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For a radical meritocrat such as myself, who defends the strict employment of equanimous judgment criteria in sport, in science and in art, this title sounds a bit weird. “Lift with your friends”? What do you mean? For what reasons? To organize the discussion, I will list my arguments:
- One of the worst things in life is having to do something in which you are good at with people you don’t like, whose attitudes you do not condone, whether it is for ethical, moral or behavioral reasons, or just because you just can’t stand his guts. Everyone has already changed jobs (or knows somebody who has), with no relevant salary raise, because the atmosphere was better. This is more frequent in the qualified professions, where this is an option. The truth is that we do something well done when we feel good and around kindred souls. “Like-minded”, in human culture, can mean many different things. The most important criteria, however, is that we feel a sense of belonging, of comfort and trust. The opposite is being in a tense environment, where we actually feel threatened and hostilized.
- Powerlifting is a non-olympic, amateur and unpopular sport. The great majority of its practitioners want it to remain like that. To make it popular, as I argued a number of times, it would be necessary to change things we don’t want to change. None of us makes money out of powerlifting (we actually spend a lot). Not even the “stars”, whose stardom is only valid for the minuscule international community in our sport. According to the argument exposed in the previous item, sometimes we do have to accept working or doing something in a hostile environment because of money. After all, we all have our bills to pay. But if there is no money involved, and if sponsorship, at the best, minimizes our expenses, what’s the point of lifting at a hostile platform?
- Although we take historical world records into account for heuristic reasons (it is a tool to understand a certain phenomenon, but not necessarily an expression of the given phenomenon), they don’t mean very much in terms of comparability. A parallel squat cannot be compared to a deep squat, since the weight that can actually be lifted in the first case range of motion, by the same lifter, on the same day, is much heavier. They are, however, there, on the table, side by side. Does this matter? Not much, for those who can grasp the mathematical aspect of it. For those who do strive to become stars in a secret sect, then it does and it makes sense to seek the most favorable conditions to do those numbers, whether it is with “flexible” organizations concerning squat depth, chest stop at the bench press or even meets where the disks are not calibrated or certified, which may represent even 10% lighter weights.
- That holds true for the organization’s reputation as well. Some federations are known for their strict judgment and ethical procedures – others aren’t. But does this matter beyond the personal choice? No, not really. It only matters for the individual and his conscience.
Given these arguments, the best thing to do is to choose a platform where you feel good and at home. Where you feel among equals and friends. The reciprocal situation is equally true: do not impose your presence where you are not welcome. This is cruel and wrong. You are disturbing people and possibly compromising their performance. Those people are there united by a sense of unity and brotherhood. You gain nothing by making them uncomfortable except the awareness that you harmed them.
The bottom line remains “live and let live”. Birds of the same feather flock together, and this is good. Seek your equals and leave the others to have fun with their equals.