By Josh Bronson
Pilot staff writer
A packed Brookings-Harbor High School gym played host to tykes of all shapes and sizes at the Brookings-Harbor Mat Club Borderline Tournament Saturday afternoon.
"It was our best turnout ever," mat club board member Renee Mazyck said. "We had a lot of new parents in the club that were awesome in helping us put this together."
Because of financial trouble, the mat club almost didn't have their annual tournament this year.
"Without the help from the parents and community, we wouldn't have been able to put on the tournament," Mazyck said. "Now, with the money raised, we can buy new singlets for the kids."
Everyone involved with the mat club, from board members to coaches, do so on a volunteer basis.
But they don't do it for themselves; they get involved for the benefit of the kids.
"The most important thing is that they try their hardest and they have fun," volunteer coach Shawn Musser said. "It also teaches them self-confidence and responsibility."
The mat club is a great tool for coaches and parents to start instilling basic life skills and values in their youth.
"The kids bond with each other and build a lot of team camaraderie with each other," Mazyck said. "It also helps them a lot with their confidence level."
But the mat club hasn't forgotten that sports can't be the only focus for youth.
"It helps them with school, too," Musser said. "If they don't do well in school, they don't wrestle."
Brookings-Harbor wrestlers did well Saturday and, win or lose, usually left the mat with a smile on their face.
Helping with the positive experiences were the ever-encouraging coaches, who never yelled at the wrestlers, but always offered advice and a pat on the back after a tough match.
Members of the high school wrestling team, many of whom participated in the mat club when they were younger, volunteered their time as scorekeepers, timekeepers and referees.
"The high school kids are always a big help," Mazyck said. "I'd also like to thank all the sponsors for donating their time and money."