Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Judo and OT

Since my last blog, I have begun OT for my right wrist and hand. I've had three sessions as of today and each has gotten progressively tougher. My hand and wrist are still very tight and sore which is to be expected with the amount of work that was performed.

A funny thing happened today. My therapist recognized me from 30+ years ago! She had been new to the city and lived in an apartment where a friend of mine lived. My friend ran a karate school and we partnered up. I had half of the warehouse floor for our judo club... The Academy of Kodokan Judo, Lancaster, Pa.

My therapist was a gymnast and we allowed her to use the facility to stretch and practice. She remembered the mat that we had built and even the location of the club.

She also remembered being invited by my wife and I to our annual Christmas Eve drop-in party. We had lived near McCaskey High School in a three room apartment after we had married (1977). She even remembered that my wife worked for a local company. Now that is a good memory!

Judo Revisited

This past weekend, we spent time running a score table for the USA Judo National Scholastic Youth Tournament. This tournament drew young competitors as far away as Hawaii and Alaska. There were over 400+ competitors who ranged from the little guys to the collegiate level. We even hosted a team from Puerto Rico in a Goodwill Game on the mat we worked.

My job was the Table Supervisor. I was in charge of 8-10 volunteers who ran the electronic scoreboard (laptop/monitor), brackets, Texas Score Cards, and manual timing for both the matches and hold downs just in case the laptop went down. We also had to keep all non-competing athletes and coaches who do not have athletes on the mat or on deck out of the table/mat area (they tend to gravitate to their coaches and where the action is).

The Texas Card System allows each athlete and coach to know which match number they will have throughout the competition. It's very efficient, but a major responsibility for the person doing the brackets... which happened to be my lovely and very intelligent wife. :-)

Our first day last 10 hours!! (8:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.) We had more matches than any other score table, plus, along with Mat1, we hosted 24 additional matches of the Goodwill Games b/w the Puerto Rican team and the USA Team (USA team chosen that day from all competing athletes).

Our second day went rather smoothly and we actually finished before the other three tables... Cool. (8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.) We needed that shorter day after the marathon we put in the day before.

On Friday, 5 of us put the mats together and did all the taping necessary to keep them safely together. Back in the day, we used wrestling mats. These mats were specifically designed by Swain in Texas for judo. Four mats that interconnect... cool.

There were many other volunteers preparing other areas of the venue... Poster hanging, setting up tabels, chairs, and bleachers, etc.

After lunch (bet part of volunteering) on Friday, I continued to help arrange the score, medical, and referee tables. Others had set the tables up and I arranged and placed all the identifying posters on them.



Here's a picture of our table at Matt 2. My wife is off to the right in the "official" volunteer T-shirt.


What you see here is our volunteer, Jim, working the "official" score board and timer from a laptop. Gary Berliner, MD. is the referee sitting as a corner judge.


This is a shot of our Mat 2 Score Table. You can see Jim, Laura, Mike, and Joel seated at their posts. There is a coach seated on the coaches chair and watching a match in the background.


This pic is actually a photo of Mat 1. However, one can see our score table crew off to the left and behind the competition. My wife is the lady seated on the right end of that table running the brackets for Mat 2, a very important job which doesn't allow for mistakes.


As you can see, this was a major undertaking. Prior to the event, I assumed the responsibility of seeking local judo club volunteers to assist throughout this national event. We were able to gather 20 or so volunteers. The York, Pa. Convention Center also assisted in the volunteer search. Together with USA Judo, we were able to gather enough people to run the event.

For some really great action photos from the event, please visit the USA Judo site and click on Youth and Scholastic Nationals Day 1 and Day 2, plus the "Team USA Defeats Puerto Rico in Goodwill Match" in the Photo Gallery.