Since the beginning of the year, I've been working with the Middle Atlantic Wrestling Association to plan a huge wrestling tournament right here in Lehigh Valley at Freedom High School. Last weekend was the event, so I made sure to stop by on Sunday to see how things turned out and whoa!
Tournament organizer Paul Edwards has been running tournaments like this one (the 2010 Eastern Regional Qualifying Championship) for years and it showed. I was impressed how it ran like a well-oiled machine. Working with Freedom's Athletic Director, Fred Harris, Paul had everything under control while 1,100 wrestlers competed for their chance to head to the 2010 Eastern Nationals next month in Maryland. Honestly, unless you knew because of your involvement with the event, I don't think you'd be able to tell this was the first time Paul and Fred worked together - you'd think they've been doing this together forever.
Even though I didn't have a kid in the tournament, I was still able to truly appreciate what a huge deal it was for these kids who made it as far as the regionals here in Lehigh Valley - talk about blood, sweat and tears. I think we often forget how much fun it can be to go to high school sporting events, when it's still about the "love of the game" ... and how inexpensive it can be for us spectators.
I couldn't believe how many people came. Over 2,300 people came from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Jersey, Delaware, D.C. and Maryland to Lehigh Valley for three days of some pretty intense wrestling. That's a lot of people! The parking lot and bleachers at Freedom High School were jam packed. There was an electricity in the air. And Service Electric TV-2 Sports was there, which just added to the excitement.
Have you been to any Lehigh Valley sports tournaments lately?
* Photo courtesy of www.lehighvalleylive.com