Why You Shouldn’t Wait Until You are “Good Enough” to Compete

 In Olympic Weightlifting, StoneAgeFuel

Erin at the IWF Masters World Cup
When I first started my journey in Olympic Weightlifting, I would think to myself, “It will be so exciting to compete! Maybe I will be good enough in a year to do a meet.” I envisioned myself getting on the platform in a few years and a few pounds lighter, with bigger muscles, and a lot of weight on the bar. To my surprise, I found myself on a platform…which was on a stage, under bright lights, and competing in my first meet two months after I started lifting full time.
I was scared to death. Not only was my first meet only a few months after I really started lifting, but THIS meet was a big deal. The stage had been set for the Junior Pan Am’s – a major international weightlifting event! The venue was a large convention area downtown and there was a stage with the platform on top, state of the art scoring and timing equipment, large projection screens, the works. Our coaches at Stoneage Fuel were helping organize the event and had arranged for us to have a sanctioned local meet right after the close of the main competition, so we were quite spoiled in the experience.

While my teammates and I were warming up in the back, there were REAL athletes in the warm up room too. Breathing the same air and touching the same equipment. I watched a big name young lifter messing around and missed a snatch. It was then I realized they are not perfect…and you don’t have to be perfect to compete if you are competing for YOURSELF.

My teammates and I took the stage. We were all pretty brand new to the sport and our bars were nowhere as heavy as the professional athletes before us. But one by one, we all got up on that stage and lifted.

Almost two years after that moment, I have competed in nine different meets; including the International Weightlifting Federations 2015 Master’s World Cup championship. It has become a new addiction and I look for meets that I can viably travel to every day.

I am not the best lifter, nor the strongest lifter. I compete and I never even come close to winning my weight class. Why bother, you ask? Because winning is nice but it doesn’t really matter. Here are a few reasons why I (and you should) compete:

-I learn something new every meet. It may be tightening up my technique or a new mental cue.

-Meet new people who love the sport as much as I do!

-Learn more about the sport itself, including how meets are run, rules, and the scoring process.

-The natural high from being in the spotlight for six lifts.

-The help that Mr. Adrenaline gives when going for a PR.

-Learning how to cope and manage emotions when you have a bad lift or a bad meet.

-Watching your teammates succeed.

-Having your friends, family, and coaches believe in you and cheer you on no matter what happens.

It took a lot to courage to enter a competition when I did not feel confident. And like most things in life, you are never truly ready and there may never be “the right time.” But lifting and competing have come to become my favorite things in life and I shudder at the thought if I hadn’t even tried. The time is now…find GOOD coaching, a supportive environment, and sign up for that first meet. Lift your heart out, we are ALL athletes!

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