Random thoughts of a power lifter’s mom
Pam DeMorett, the Caledonia Argus sales professional, offers her feelings about being the parent of a successful female power lifter.
You want to do what?
I was surprised and skeptical when my eldest daughter started a power lifting program during her 8th grade year at Caledonia Middle School. An untraditional sport for girls, I had little knowledge about rules, equipment needs, strategies or the rigor of practice schedules. She was already a three-sport athlete. I wondered if this activity would prove too much? Fast forward two years; my daughter and I are planning a trip to Michigan where she is scheduled to compete with some of the best junior lifters in the nation.
Under the direction of her lifting coaches, Eddie and Ernie Hodges, my daughter and the other Caledonia girls in the program show “the right stuff” with their dedication to training. Our daughters get up and arrive at school each day between 6 and 6:30 am for workouts with coaches. They have routines they follow and they work on technique for meets. The early time allows them to compete in their respective practices for their school sports and that is when their volunteer coaches have time in their busy schedules.
This past year, my daughter participated in three meets. Lifters are categorized by age and weight. The two Olympic weightlifting competition lifts, in order, are the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk. The essence of the snatch event is to lift a barbell from the platform to locked arms overhead in a smooth continuous movement. The Clean & Jerk consists of two stages. The first stage, called the clean stage, is a lift in which the barbell is picked from the floor and placed on the shoulders in one motion. After a pause, the athlete goes to the second stage of the motion. In this second stage, the athlete lifts the barbell into an overhead position while placing the legs in a lunge position (one leg on front of the other).
In competition, each weightlifter receives three attempts in each and the combined weight total of the highest two successful lifts determines the overall result within a bodyweight category. Judges stand at the ready to signal a red light to disqualify a lift or give the “white light” for a good lift. Strategy comes into play when a same aged/sized girl can lift about the same amounts. Coaches discuss lift totals with their athletes to beat out their competition and hopefully find a weight total to win. During the meet in Caledonia, my daughter went for a personal best to beat out her competition. It was a nail-biter, and I was on the edge of my seat wanting to watch while wishing to hide my eyes until it was over! She was victorious and qualified for the state meet with her lifts.
Now a weight lifting mom, I wondered if I should shout encouragement? What would you yell? To show support several of my family attended an event near the Twin Cities. They were impressed with the number of athletes involved and the professional venue including platforms and auditorium seating. Their niece however was particularly embarrassed when they teased her with the cheer, “Snatch that Weight!” I still get eye rolls for that faux paux. Weight lifting has its own, unique lingo. I have learned “Attack the weight” and “Stick your heels” are both appropriate cheers. I like, “You got this!”
I have the highest regard for these girls. Not only do they keep a challenging schedule, but they also have to maintain their physical weight to remain in competition. Like wrestlers, they “cut weight” to be competitive and maintain their weight to remain in their most competitive weight class. My daughter has had to sweat off a kilo or two to make weight. She inspires me with her commitment and perseverance. Turning down summer treats to lose weight in a healthy manner is something to behold. She knows more about nutrition at 15 than I did at 30, and her will power inspires.
Starting this Friday, June 22, America’s top young lifters will compete at the 2012 National Youth Championships in Dearborn, Mich. Two hundred competitors are expected to contend for both weight-class and age-category titles. Along with my daughter, Lydia DeMorett, Trece Frank, and Madison Heaney will represent Caledonia. The girls have entered their starting weights and have been ranked among their competitors. If you wish, you can watch the girls lifting live via webcams. Go to www.teamusa.org for more information.
I can tell you first hand the athletes are passionate, confident, and have worked long and hard to get to this competition. I hope you will join me in cheering on the power lifters from Caledonia! You go, Girls!
P.S. You can catch more lifting action later this summer. The Summer Olympics in London, England, will begin on July 27. Weightlifting begins the second day. I hope you will join me as we cheer the USA athletes on to gold.
“Snatch that weight!”