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Proposed Rule Changes for USA Weightlifting Meets.

June 26, 2017
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My kid, a nationally competitive lifter in her own right, helping coach at USAW Youth Nationals in Atlanta.

Just back from USA Weightlifting Youth Nationals, yup, still my favorite way to spend time. Why isn’t EVERY weekend a national meet? Why do I even have to do other stuff? Doing other stuff is stupid. I pretty much always want to be surrounded by ridiculously inspiring kids chasing dreams and snatching more than I can deadlift, at the ripe old age of 9.

Because it’s my favorite thing in the world, I’ve dedicated hours of my life to coming up with a strategic plan to make Weightlifting meets even better. Okay, really,  just the moments when there’s nothing on stage and I’ve already seen all the Instagram posts that are being broadcast on the big screen. 

But trust me, I can make these meets better. Bigly. It’ll be tremendous. Here’s the plan, in no particular order:

Style points. Bringing a little of my Burning Man life into my life as Weightlifting coach, I’d like to see some more flare. Some glitter, some sparkle. Some bling. Look, everyone on that stage is strong, focused and determined, be the one that rocks the rainbow unicorn singlet. The one whose shoes light up when you catch. Winner gets their look reproduced by Nike. 

Fancy footwork points. Anyone can stick a catch. Pshaw, we do that all day in the gym. But to catch a snatch and then walk it around the platform? Maybe a little grapevine action?  That takes major skillz. Bonus points. Winner gets a lifetime membership at Arthur Murray dance schools and to compete on next season’s Dancing With The Stars.

Only competitors lift in the training hall. What kind of bitch kicks adults off a platform in the training hall at Youth Nationals. This bitch, that’s what kind. But at every meet I’ve ever been to, there are hundreds of lifters who have trained their asses off to be there, and they need to work out their nerves and keep themselves loose before the big show. And there are maybe 12 platforms in the training hall to do that on. Don’t be the asshole who hogs a platform just so you can get your workout in. Seriously. And fer fuck’s sake, to be that adult at youth nationals, get over yourself. If you are not competing, you stay out of the training hall. Find a nearby CrossFit gym, contact them like the adult that you are, and arrange to lift there. (Hey, thanks College Park CrossFit for letting us all come train multiple times this weekend. We really didn’t want to miss our own training, but have the human decency not to hog limited resources.) There are no winners here, these people are just losers. *Obviously, if the training hall is empty, go for it. But if someone who is competing needs the space, bow out graciously and wish them luck.

Epic save points. Is there any moment better than when a lifter gets stuck in the hole and somehow manages to grind out? Or wobbles and somehow manages to stabilize? Or even when they miss their first two attempts and then pull of a flawless third to avoid scratching? God I love that. Bonus points. Winner gets a custom gear bag, in which they can save all their gear. 

Free stuff! If you for some reason find it necessary to bring pretty much your whole suitcase into the warm-up room, and then are unable to either contain it or clean it up after your session, it gets given to whoever finds it. Because what is a bigger score than someone else’s sweaty knee wraps and Kill Cliff cans? Winner may score killer gear for free. 

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Right ankle twist…

Best opening ritual points. It is no lie to say that I love and am totally enthralled by lifters rituals. At this point, I can pretty much show you, by memory, the rituals of every lifter in the Juniors / Universities circuit. (Celia rolls each wrist, then each ankle, puts her fists to her shins, rolls the bar to her fists, looks left then right, butt up and down 2 times…..) I really do love the barbaric yawps, the slaps, the zen centering, the bows at the end…. Let’s show this stuff some love. Winner gets a warm-up move named after them. 

Best sideline enthusiasm from a coach. I love the love between athlete and coach. I love watching coaches get caught up in the moment, I love lifters diving into arms of coaches. To me, this is the essence of the relationship, it’s why I go to the gym every day. Love and empowerment is the core of why we do what we do. Now, I can’t imagine anyone being more fun to watch on the sidelines than Rob Arroyo, but having just heard my own sideline screams on video when one of my kids nailed a lift she didn’t think she could do, I think I’m in the running. (I’ve also earned the name “coachasaurus.) So I’d like this to be a thing, as it’s the only thing I’m likely to ever win, and I’d like to someday win something. Winner gets to not be embarrassed by the depth of their love and awesomeness of their expression. Because we need more of this in the world.

Coaching deductions. Yes, I’m serious. Coach caught cheating on behalf of an athlete? Entering fake numbers, doping, whatever…. Punish the fucking coaches, not just the athletes. Coaches yelling at athletes, over-training kids, hurting their athletes in any way, ban their asses. We’re getting better about sanctioning athletes when they break the rules, but let’s get real, they don’t do it in a vacuum. Coaches need to be sanctioned to. They need to be kicked out of meets, they need to be kicked out of the system. We all win this one. 

Every A session has  jury. For real, cuz that seriously was a no-lift. Also, the audience can request a jury review, cuz…. ya, that really was a no-lift. We all win this one too.

Okay, is it time for the next meet? I’ve got plans this weekend, but maybe next weekend?

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