So Norway is pretty frickin cool. Their infrastructure is efficient, their water is clean, their people are very nice and their chocolate is delicious. The only two things I would change would be to turn off the rain and to stay longer. Even the rain was completely bearable as it would only last 10-30mins and then the sun would pop out, dry everything up and keep everything ridiculously green.
I was fortunate enough to be brought out here by the Norwegian women’s wrestling team, to coach their training camp. Crazy right! I was pretty excited when I got invited back in June. I met the organizer last December, in Calgary, at the women’s wrestling tournament I help organize with Christine Nordhagen (multiple-time world champion, all around amazing lady). He brought a small team of girls, mostly Juvenile and Junior age group (15-19 yrs) and was very passionate about further developing women’s wrestling in Norway. So I arrived in Skiel (pronounced “Shale”), laced up my very worn and crusty wrestling boots and ran 8 practice sessions over 4 days for 20 girls.
I had so much fun working with these girls. I was very impressed with how polite, attentive and focused they all were. As a 15 year old female (as I choose to vaguely remember), attitudes and power struggles are commonplace. Yet these girls continued to be a delight, even as we all became exhausted with each passing training session. I got treated like sport royalty. I stayed in a beautiful hotel by the river in a neighboring town, was fed the best local cousine (fresh fish, gold cheese and a delicious meat and potatoe dish called Lopskaus) and toured around their cottage country coastline (with a quick stop for some of the area’s famous ice cream) on the coach’s family boat.
It sounds like a light and fluffy trip but I am still recovering. One would think that coaching isn’t very physically taxing. One would be wrong. I would lead the tumbling sessions (yes, my sessions all include some sort of gymnastics or parkour…), play most of the games, demonstrate the techniques, jump into the scrimmage (without warming up) and then repeat it all again a few hours later. This on top of battling a very unexpected bout of jet lag (I have never really had it in all my previous travels), which caused me to wake up at 2am and then fall back asleep about 40 minutes before my morning alarm would go off. I was too exhausted most nights to explore the town but I did manage to pack it all into the last day. I also managed to enjoy a beer and a free concert from the patio of the hotel one night. Not before coming within a foot of colliding with the lead singer of the evening’s festivities (Wyclef Jean – who’s CD’s still occupy space on my bookshelves, and have since high school). He was staying at my hotel and I would’ve stopped to get a picture with him but I was too shocked by almost running him over and too embarrassed by the post-wrestling session vagabond look I was sporting.
Anyways, the wrestling camp left me feeling very energized and confident. I couldn’t get enough hugs from all of the girls or stuff enough copies of the local paper, which included an action shot from one of our sessions, into my suitcase. I really hope they want to bring me back again. I would return in a heartbeat. Now I’m off to explore Oslo and Bergen for 4-days before flying back to “reality”.