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Overall Impressions from Masters
Posted By: Jason " Too S.E.X.Y. " Burnell
Date: Monday, 6 October 2008, at 12:04 p.m.
What a week.
Lance did an outstanding job putting this thing together. The amount of work just scheduling the staff of table help, referees, spotters and officials and setting up the venue must have been incredible.
Got to see a lot of old friends and made a few new ones. Even if Harriet doesn't remember me.
I got to meet Gina "Sir Mixalots Dream Girl" Stapleton. After years of arguing with her and agreeing sometimes, it was nice to finally meet her.
Lifting was awesome and I guess I have to admit that even though I've never seen Masters as the "real" Worlds there were some very impressive lifters. You expect great shows when names like Bridges, Gillingham, Greg Jones and Tony Harris are there but a lot of the lifters I'd never heard of before were very impressive, especially considering that many were well into their 60s and 70s and were in really great shape.
To be honest, I've never really given a crap about the IPF. Yes, I realize it's the big show, with all the countries etc but never cared about lifting in an IPF meet or even attending one and to be honest, if not for my friendship and working relationship with Lance, I wouldn't have even gone to the meet. For me the pinnacle was always about Nationals. I think that I get it now though.
Seeing all the athletes from the different countries in their uniforms and waving their flags really was an experience. Seeing the pride in their faces when their national anthems were played was really a great thing to see.
It really shakes the preconceived notions you might have about people from certain countries based on politics orgeneral prejudices. You see the athletes themselves as people just like you, albeit people with funny accents, who just love the iron.
The Australians and Canadians were out in full force and were a loud part of the crowd, waving, and yelling. Good Fun.
Had the most fun I've ever had spotting. Dan Gadreau, Cardella and Wes Hunt from Texas were funny as hell. Wes is a 26 year old from Texas and he's in the military and has spent time in IRAQ. He's also a very interesting young guy with an amazing world view and interest in politics. He has his opinions and isn't afraid to share them but he's also very respectful and totally made me think there is hope for GENX. He's also "very well spoken and articulate" if you get my drift. I'd vote for him.
Poor kid can't load weights all that fast though. Those big arms must slow him down. LOL
If you ever get time to spend an hour in a room listening to Johnny Graham telling stories, do so. That's all I'm going to say on that.
At the risk of starting a controversy, I am going to say that some of the officials - Larry Maile, Johnny Graham, that big guy from South Africa and a few others looked like lifters themselves while some of the other officials looked like it had been a while, if EVER, since they'd seen a barbell in their hands.
Larry was up on the platform spotting and loading. That might have killed a few other people. I'm just saying - in a sport about lifting shouldn't our representatives at least look like they've seen a barbell in their hands at some point?
Oh, my opinion about the usefulness of the jury stands.
Lance was working non stop and doing several jobs, often at the same time. Another guy who pretty much worked all day everyday was Joe Marksteiner. Joe is a unique guy in that spending 15 minutes around the guy makes you want to be a better man just by observing how he carries himself. No matter how overwhelming the task or how frustrating the moment or how many people are talking to him while hes doing something that he can't really stop doing - like working the scoring computer in the middle of a flight - he never loses his cool. He's sitting ramrod straight in his chair and taking care of business treating everyone with respect and courtesy.
In closing, there was one moment that stood out above all others for me. It's strange because it turns out that the best moment occurred at a time when something went wrong. During the awards ceremony for one of the flights, I think it was for Greg Jones, Lance had trouble getting the music to start. After a couple of tries, the Americans in the crowd just started singing the National Anthem. It started as a murmur somewhere in the room and grew and grew as more people joined in. I looked over and you could see guys like Wes who were in the military, standing totally at attention and focused on the flag. It was awesome. Many people talked about that moment and a few people teared up. It was a really great moment.
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