When there are flight connections, perhaps heading to places not quite on the main drag, we often find a gathering of judo people all standing by to complete the final leg of their various journeys.

Tonight we are in Frankfurt and our plane is delayed en route to Linz. How we all arrived in Germany though could fill the pages of a book as dozens of nations are represented, ready to fill many roles on site in Austria. Referees from Finland, Italy, France, Columbia, there is a photographer and an announcer from Georgia, media staff from France and the UK, competing judoka and coaches from Jamaica, Morocco, USA. There are referee directors and supervisors from Uzbekistan and Mongolia and we could continue to list them.

Team Morocco in Frankfurt

The nationalities are diverse, the cultures too, but there is always such a strong thread to bind them and never so much as a pause when they meet. Everyone knows everyone and many have friendships spanning decades. They meet every few weeks in one place or another and refresh their conversations like hitting the address bar again to catch up.

There is one thing though that is always missing from these shared judo lives and that is time. En masse, from continent to continent, the group travels and changes and it does its job well. It is the World Judo Tour, organised and successful.

Almost ready to board...

In Frankfurt there is a delay but there isn’t a single negative sound, not a moan or a sigh. This is an opportunity and so the refresh button gets some exercise as conversation, a constant hum, with laughter and news, is running between people who move about, ensuring they connect with everyone present. A delay presents the gift of time and in the judo family that time will never be wasted.

See you soon Linz but for now it’s coffee time in Frankfurt.

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