Every once in a while I find myself on the sidelines, in the audience, or back in the warmup room. I’m not always the one competing, the one fighting to land the lift or push out one more rep. Sometimes I just get to be the coach, the spectator or the cheerleader.
Coach Elizabeth (aka Momma Brown) has been coaching Michael Stratton (a young Olympic Weightlifter) for several years now. After taking some time off Michael wasn’t expected to lift in a national meet for quite a while. Without even trying he qualified for Junior Nationals during a routine local competition. Of course once Michael found out he qualified he was dying to go compete at Junior Nationals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
I wasn’t originally going to join Michael and my mom in Philly but after thinking about it I was like why not! I wasn’t going to be competing, I wasn’t going to be coaching, I was just going to be watching and supporting a good friend! For once I would be able to relax and enjoy a weekend where I didn’t have the stress of competition.
This wasn’t Michael’s first Junior Nationals appearance but it was his last. At 20 years old it was his last chance to compete as a junior athlete. His first lift was a 100kg snatch, followed by an easy 110kg and then he went for a PR lift at 116kg. Barely missing 116kg he later remarked, “I knew I had failed it from the moment it left the ground, I just didn’t take enough time in my set up position.” He’ll get it next time for sure! He opened his clean and jerk with a ridiculously easy 125kg, went to 135kg and ended his last Junior Nationals appearance with a beautiful 145kg! This left him with a total of 255kg! Did I mention he competed in the 105kg weight class? This is one strong kido! Now that he’s done competing as a junior things can only go up from here. I guarantee this will not be Michael’s last moment to shine.
I really enjoyed getting to cheer Michael on and the experience taught me that it really is good to sit back and support the people around me. I don’t always have to be the one competing to enjoy the competition.