QEDHS hosts second annual Watermelon Wrestling Festival
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
Around 20 elementary-aged wrestlers, alongside their high school helpers, filled the Queen Elizabeth District High School (QEDHS) gymnasium May 16 for a high-energy day of wrestling and exciting activities at the second-annual Watermelon Wrestling Festival.
The young wrestlers are part of the Warrior Wrestling Club in which QEDHS wrestlers, and wrestling coach Rob Sakamoto, help teach and train elementary students who are interested in the sport.
This year 43 kids signed up for the Warrior Wrestling Club. Sakamoto said that one of his goals is to put on the Watermelon Wrestling Festival every year.
“Last year was the first year, and we’re going to try and do it every year.”
One aspect that Sakamoto made clear is that the goal isn’t to recruit and train the young wrestlers for the high school level. He clarified that the main goal is for the high school wrestlers to give back to the community and for the elementary wrestlers to learn life skills that come with being involved in wrestling.
“Sports are a vehicle for character development. Whether that’s at the high school level or elementary level, you learn values, morals, sportsmanship, and resiliency through wrestling. The main part isn’t making sure these kids follow through with wrestling to the high school level. The important part about today is that the high school wrestlers are giving back to the community, and they’re giving back to the kids,” explained Sakamoto.
For the QEDHS wrestlers, giving back to these youngsters is something they enjoy.
“I love working with the kids… Seeing them smile is what makes it worth it for me,” said Grade 12 QEDHS wrestler Bradley Grenier.
Grenier finished by saying that he sees good wrestling potential in the group but, more importantly, he sees that they’re excited and enjoying themselves.
“I see great potential. They’re all having fun with it too, which is huge. When you’re having fun, it makes it worthwhile,” Grenier concluded.