It’s about the sport.
It’s about the lifters.
It’s about the club.
It’s not just that we can’t do it without you, it’s that without you there is no reason to do it. There is no reason to try. That, and we can’t do it without you.
(All Photos by Nazofoto)
We had been working towards this almost non-stop since February. When the Cali Open wrapped up and Denis Jason and I were driving to the Sequoia Giant Forrest for a little R+R I was thinking about it the whole way.
How are we going to top this? How can we do it better?
It was a long drive and I had plenty of time to think about it. When we finally got to the forest my mind was cleared out by those giant trees (and Denis’ reaction to them). We built a huge fire, seeing how it was February and all, cooked up some meat on sticks and began to talk.
We talked about all of the good things that had just happened. All of the emotions a pr’s and what the feeling in the room was like. We talked about some of the performances and after a while we got around to what we could do better.
We decided that if we put all of our effort into making just one thing better every time we did this eventually we would get it right. So we picked one thing, displays (actually, it ended up that there were a million things we could do better. So we started with displays and just started grinding).
I knew we were running this meet from behind. Denis wasn’t going to come. His wife had a baby due in July and we all decided that August was too close. So we were going to have to do the next one without him. It was a sad thought because he adds so much and we have become such good friends.
25 lifters, as many as last year already signed up by April.
Months later things were rolling along. I was healthy again and training was good. I was having trouble with the longer sets but that is nothing new. The Bay Area Competition was growing faster than we thought it would. I was thinking 40. (We had about 25 in 2012). I had my suspicions it may it 50 or 55, so as the number kept climbing we changed the name:
The Bay Are Open Kettlebell Championship
We like the word “Open”, it suits us.
We had already ordered the displays from Denis and they were being built in Russia. Not easy and not cheap, but we agreed when we started hosting meets that the money from the meets goes to the meets. We recycle everything. We need to make the project better.
I was struggling with a piddly little long cycle set. Denis called me and gave me support. (I don’t want to write what he told me but it built my confidence for sure). Then he told me that he wanted to come to Oakland to work on that set. He wanted to fly, from St. Petersburg, to Oakland, to work on a soft-serve set with me? That’s Denis Vasilev.
So we put the certification weekend together to cover his expenses (a great idea from Tracy), now we had our head judge and guiding force for the meet.
66 lifters, 10 more than the Cali Open.
We knew we were going to get a burst of people, we had already changed the venue but we had not gone to see it yet. So we made the trip to John McNeil Studio Annex and got a peek at the space.
Amazing, what Nazo could do here, amazing.
Anything we asked they laughed and said “no problem, but how about this”. We started brainstorming and eventually came up with the concept for the meet layout. These guys are such pros. They have given me something new to think about on my next long drive.
70 lifters, Juliet starts freaking out.
I told her we will hit 75, just keep registration open until Saturday like we said.
75 lifters, registration closed, Jason is here, Denis is here, BJ is here, people start to trickle in and the grunt work starts.
A few weeks ago I had a great conversation with my friend Everett about work. He said “there are few feelings better than working as hard as you can all day, looking back, and seeing a job well done”. Agreed (and grateful for all the teamwork that made this happen)
The stage is set. Everybody is here for the meet. The place is packed. The energy is amazing. Everyone looks great!
The performances were beautiful. It all happened so fast. It was like driving over a big long hill on a sunrise highway while your favorite part of your favorite song is playing and just as you hit the peak the road just keeps on going and going, nothing but the baby blue and orange up ahead for miles and miles.
Afterward we sang and danced.
We didn’t go to the mountains this time. This time we got ice cream.
What can we do better next time? What can we start working on today?
We thought of something, something big.
Oh, one more thing…
Thank you, to all of you, for all of your hard work. I mean ALL OF YOU. All of this, what is happening now, is a reflection of you. This is your team, your club. Everybody picks each other up. If you are weak here…I got you. Where I am weak…you got me, and I know it. It’s the trust and the empathy. I have not been able to write about this meet for a week. I don’t want to talk about how hard it was because it was such a pleasure. This whole thing has been so rewarding. This opportunity is a great gift that you all gave to me and I thank you for it. We tried our best, and through that process we all grew. We are better now, stronger. We are ready to go. What comes next is a bigger challenge, a greater test. I am ready, and I got your back.