Nebraska hosts the 2015 State Games of AmericaEvery summer for the past ten years, I’ve been a volunteer with the Cornhusker State Games, helping out at the tournaments for Karate, Judo, and Jiu-Jitsu (when it’s been included), and this year Nebraska was the host of the State Games of America, so people from all over the U.S. came to Lincoln to compete! My husband and I attended the opening ceremonies on Friday night, then we worked at the Karate tournament for over ten hours on Saturday, and on Sunday we spent six hours at the Judo competition (there was no Jiu-Jitsu this year, sad face) so it was a real whirlwind weekend!

Ken has legs, and he knows how to use them!

Dojo bro Ken got gold in Karate, and silver in Judo!

Karate was the largest, we had three times as many competitors than normal, but everything went well. I ran one of the scoring tables, and since there were several rings going at once, we needed a lot of volunteers to keep things moving, and we pulled it off, with the help of a few people from other states! For the Judo tournament, we actually ended up with more volunteers than we needed, so I didn’t have as much to do, and I was able to spend time as a spectator for a change, which was nice. Overall, I definitely think that Lincoln Martial Arts Center did Nebraska proud as hosts of the games this year!

Kea getting his kesa gatame on!

My cousin Kea won all of his Judo matches in under a minute, earning the gold medal!

Even though I don’t currently train Karate or Judo, I still help out with their tournaments, partially because I have experience (which is helpful to the directors and other volunteers), but mostly because I’m able to hang out with awesome people, who I don’t get to see very often, since I stopped training at the dojo (except for Ethridge Jiu-Jitsu class). When you enjoy the company of the people you’re with, and the atmosphere is positive, then volunteering doesn’t seem as much like work, it was mostly like I just spent the weekend with friends, watching some great competitions!

“Ain’t it amazing all the people I meet?
We are volunteers of America.” -Jefferson Airplane


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