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Monday, April 29, 2013

NW Kettlebell Spring Invitational + Big Iron Balls Challenge! Yeah!

April 27, 2013
Rainier CrossFit Gym, Sumner, WA.

Here it is, the moment I've been training for. My third Master of Sport attempt with 20kg LongCycle. And what a joy that it's at an event hosted by KB Nic and the NWKB crew!
Nic congratulating the CrossFit Women and Men's Champions!
Nic came to my attention in 2011 at my first NW competition. He defines Indomitable Spirit, that one! One of the few people I know who could MC an event in an echo chamber without a megaphone, his enthusiasm is up lifting and his coaching is spot-on. Last Saturday his team was able to run simultaneous KBSport and CrossFit events with Nic alone as the announcer!

So what else happened? We had a fairly small but committed turn-out of KBSport lifters and a determined gang of 5 Men and 5 Women on the CrossFit challenge. One first-timer, Bethany and her coach flew from New Jersey! Slava and myself, representing IKSFA, traveled from Colorado, and my KettleTeam mate Tricia traveled from Canada just to help run the event! Many of the 19 KBSport lifters came from the NWKB and OKC teams, located in Washington and California.

IKFF team member turns out to judge with Tom and Misha.
Because I was so focussed on my goal I beg total obliviousness toward the other competitors. I missed most of the Jerk and Snatch sets, and all of the 5-Minute Chair press. But did see an impressive final half of a 20-Minute OneArm LongCycle set from a last-minute entry on Team NWKB!

I saw lifters from the entire 2 + years of my KBSport world setting up for personal records as well as first-time lifters watching in awe. What a great meet to start with! Every one of the lifters turned in great sets, everyone learned and had a moment to grow at this competition.
The chalk-pit/warm-up area.
Of special significance to any KBSport athlete are the organizers and judges. We must have rules first and foremost, and we've got to have a standard for our achievements. At this point in the US not every weight class/weight load and lift has a field of competition at regional meets, so we use ranking systems to qualify our massive efforts. Nic chose the IKSFA standard: IKSFA Unified International Ranking Table At National/International events first, second and third place awards are given for each category listed on the table being used.

The judging rules have been refined into a fairly consistent standard in the US, so at the Rules Review (before the first heat) many of us heard and saw the same information we've been hearing and seeing about No Count, Warning calls, and what it takes for a judge to terminate a set. Those of us headed for higher numbers were held to strict standard, and I did hear Tom Corrigan calling one of my heat-mates on No Counts. Happily, I didn't get those calls from Misha Marshak, who judged my set....
Several people, including Coach John Wild Buckly, Coach Jason Dolby and Tricia Dong all put in time in the judges seat and supported their team throughout the event. Misha did the noble act of judging and then competing!

I feel so blessed to be in this picture! The kettlebells being all the same color seemed to make us equal as competitors.

I want to express my gratitude for the choice to play the National Anthem before we started the competition. This doesn't always happen at KBSport events in the US, and was a welcomed addition.
My last word is in reference to a comment made at the Rules Review. Tom gave the obligatory rule that good sporting conduct is expected, quickly followed with a statement that it is never a problem. Luckily, my team mate and best friend Slava was raised speaking Russian, and later translated this quote next to our Coach Sergei Merkulin:

"In Girevoy Sport - there are no bad people;
all the junk sweats out under the weight of kettlebells, especially on the 10th minute."

(This must be why so many people attend the OKC Annual One-Hour OneArm Long Cycle event!)

Thanks again to KB Nic, KB Nic's Mom (Jan - yeah! 12kg!) and the many unsung heroes of the NW Kettlebell Spring Invitational! You gave us a stage to play our sport, to connect with ourselves and each other more deeply. Many happy returns!

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