Saturday February 29th 2020

As the month of February comes to close and on a Leap Year no less, it’s been a busy month for wrestling in the province. The GMAA season came to a close, as the 2020 All-Star Meet and the GMAA Championships were held, with two new league champions being crowned, the Patriotes de St-Cesaire a slew of events which included two tournaments and a clinic and the University Varsity season also came to close as Concordia competed in the 2020 U-Sport National Championships.

I wrote earlier about my impressions about the GMAA Championships and how great an event it was for our young athletes. The passion and professionalism that was in display from the host school cannot be understated so it’s fitting that the end of the month closes out with that same sort of quiet dignity and optimism in which it began.

The GMAA Finals were contested under a spotlight, a nod to the old finals held at the former KSS gymnasium, was just another nice touch that added to the ambience of the finals

Impressions from the 2020 Provincial Championships

This year’s Provincial Championships in St-Cesaire had a distinct theme as numbers were lower than they have been in the past. And yet, despite this, there was an atmosphere of quiet optimism mixed with a general feeling of positivity. Any negative feelings were virtually absent as people both competing, coaching and watching were their because they supported the cause of wrestling in our province and wanted to show that support. Every coach there was fully certified and trained, which always adds to the prestige of the event, and in turn shows that we’re up to the standards set by the NCCP. The presence of new registered and certified coaches was also nice site as coaching numbers are increasing slowly, which can be seen in our small increase in coaches at the federation level. 

During the tournament, we saw some officials that were new to the game, and despite their inexperience, they were mentored during the matches by an experienced crew, as the quest to train and certify new officials begins in earnest. All these improvements are now coming under new leadership from our Board of Directors, which is a positive sign for the future.

Four members of the FLOQ Board of Directors came to watch or participate the provincials

In addition to this, a solid group of wrestlers were selected to go to the U17-U19 National Championships in Edmonton, which is always a plus given the fact that when sending athletes so far, we want to make sure that we have a committed group of athletes.

The Festival des Patriotes

The Festival des Patriotes has actually been running for quite a while. Despite this, it was only my second time attending the tournament as a coach. The reason for my noticeable absence is that for whatever reason, I have a hard time convincing younger athlete to compete after the GMAA Championships.

While some of the will progress on to the higher levels, for the most part, the majority of my athletes enter either at Sec 3 or above, with only a handful of athletes coming in at Sec 2. I owe this to the somewhat timid nature of the majority of my student-athletes, coupled with the fact that the soccer culture in my school is quite strong. Every young kid will try out for the soccer team, despite the fact that you can pretty much see who the best players will be before the try-outs.

All this makes it difficult to recruit athletes to the team, but this year seemed to be an anomaly as the majority of my wrestlers fall into the younger age divisions. As a result, I had some interest to attend the tournament and went there as a coach rather than an observer.

This tournament also served as a platform for the training of new referees. Attracting referees has been difficult in the past and it seems that once again, it’s now on the right track under new leadership.

Some new officials that made their debut at the Festival des Patriotes

And now?

The overall theme of this month? Progress and positivity. As the respective school seasons end, and the open season continues, we can only hope that we continue to move forward with all our positive endeavours. On a personal note, I also saw lots of positives. While I would like us to be a little further along, when starting something new, it always begins slowly. As a federation, we will continue to build and move forward which is all we can ask for. New leadership, coupled with quality people in key positions will only benefit us and in short, it’s a good beginning for our rebuild of Quebec wrestling.