Today was the last day of this semester of my volunteer coaching gig. My reason for inviting mom up for the week was so she could attend our final day and the luncheon/awards ceremony afterwards. I've been coaching judo in this program for about twenty years. When she was still living in New York, mom would come down for our "closing exercises" every so often. She knows all of the old-time coaches. Two of our soccer coaches, Keith the Brummie and Handsome Johnny C., have been coaching for thirty years. Jerry, the track coach, for longer than that. She has known all of my compatriots in the judo room for years, with the exception of "Big Al", a very nice thirty-something Brazilian guy who has been with us for about seven years. Most of the "newcomers" have been around for ten years or so. I knew mom would be able to work the room, knowing so many people. She took an immediate liking to Big Al, who is one of the most genuinely nice people I know.
I had two classes to teach, a class of eight and nine year old girls and a class of eight and under boys. The girls class was a small one, and the girls are serious about what they do- one particular girl won our "most improved" award, and she's one to watch, a driven girl who has come to love our sport. I suspect she'll end up being best in sport next year, and made sure to tell her parents that we would love to have her come for extra lessons after the regular multi-sport program ends at noon. At the end of the class I told all of the girls that my mom was visiting so they should all line up to throw me for her.
The boys class was, inexplicably, visiting the dojo for the first time all year. We were kinda disconcerted when this group of over twenty boys showed up, having never been exposed to the sport. Sheesh, couldn't they have been sent to the basketball courts? We ran them through some exercises, then had them compete in a sumo tournament, smallest to largest. It was pretty nutty, but the kids broke a sweat and had some fun competing.
When the last kids left, we had some free time, so I went three rounds of randori with Gentle Jimmy G. Jim joked, "I feel bad about beating you up in front of your mom." I replied, "It's okay, she watched all of the eight year-olds beat me up." Mom would rather see me engaging in hand-to-hand combat with a bunch of big tough guys than to see me sitting on my ass in a recliner channel surfing any day.
After the classes, we had a nice luncheon, and various awards were given to the best and most improved boys and girls in each age group, and additional awards are given for sportsmanship and spirit. The award to the best counselor of the year, named after a boy who was taken from us by a runaway infection at the age of sixteen twelve years ago (the last time I saw him alive, he was smoking in front of his younger cousin, and I ripped him a new one, telling him, "Quit now while you still can, but if I ever see you smoking in front of her again, I'll rip your head off", so every time his aunt sees me, she cries, because she is reminded of him), was awarded by his cousin to a counselor who was "brevetted" to basketball coach, and has had a successful go at it. We had a nice meal, and mom got to chit-chat with all of the nice guys who beat the snot out of her son. For a bunch of guys who fight like hell, we sure get along well.
After the luncheon, Gentle Jimmy G. offered my mom and I a ride back to the Bronx, where I had parked my car. Al's apartment is not far from Jim's usual parking garage, so we all walked together. My mom and Al were having a conversation about my nephews' judo exploits and Jimmy joked, "Al's getting kinda close to your mom." I quipped, "He'd make a great stepfather." We started joking about my mom and Al getting hitched, and I called Al "my new dad". My mother and Al were both beet red, and my mom said, "I don't want to steal him from some charming young lady." Don't sell yourself short, mom!
It was a fun day. Mom got to see some old friends and got to meet some new ones. She got to see some of our counselors that she had last seen as little kids, and got to see her boy getting thrown around by some lovely kids. When we got back to my place, I made her promise that she wouldn't take so long to make her return. We resume our classes in October, I hope she can make it to our December end of semester party.