Community Ed wrestlers finish class at center stage

November 23, 2005

Five weeks ago a group of 22 first and second graders stepped onto the Hood River Valley High School wrestling mats for the annual Community Education wrestling program.

During their two evening practices a week, the youngsters learned the fundamental rules, positions and moves of the sport, along with basic tumbling forms like cartweels and rolls.

Keeping order each evening was a staff of volunteer coaches who all happened to be former HRVHS wrestlers.

On Saturday morning, the young grapplers put their newly acquired skills to the test in a season-ending mini-tournament with the crew from The Dalles Community Education.

With fans and families surrounding the mat on all sides, the HRVHS upper gym was converted, for a couple hours at least, into the center of the universe for the wrestlers and their parents.

As any wrestler-mom can verify, watching a child’s first match is a gripping and heartfelt few minutes. And, as any young wrestler can verify, matches are both thrilling and nerve-racking.

Save for a few teary breakdowns on the mat, the event was full of smiles and positive energy.

The kids showed effort and courage uncharacteristic for first and second graders. The hyper-goof-ball, rascal mentality the coaches were challenged with every practice disappeared on Saturday, and for the first time in their lives, the kids experienced the sensation of one-on-one, scored, live wrestling in front of an audience.

Although matches were scored, every kid won and both wrestlers’ hands were raised after matches. The focus of the tournament was not Hood River versus The Dalles; the focus was on sharing the fun.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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