The Western Canadian Powerlifting Championships are taking place this weekend in Calgary. Of course, I had hoped to compete at Westerns last November but missed out due to being caught up in the unprecedented flooding that devastated BC’s highways and several communities. Although I missed out on Westerns last year and didn’t play my cards right to qualify for this year, I do have fond memories of competing at Westerns in August of 2016 in Kamloops. I went 8 for 9 on my lifts that day, typically missing my final bench press, but I did still manage to break a few provincial records and have a personal best deadlift. That was also my first time competing without my coach in my corner, although I roped my daughter into stepping into the role and she did just fine. I haven’t been on that big of a powerlifting stage since then, and I’m not sure when I will be again. But yesterday at Westerns, a little obscure part of me was on the platform! Okay, so it was really just a pair of my socks, but it is still a pretty cool story.
It all started on June 4, just a few months ago, at the local powerlifting competition I had entered. As is my habit, I had packed my gym bag the night before, but on the spur of the moment I decided to throw a second pair of knee high socks into my bag as a just in case. When you’re deadlifting, you need to be wearing socks that are almost to the knees. My favourite deadlifting socks are from a company called Sox Box. I own quite a few pairs and every one has some sort of word or phrase on them. While none of the socks are offensive, you never really know if a referee might decide that a pair is unacceptable, which is why I threw a second pair in my bag before leaving the house that morning.
So there I was at the venue waiting to be weighed in. My equipment had already been checked and approved, and I was doing my introvert/INFJ thing of people watching as other lifters went through the equipment check. With Covid-19 shutting many things down for two years, there were a lot of first time lifters at this particular competition, many with hopes to get a qualifying total for Provincials only a few weeks away, so that they could then get a qualifying total for Westerns and then Nationals. Many of those new lifters were inadequately prepared for the equipment check. Several of them were unable to wear the shirts they thought they’d be wearing and had to use the ones given to each lifter. As I’m standing there waiting and watching, a young man is laying out his equipment for the referees to check and he had only one pair of socks. The referee asked if he had another pair for the deadlift. He looked a bit lost and uncertain about what to do, and then I spoke up as I dug into my bag, saying that I had an extra pair. The word on that particular pair of socks was EPIC.
Roger, the young man now wearing my socks, was in the same flight as me, so I was able to see most of his lifts, at least as best I could through the gaps in the curtains separating the holding area from the platform. Now I do not know exactly how old Roger is, but he is a sub-junior lifter which means he is between 14 and 18 years old. If I had to guess (and I’m really not very good at guessing ages) I would say that he is 16 or 17 years old. Roger lifted very well for his first competition. Quite honestly, I was super impressed with how strong some of those young lifters were! There were some kinks to work out with understanding all the rules and such, but they really did quite well.
By the time the competition was finished, there was a lot going on and I didn’t even think about my socks again until I was halfway to my car, at which point I decided that I didn’t want to go back to retrieve them. A small part of me was sad to let the socks go, because I honestly do love my Sox Box; however, I have an entire drawer crammed full of socks and truly would not miss one pair. Besides, at least I knew that my socks would be on the feet of a new, young powerlifter and put to good use. My experience with powerlifting has always been positive, so I was happy to pay it forward in this small way.
A few weeks later was Provincials and I was able to watch some of the lifting livestream. And there was Roger wearing my EPIC socks! I had started following him on Instagram after the June 4 competition, so I congratulated him on his Provincials performance and commented on how much I liked his socks. He made some sort of comment about how they came from someone cool. That made me laugh. I appreciate the comment even though I am really not cool at all.
Then yesterday, Roger competed at Westerns and wore my socks. I congratulated him again, and he mentioned how crazy it was to consider that he wouldn’t even be there if it weren’t for me. Now that is probably more than a slight exaggeration. Sure, he might not have been permitted to compete in June without me giving him my extra pair of socks, but chances are someone would have had an extra pair to lend him or he could have got creative by sharing socks with someone, although that would have been tricky. Roger said that he’d remember forever.
I don’t know. Maybe it is because I’m a mom, because of my personality, because of his youth, or something else entirely, but I have developed a soft spot for Roger, even though I do not know him at all. I find it extremely amusing and awesome that my socks are competing without me and going to the big events that I am not yet able to take part in again. I am happy to have been able to help out a new lifter. It was such a small gesture, but its potential is unfathomable.