Do Your Records Mean Anything?

TAGS: federation records, federations, competing in a meet, iron game, athlete, strength, powerlifting, strength training, barbell, training

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As my friend Sheldon of Big Bang would say, I'm baaaaaack!

I've been working with a computer about as beat up as I am and almost as old. I negotiated a deal with my friend Santa, with whom I was friends with in high school, for a new laptop. Now, as I begin to learn how to use it, I expect to be bringing you more timely news of the comings and goings of the senior set.

There seems to be considerable discussion on this site and others about the efficacy, validity and credibility of federation records. Posts consider them neither creditable nor valid. It's as if they shouldn't be discussed in polite powerlifting company (an oxymoron). As an attorney (please don't hold that against me), I always have an opinion. However, I always consider the other side's case. Those who would disparage federation records have a case. One site lists sixty federations. There are 12 weight classes and 10 age classifications with additional masters' divisions changing every five years to 80 and older. There are also numerous methods of lifting [i.e. raw, classic raw, raw raw (with nothing on the knees), single ply and multi-ply]. Even if I could, I wouldn't attempt to do the math to determine how many federation records exist. The argument then may be that the proliferation of records cheapens them. Realistically, most of us lift relatively close to home. There are only a few federation meets within driving distance. None of us have the money or the time to travel all over the country to accumulate federation records.

katelyn smith

We often decry the sense of entitlement exhibited by our younger people. They can want as much as they desire but are entitled to nothing that they didn't earn. Isn't it refreshing then to see the abundance of young people at today's powerlifting meets? It seems there are dedicated, hard working youngsters eager to learn and compete. They have put in their hours of training and hard work and generally seem to be very well coached. As they accomplish PR after PR, why shouldn't they be rewarded as they reach and break federation records? At this stage of their careers, that's all there is. Ask my friend Joey Smith, a nationally ranked powerlifter in both the bench press and deadlift, what he thinks of federation records. His lovely daughter Katelyn recently set a bunch of federation records in her age group and weight class. With his expert coaching and the wonderful facility he has developed, Katelyn has dedicated herself and put in the hours of hard work necessary to accomplish these goals. All the young lifters at Joey's facility have done very well. There are other facilities that also encourage and teach powerlifting to young people. Shouldn't they be properly rewarded for their efforts? At some recent meets, I met two young men, each of whom squatted 800 pounds geared. Damn! One was still in college and the other had just graduated. They both set well deserved federation records.

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I hope all the naysayers don't expect those over the age of 55 to effectively compete in the open class. Isn't that why they made the masters' divisions? In college, through brute force and awkwardness, I lifted a helluva lot more than I do now at age 73, even though I'm more knowledgeable now. Many of us, as seniors, work just as hard and are as dedicated to the sport as we ever were or as anyone else is. We are generally relieved of the stress and expense of rearing and educating children. Many of us are also relieved of the pressure of the work place. We have and dedicate the time to training on a regular basis on the same days and the same times. We do our work, follow a more intelligently prepared program and generally kick our own asses. We are also mindful of the most important part of our training—the after training nap. We spend our limited resources on good nutrition, and we realize that we have to take better care of ourselves. I don't remember how I felt after training 40 or 50 years ago. I don't remember being sore and beat up all the time. Actually, I don't remember what I had for breakfast. I just know that I didn't train with a reconstructed knee, back surgery, neck surgery, artificial hip and arthritic shoulder. I don't know if cracking my chest open has had any impact. I'm not complaining. In fact, I consider myself lucky and am grateful that all the surgeries have been successful and I can compete. I don't expect that I can effectively compete with men who are 40 or 50 years younger. Although I do in training, it isn't very practical.

So on behalf of the young powerlifters who haven't yet matured in strength, size and technique and on behalf of the older powerlifters who once may have moved mountains but who are now past their prime, why not federation records? It's a way to reward and recognize the young and old for their dedication and perseverance, most of whom are just trying to achieve PR after PR. For those naysayers who say that federation records are without merit and should never be mentioned, we have an expression for you in this part of the South: "Fuck all y'all!"

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