My weekend was packed full of Cornhusker State Games fun! We kicked it off Friday night with the parade of athletes, and the opening ceremonies. Joe and I walked with the Martial Arts group in the parade, to hang out with the kids from the dojo who were there. A good number of people showed up to represent three of the four arts. When I lamented to nine year-old Steve that I was the only person there from Jiu-Jitsu, he patted me on the shoulder and said “Jiu-Jitsu is your thing.” Lol! Yes it is, but it’s not just mine!
I particularly enjoyed the torch lighting at the opening ceremonies this year. The mystery torch lighter was Erika Anschutz, a World Champion compound bow archer from Nebraska. She shot a flaming arrow 35 yards into a 5-foot diameter cauldron to light the torch! I thought it was appropriate, because this seems to be “the year of the archer”.
Then on Saturday morning we showed up at 8am to help get the ball rolling on the Karate State Games. We were short-handed on volunteers, and we only ended up with enough people to run two rings, so it took a little longer than usual, but things ran smoothly. Even though it was pretty hot, and it was kind of a long day, everyone was understanding and patient, so I think it was an enjoyable day for all involved. I was proud of the kids from the dojo, they represented us well. I didn’t even have to put away a single chair afterward, because most of the people there (kids, parents, coaches, from all of the schools) stayed to help clean up!
We started this morning at 8am as well, with the Judo State Games. That was actually a relief, because if they had not set up the chairs last night, we would’ve had to be there at 7am. It IS possible for me to be awake and arrive by then, but it is NOT possible for me to be pleasant at that hour! When I showed up with an iced coffee in hand, The Captain Sensei told me I was not welcome there because I didn’t bring enough for everyone, and I told him that I would be more than happy to go home and go back to sleep!
The Judo Games also rocked! I believe they are in the lead, with a total of two more competitors than in Karate (however I predict that next Saturday, Jiu-Jitsu will beat them both!). Again I was proud of all of our students, and I enjoyed watching the competition from behind the table. There were some really nice ippons, and a few of them happened in under five seconds! I especially loved seeing some of the kids out there with big smiles on their faces, truly enjoying themselves.
I did not compete in Judo, because Sensei told me I shouldn’t. Since I’m not 100% due to injury, and my potential opponent was a white belt who outweighs me by over twenty pounds, he said it wasn’t worth the risk (because “white belts are the ones who always hurt people.” ;). Amy also did not compete, because she injured her shoulder while practicing yesterday (which is why you should NOT randori the day before a tournament!). Both of us were also busy working the entire time, so it was a relief to not have to worry about competing.
I couldn’t get any pictures during the actual tournaments, because I didn’t have time to think about it, but Joe did get a few during the opening ceremonies. It was a great weekend of Budo, and any time I get to spend a couple of days hanging out with Auntie Donna (who is a Judo mom, and my aunt-in-law) it’s always a good time! Donna rescued us by showing up at the Karate tournament and helping run a table (even though she had never done it before, and she had no idea how to until I taught her). At Judo she was in charge of handing out belts, and she will be there next Saturday at the Jiu-Jitsu tournament to assist in whatever way she can. Volunteers like her are what make the State Games possible, and I want to thank each and every person who helps out in any way.