My first experience in a competitive weightlifting tournament began as a result of curiosity and internet badgering. CrossFit’s main page recommends “learning new sports and competing in them,” CrossFit Football is rife with competitive spirit, and the guys at 70s Big are relentless about using competition as the perfect catalyst for self-improvement. So Audrey and I signed up for the War Eagle Classic at Woodward Academy in Atlanta.
As a painfully shy & skinny kid, I would rather have jumped into a pit of tigers than lift weights standing all alone on a platform in the center of a gymnasium full of people. Perhaps I’ve grown up a bit; it was fun. The people were really easy to get along with and there was a lot of encouragement for us newbies. The spirit among competitive weightlifters is more camaraderie than animosity. Everyone was trying their best at something very difficult, and supportive of others doing the same.
I walked into the gym at Woodward Academy in Atlanta with no expectations. I’d spent the last week and a half hanging out on beaches. No heavy lifting, no training, no exercise beyond tossing a Frisbee. I certainly wasn’t going to expect much from my body. But it went well. Looking over the videos, I’m pretty happy with my form and I put up a new PR in the clean & jerk.
One piece of advice from the 70s Big guys was spot-on: look at a spot over the center judge’s head; don’t make eye contact. It’s distracting having someone so close to my line of sight staring at me, but that’s his job. I kept my eyes on the bar while setting my feet and grip, then blinked while I settled into position, opening my eyes on the far wall.
Audrey made me very proud. She had heaps of extra pressure from going first. The very first time she tried a weightlifting competition she didn’t get to become comfortable with things by watching someone else first. Audrey was a champ, and lifted gloriously. She made 5 of her six lifts, and set a new PR in the clean & jerk!