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MA/RI States

Posted By: Disa Hatfield
Date: Tuesday, 21 November 2006, at 11:18 a.m.

As one of the meet directors, I would first like to thank all the spotters, loaders, lifters, and referees that came out to help and participate. We had some tremendous athletes as well, results will be posted soon.

Secondly, let me address some of the concerns brought about in the threads below.

1) I was the one who made the decision to allow one lifter to use a thumbless grip on one hand. He had previously broken some bones in the hand and wrist area, and as a result could no longer wrap his thumb fully around the bar. It was my understanding, apparently incorrectly, that we could make provisions for certain documented medical conditions. The spotters were attentive and aware, and the lifter knew of the additional risks to that type of grip. To assume that I didn't have the lifter’s safety in question is foolish, the decision to let him lift was not made without thought. If the USAPL EC tells me to never let this lifter come to one of our meets again, I will tell him he can’t lift with us anymore.

2) Scoring and placing- We ran this meet the same way we have for years. We used the Wilks formula for divisions as most weight classes only had 1 person in the class. We did not make this a secret so it should have come as no surprise. It sounds like someone re-did the math and the original placings were correct.

3) Judging- We, in the NEW England area, take judging very seriously. We pride ourselves in running tight meets, in which the judging is fair and consistent. I only heard one complaint the entire day, and it was IMMEDIATELY addressed. We like to think that any one of our local lifter will easily be able to transition to a national level meet with no problem. In response to some of the exact complaints brought up in the thread below in: a) the lifter whose heel came up in the squat did get that lift and the judge who threw a red light for it was corrected. b) Someone did ask me about rolling the bar on the platform and I told them it was allowed. Not once did anyone ever tell me someone got redlighted or lost a lift because of it. You need to actually tell someone that when it happens so it can be corrected. We had a rulebook sitting at the scorer’s table, and every single ref there has no problem telling someone why they threw a redlight. c) Criticisms of Eric listing lifting experience are not necessary. We had 3 national refs at this meet, and 3 judges with more than 5 years of experience. The one specific complaint I received was about one particular ref, who is a brand new ref. Like I said, that situation was corrected. Meets are pointless without refs, and every single ref makes some rookie mistakes (however unfortunate they are.) As I said, we pride ourselves on tight judging at our meets and these mistakes were immediately corrected when brought to our attention. Which brings me to my last point...

4) ...bashing the meet anonymously on the internet. The people below have made accusations of biased judging and us not caring about the lifter. I myself judged and coached lifters at this meet. At least two other refs also coached lifters. That is the make-up of a local meet, we all know each other and we all help each other out. I have been involved in the New England USAPL for 3 years now, and I can assure you that none of us have any problem red-lighting one of our lifting partners, friends, or coaches when they deserve it. That accusation is completely without basis.

Someone said that this meet cost the USAPL another lifter. Well, this type of bashing definitely cost the USAPL a meet director. I helped with a great deal of planning for this meet, despite being a graduate student who spends a good 60-70 hours per week in classes and in the lab. Rene funds all of these meets, and in fact lost money on more than one meet in the past. Despite that, I still got the go ahead from him to look into buying new equipment to make our meets better (like a loading computer program.) We do this because we love this sport and care about the lifters and want to give the lifters well-run meets. However, in stead of addressing your concerns to us directly, you choose to bash us and make unfair accusations on a public forum. And stating that one of us would have told you to go lift somewhere else? I want a name or I call BS on that. No one helping to run that meet would have said such a thing, and I believe Eric already asked all of us that to confirm it. I already gave examples of how we are willing to fix any problems (we are not perfect after all). However, we can only do that when they are addressed to us in a timely and adult fashion. All of our emails and phone numbers are on the entry forms, if you didn't feel like talking to us face to face at the meet where you should have, you could have called or emailed.

Just to reiterate, we run meets because we love this sport. We are willing to hear how we can make them better; if we didn't care (as some implied) we wouldn’t even bother. I am quite willing to admit that we are not perfect and that mistakes were made. However, if issues are not addressed at the actual meet, there is nothing I can do about them after the fact. I met every single lifter at that meet at either check-ins, gear check, or doing rack heights. Everyone saw the name tag I was wearing that said National Referee. I was there, I was available, and I was willing to answer questions and make corrections, but yet I didn't hear about any of this until it appeared on this forum. Yeah, this is definitely how lifters lose meet directors.

Disa Hatfield
USAPL National Referee and member of the Women’s Executive Committee



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