As some of you may know, or not know, in combination with being a USAPL Michigan lifter, I am also a USAPL State Referee. A couple of weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to go to Racine, WI and help referee their state meet that they have. Which, naturally, I whole-heartedly obliged to. It took place this past weekend March 11-12, 2017.
Friday I took the day off work so that I could do a minor adult thing and take my beloved to get an oi change and tire rotation. After successful completion at the best car dealership in the world (seriously, they always treat me well), I set out on my solo adventure to Racine, WI. Traffic was pretty delightful and wasn’t heavy. The toll road though. Can we just chat about those for a minute? WHY? Why on earth, do they have to be so DARN expensive?!? I don’t get it. Of course, I did enjoy the smooth road I was traveling on. So there is that. When I arrive in Racine, the people greeted me nicely and I grabbed a bite to eat. I was so exhausted from the day; I called it a semi early night.
Saturday morning, bright eyed at 5am, I prepared for the day and headed over to the William Horlick High School. Little did I know, I was going to be blown away from some spectacular kids! They all were kind and gracious, cheered each other on and there was not an empty seat on the bleachers. It really was an incredible day. The last session, I had the pleasure of being a side ref to the Michigan USAPL Chairman. Now, to you, this is going to seem insignificant BUT she has truly become a piece of my heart. She is a fighter, a genuine woman, and my gosh, has become one of my nearest, dearest friends. In my time in the USAPL, I haven’t had the pleasure of refereeing with her, and finally, it happened. I loved every second of it. Once that last bar was dropped, she and I, with her family high-tailed it out of there to get some much needed food. To my surprise, we would have an extra visitor. ((See salad picture below))
Sunday was another day of judging. I stayed until 1:30p.m. and drove home right away. The experience was so worth the mental and physical exhaustion. The community of lifters that participated that weekend was amazing.
The best was that I learned so much about how meets work, what it takes, and all the labor it takes to make the love. Many people often forget that on a much smaller scale, all of the referee's, table workers, loaders and spotters, and everyone else involved is a volunteer. They are there because they value the effort it takes to give back to the sport that has given so much to you. I am looking forward to taking more opportunities like this and seizing the moments I have to give back to the sport that I love so much.
I hope your weekend was filled with love, even if it was a labor.
A special thank you to Alex, Gregory, and lovely Erin for welcoming me in their family with loving arms. Also a special thank you to the USAPL Wisconsin for inviting me to witness such an amazing community the WI USAPL has!
Enjoy the little snapshots of what a production it was!
This is the front. (notice there are no seats in the bleachers) There are four platforms, each with a table of volunteers, and the white boards have projected lifter data on them. It was quite a phenomenal production!
This area was the back side of the top photo. This is the area where the lifters sat in their respective flights. They also has a screen so they could see who was up, who was on deck, and who was in the hole. Only coaches and lifters were allowed in this restricted area. If you look to the right, on the other side of those bleachers, there was a massive warm up area. I didn't get a photo of that, but the gym was very large!
The bug that made sure that WI was living up to its potential!