Saturation…great little album by Urge Overkill, by the way.
If you’re an obsessive like me, you have your favorites. Your shows, your playlists, your people. You return to them time and again. The flip side of that is that there is no flip side. You know how the story ends. Your experience is at saturation point, it seems.
This weekend I met a friend at a powerlifting meet and gave him some coaching and handling. (Yes, that’s the proper terminology.) He and I had talked privately about doing this meet together; for various reasons, I opted not to compete but was happy to be out there with him. He did wonderfully.
Powerlifting meets are curious admixtures. There are the people who are genuinely happy to be lifting and there are the weird aggro glory hounds. (Usually in a 1.25:1 ratio.) There are the interminable waits between flights and the folks who step on your stuff and get in your way while you’re trying to make your way to your lifters in the coaches’ area. The music, with the Cookie Monster vocals meant to signify…something. The bright brilliant smiles after PRs and moments of joy like diamonds and halos.
And yet, a meet carries with it the odor of sameness. (Actually many other odors too, come to think of it.) When you’ve done or helped with a handful, you’ve mostly seen it all. This weekend, my mind was inclined elsewhere although I was happy to be with my friend; I missed my family and particularly one of my boys who’d been sad about a friend moving out of town. In a situation like that, it’s easy to feel like you’re at saturation point with the experience. What more can you see, especially when you’re confident your friend will crush it, as he did?
About two hours into the experience, I got my answer. I was in one of the sitting areas off the main hallway charging my phone and reading a magazine. One of the lifters from that morning’s session walked into the room with his two boys and sat down nearby. He didn’t look to be a natural lifter (who is, really?) and one of his boys was probably 13 or 14. They sat there for a few minutes, happily chatting as I wondered how the hell a 13 or 14 year old isn’t looking completely miserable in that situation.
Then the dad put his arm around his son, kissed him on the cheek, and ruffled his hair.
Right. That was it. I wasn’t at saturation point after all. There is always room for love and kindness, and your openness to surprise and wonder may bear you up when you least expect it. I didn’t see that guy bench or deadlift but I hope he lifted ten thousand pounds.