Melissa A. - Onsite Athlete
One thing that stands out for me about strength sports and competition is it is a pursuit of your greatest potential, without any financial rewards (well for the 98% of us). So much of our waking life is spent making income, taking care of our families and tending to the day-to-day chores that pull at us as humans. For those of us that decide to start down the path of weightlifting, it's a commitment to showing up every day and week, pushing ourselves for no other gain than what we derive from it, the meaning we give it. For some of us, it's stress relief. For others, it's a way to gain physical strength and thus confidence. Many of us find the community and camaraderie between weightlifters a family-like bond, one marked by triumphs and success as well as pushing through failures and set backs. Weightlifting can be frustrating, and yet we still show up. It has taught me the process of growth and patience, how to celebrate other's success not in relation to my own.
As an adult, we don't have many outlets through which we get to see examples of the magnificent grit of the spirit and strength of our bodies. This type of spectacle is often saved for movies. But show up to a weightlifting meet, and you will witness people breaking through their own comfort zones and the air is filled with excited tension between what was previously possible and what can happen come game day. Merely walking out on the platform in a skin-tight singlet can be the biggest win for an individual. Many will push the limits of their own strength, diving deep and finding more power than previously experienced. The shouting crowd, the silence between the lifters deep breath and initial lift, the exhale and grunts of effort while weights are moved in space, it's a beautiful scene to be a part of. I get chills every time.
Showing up to a competition with the Strength Ratio team felt even more special than other meets previously. It was the largest group of competitors we had coming for one meet, and all of us went 4/6 or more! Many of us took home metals, and some of us hit life-time PRs and competition total PRs. The sense of pride for our team was very high, even before we began stepping on the stage. We all train together day in and day out. We know each other's strengths and areas of growth. This is a special understanding, an intimate bond many of us as adults don't get enough of either. Training is an intimate thing, though the perception may be the opposite. It's a space where we are allowed to test ourselves, show up as who we are and be supported 110% in that. We know what it feels like to hit a new PR, the deep frustration that comes with injury, the feeling when nothing is going right. And we are there for each other. All ages, all stages of life and years of training. Our team is solid, one full of newbies and very seasoned lifters. But as a team, we are all seen the same; we are all given the same respect and care.
My own personal day of competition didn't go quite like I wanted, I was stressed about making weight and coming off weeks of back pain. I still managed competition PRs, and throughout the whole thing, had my teammates and coaches cheering me on, even while they were just as busy warming up and getting ready to lift. This speaks volumes to our team, our coaches, and the type of environment Strength Ratio has carefully and intentionally grown, providing the most positive and supportive gym I've ever experienced.