Surya’s ICKB Competition Chronicles: Part 2
By Surya Voinar-Fowler
…As I lay there drifting in and out of sleep listening to the cheers of friends and family watching the lifters I am reminded of the many reasons I love this sport. People from all walks of life, all ages, some at their first competition others seasoned competitors, different lifting styles etc. yet all share a love of lifting, the courage to step on the platform and offer the best of themselves on that day. Some days their best might be a PR and other days their best might fall below a typical training day, but either way they stepped up and offered what they had to the KB community and that takes guts. In my recuperation room I am missing watching the lifters and soaking in the inspiration shared as they take to the platform.
Hours pass and then hours more… as I hydrate and sleep, flight after flight unfolds. Steve helps to judge in between checking in on me as well as offering coaching support to Melissa and Jessica in the longs hours leading up to their sets. Melissa and Jessica are in the final two flights of the day. In addition to caring for me they work to find inner calm and protect their own energy in preparation for their sets.
In the midst of Melissa and Jessica’s warm up, we receive notice that there has been a deadly plane crash at SFO. Deep breaths are taken and emotions are immediately put on pause so that all focus can still be given to their 24kg snatch event. By the time Jessica and Melissa take to the platform temperatures are once again soaring at 118 degrees and even with air conditioning the room is difficult to breath in let alone lift in.
Drawing on inspiration from watching other lifters compete in the heat earlier in the day, Melissa and Jessica do the same and deliver solid performances at the end of a very long second day. I am so proud of my ICKB sisters!
5:30 pm While the girls are lifting I find out the SFO is closing and that flights are being canceled. We are scheduled to leave in just a couple of hours but receive numerous updates of flight delays. Given that our spouses and children are eagerly awaiting our return the stress quickly begins to escalate as the possibility that we may not make it home that night seems more and more likely. Our hearts ache to get home to our loved ones who support us to train and travel and compete. Steve gets us quickly to the airport and we run to the ticket counter. An angel named Chel finds us the last four seats on the last flight cleared to leave for SFO but we have to literally run to make it.
6:45pm We have been sitting on the runway for an hour waiting for mechanical repairs to the plane while listening to pilot updates about the plane that crashed while landing at SFO. I start sending off texts to family and friends expressing my love and appreciation in my state of exhaustion and fear. Everything is now completely surreal.
7:00pm We are cleared to depart for SFO just over an hour after sitting on the runway. Thankfully the flight goes very smoothly and we land in an eerily quiet SFO.
11:50pm It is almost midnight and we trudge outside in search of the shuttle to take us to the parking Lot D. The airport is swarming with TV crews.
We attempt to get on one bus but are told it does not go to the lot we need. The driver honks the horn for the shuttle bus in front of us to wait for us as that is the one we need he tells us. Ten minutes later we arrive at the wrong lot only to be told that we were instructed to get on the wrong bus. We have to wait for a security agent to come and drive us to Lot D… on the same night as a 777 plane crash? Not likely. Twenty minutes later we are still waiting, but the funny thing is the explanation given is that the security agent is said to be driving through the lot helping a woman who cannot remember where she parked her car.
Jessica wisely asks a young man who is just completing his shift in the parking garage if he can rescue us given the circumstances at the airport– he graciously gives Steve and Jessica a ride while Melissa and I wait for them to pick us up. Steve as always drives us safely home across the Bay Bridge first driving Jessica to Orinda and then back to El Cerrito for me and Melissa.
As we drive we laugh about the longest two day trip we have ever taken. And then we talk about the next competition. Are we crazy?
Maybe. But the good news is we are not alone. As this past weekend showed us–as did the recent Friendship Competition hosted by the IC–there are hundreds of lifters around the world who are just as awesomely crazy as us who love to lift anytime and anywhere! Congrats to all of you amazing KBeller’s who do all that it takes to train and compete in this gritty sport. I truly understand the commitment that it takes. You are an inspiration and I am so thankful to have the opportunity to lift with you. Looking forward to the next competition where I will be fully hydrated. :)