Billy was invited to compete at Nationals in Detroit (6/30-7/8) and he's been working all year to be ready. While he was invited for sparring, Tracy sort of screwed up and signed him up for pomsea (forms) as well. That was a little hectic as it meant an extra day of competition and learning 2 new forms in under 5 days. The kids that were invited to nationals were on 2x a day training programs with all the different coaches and there was a big good luck potluck sending them off.
We drove to Tammy's in Grand Haven on Thursday to drop off Jimmy and Kay so that they could go up to grandma and grandpas cottage with their cousins rather then waiting at the national tournament for 2 days.
Then, it was Billy, Tom and I. We realized 1/2 way through the weekend that we had never been on a trip with just Billy (he is the 3rd after all!) and it was really fun. Since we were new to the expectations of nationals, there was a lot to learn. When to get here, how to register, where to weigh in, how long to stay, when other team mates were competing so that we could cheer them on, etc.
We were a bit nervous about weigh in because it was the same day he was supposed to be competing in forms and at the same time. Plus, he was fighting cadet red belt fly weight (12-14 yrs old, red belt and he had to weigh under 37 kgs). During our practice last week, he weighed in at 36.8 kgs and he'd have 2 chances to weigh in under, if he didnt then he couldn't compete. So, no breakfast for Billy that day and luckily his pomsea group didnt call until AFTER he was weighed in so...he made it at 36.8 kg and enjoyed a large turkey sandwich.
It was really fun to get know the pomsea kids/team and families. We hung out (waited) with Loriann and Nick and got all the inside scoop on how pomsea team works. Dinner the night before was at a yummy cajun place and it was fun to see the kids sit together and support each other.
Billy was called to holding at 1pm and actually competed at 2pm. That was pretty fast and there were 18 kids in his group. 8 would go to finals. They score pomsea with 5 judges and they deduct points from 10. Billy did great and got 5.5 which is a really good score for his 1st national competition. He did say that he was nervous. Most kids gots between 4.5-7 and while he didnt make it to the finals, we think he was 9th or 10th. Not bad for a kid that wasnt even supposed to compete in that event! The coaches are now all asking him to be on the pomsea team:)
We then took a break and went for a walk around Detroit to see the sights. Ate burgers outside Tiger Stadium. walked the river front, window shopped and Billy played Pokemon.
Then back to the hotel for a nap before dinner, man, we were beat! 2 hours later we dragged our selves out of the hotel for greek food (Billys favorite) and to bed early. He had to be ready to spar the next day!!
Luckily his call time was later in the morning so he didnt need to get up early for holding. We did get to the competition about 10am to watch his team mates and it was fun but nerve racking. Lots of head shots and tons of pressure. Billy got called to holding at 11:30 and then waited and waited and waited. His coaches were great about getting him warmed up but it was a long wait and I'd suspect nerve racking for him too.
Then, all of a sudden, he was on! It was about 3pm and he had 3-4 matches depending on if he won. His 1st match was good and he was super aggressive and fought great. He won!! Then, the next 2 kids were fighting, one took a head shot on the other and the kid that got hit was literally knocked out. They were both eliminated. (if you do a shot that knocks someone out, you are disqualified and if you get knocked out you are disqualified). This meant that Billy had a by for his next fight and would be fighting in the final match, for gold or silver! We were really nervous and I thought I might throw up... I was nervous for him and worried he'd get hurt, these kids were tough!
But, he did great, got in the ring and ... while he didnt win, he fought hard and was really proud of himself. Silver! Head shots are the name of the game and we are going to have to work on those for next year!
All his coaches were thrilled and even Billy said - wow, I'm really surprised by how well I did. I worked hard, it was fun and I'm proud of myself.
We are proud of you too Billy! You are a hard worker, good listener, supportive of your team mates and a great sport with your competitors. Well done!
Then, post the team meeting and team photo of all the medal winners, we were off for the cottage - a 4 + hour drive that we started at 6pm but we were determined!! More on the cottage and vacation in the next blog.
Check out all the cool photos!