Archive for Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Bratkovic: Powerlifting meet has big benefits

March 5, 2008

A fan stood in the Basehor-Linwood High School small gymnasium and cheered on his schools weight lifters.

He wore a shirt that said, 'My kid can bench press your honor student.'

Part of the culture, or just a fun play on a tried and true slogan for achievement?

He was one of the many parents who cheered their favorite weightlifter's on during the first powerlifting competition at Basehor-Linwood.

They yelled, there was no need for a let's get fired up, chant - everybody already was.

Basehor-Linwood Powerlifters wore shirts that said, 'great results require great ambition.'

This had to be what coach Ross Schwisow envisioned when he brought the school's first powerlifting competition to Basehor-Linwood High School on Saturday.

A school that takes a lot of pride in its ability to run events, was hosting a new tradition - a powerlifting meet.

Music blared on speakers. Lifters from 14 schools, of all shapes and sizes, motivated each other to lift more weight than they ever had in the squat, bench press and power clean.

The gymnasium resembled a a huge weight room as lifters gathered around stations and prepared to lift toward the maximum of their potential.

"The biggest thing is a lot of them understand what they are capable of doing, but with lifting, you get in an atmosphere where it is loud, the music is blaring and the adrenaline kicks in," Schwisow said. "They find themselves doing things they have not done before."

The Bobcats won all three competitions for the bench, power clean and squat.

I was a novice to the sport when I walked in Saturday. What I saw was a lot of kids who gained confidence from weight training.

Weight lifting can have a stigma of just being for the bigger athlete, but the meet is divided by weight class so every lifter competes against athletes who are similar in size. With athletes who are smaller, the competition can help them gain confidence because they are able to go against similar sized athletes.

Basehor-Linwood has 70 athletes competing on the powerlifting team. Bonner Springs also has a weightlifting program, but didn't lift in the Basehor meet.

Powerlifting is the latest sport to hit the sports landscape.

What is impressive is the sport gives your non-typical athlete a chance to compete.

It also gives athletes a reason to hit the weight room when their next sports season might not seem like enough incentive to visit it normally. Competition often creates motivation and weight lifting plays such an important role in what these athletes can do on the field.

Benefits also exist for not athletes.

"It gives you a lot of confidence and makes you feel good," Basehor-Linwood student Emily Blanks said. "Not everyone is good at football or basketball, but in this you are competing against yourself. It is more of a one-on-one competition."

In an age, where some many people get tied to computer games, it is nice to see a sport that promotes activity and physical fitness in which anyone can participate.

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