iPhone and Kindle until 6am.
This is the line-up of guys in the same weight class as our son. They were waiting to officially weigh-in. Weign-in is strict. Even 0.1 of a pound over is not acceptable. They use pounds because a significant number of the schools in the league are American-base schools.

5.30 David got up and prepared lunches for us plus put a few breakfast items out for people to choose from.

6 I got up and woke up our youngest wrestler then had breakfast.

6.30 David left with our youngest son to go to the middle school meet. David was both driver and coach for their meet today.

6.45 I woke our eldest son. Packed everything up, hung up washing and ignored the breakfast wash-up. And the two of us left soon after 7 to walk down to school. With all we needed for the day including our own lunch plus for the hospitality room: a slow cooker full of Japanese curry, a full 10-cup rice cooker, an Esky (cooler) with drinks and cold meat etc. He didn't have breakfast because he wasn't sure he was under the weight limit for his weight class. It turned out he was a fraction over and had to sweat a bit of it off before the official weigh-in at 8.30.

7–8 I spent helping set-up the hospitality room for the coaches and officials. I had lots of help, so it wasn't a big deal.

8-10 This was a waiting, the most boring time of the day. The wrestlers weighed-in, warmed-up, cut finger nails (see the communal finger-nail clippers attached to the bin in the photo, ewww, but you really don't want to wrestle someone with long fingernails and they are very strict about it). But it also included a nostalgic time of seeing people we haven't seen since last wrestling season.

9 At around this time the seven-strong middle school team was in action at another international school an hour away. All barring our son were novices but they came away with two gold, two silver, and a bronze from their round-robin competition (each competing in a group of four wrestlers around their weight). Our 11 y.o. son had a rough start and ended up a little battered (strained back and sore neck) but he was brave and went on to pin his next two opponents.

Not long after 9 our middle son also arrived at the gym, having slept in. He's a relatively keen spectator of wrestling, even though he's chosen not to do it himself.

10 Just before 10 they started wrestling and this continued till after 5pm with a 30 min lunch break. With 19 wrestlers on our team we were kept busy cheering for our team members. Someone said to me that one of the great things about wrestling is that you can get quite close to the action, a bit different to sports like soccer, hockey, and cricket.

2.40 The middle school team and David made it back to CAJ and we were all together again.

This is our son giving his opponent a nice face plant. This guy actually went up against our son several times last season too, some of the hardest fought battles we've seen our son involved in. Yesterday our son was quite dominant. I was interested to see how friendly this guy was off the mat, he even came up and gave our son some coach-type advice mid-way through a bout with another wrestler. Again I'm impressed with the camaraderie between competitors.
It took a while to feel I was back into the groove again, but it was nice to be back in this season. Additionally we had the pleasure of seeing our eldest son start his senior year with an undefeated tournament and claiming gold.

Below is the full array of the gym. About 150 competitors, about 25 coaches and officials plus plenty of supporters. Our gym was bursting and the atmosphere was great!

Here's the hospitality room looking all neat and tidy. All the hard work was coordinating things beforehand. It was all self-serve and there wasn't a lot to do besides just occasionally checking that all was okay (we had a roster of parents to do this through the day). There was clean-up, but our team helped a lot with that. They cleaned out almost all the left-overs like a plague of locusts.

5.45 Wrestling finished and awards were handed out. Then the long process of cleaning up the whole gym began. I think we finally got home at about 7.30. Tired but satisfied with the day.

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