Monday, October 03, 2011

New Experience

I was raised in a small town. There is a sweet predictability of the goings on in a small town and familiarity of the people that live there. There was a wonderful protective shelter to small town living. This has always made me incredibly curious about the goings on of new places and other people. It was the solid comfort of security in my small town that gave me the wings to fly in exploration of other places. I have now lived longer away from my small town than I ever stomped around in it as a resident, although I feel its markings in me daily. I am now a city dweller, but I am no less curious about different experiences and new people.

Which leads me to what I did on Saturday.

I went to a bodybuilding competition. Not as a competitor (snort). As a supporting fan of my awesome 44-year-old friend, Beth, who was approached in the early days of summer by someone willing to sponsor her for this event. If she'd consider it. Turns out Beth is willing to try new experiences too.

She had to work out (which is nothing new or no big deal for her). Beth was in awesome shape to start.

She had to follow a strict diet (which involved cutting out all carbs and sugar and eating predominantly protein).

She had to practice. Practice posing. Practice flexing certain muscles at certain times and then practice flexing all her muscles at other times.

She had to practice doing all this wearing high heels and a bathing suit and glittery eye shadow. And a smile.

She had to step FAR outside her comfort level to participate in the whole pageantry portion of showing off exactly what she had been working on.

She was nervous. I was intrigued.

The whole thing was fascinating! As members of the audience, my friend and I (also named Beth) had incredible seats to some of the best people watching ever. Better than the airport (and I do love airport people watching).

The people in the audience seemed to know a lot about what the people on stage should be doing. They called it out as if at a basketball game. Instead of, "Shoot it!" or "Rebound!" the fans yelled, "Flex it!" or "Squeeze it!" They would offer up specific advice like, "Watch your arms!" or just a quick, "Legs! Your legs!"

Fascinating.

I had questions. The other Beth and I decided we needed a program explaining each of the divisions and what the judges were looking for. We wanted to look for it too. On a break, we got to see Beth and I told her I'd yell "Squeeze it!"the next time she was on stage,  but it looked like she already was. Expertly.

The women were beautiful and toned. I had prepared myself for some grotesque muscle heads but the women were feminine and would still look amazing with normal clothes on. That was my "test" when I watched each person (male or female) in this competition. That is why we were there, to judge their  muscular physique, so I don't feel bad about what I was doing (so don't go and try to make me feel bad.)

I would look at each bulging bicep or toned thigh and think:  but would they look good in jeans? Could they pull off a tight weave non stretch cotton dress shirt? For most of the women, the answers were astoundingly yes. For a good majority of the men, the answers were absolutely no. For a select few of the men, I worried if they could EVER find a sport coat that wouldn't split every time they reached out to shake someone's hand.

Even Superman's Clark Kent looked good in a suit for work. I'm just saying.

Some of the men looked chiseled out of smooth marble--a testament of what the body is capable of in its highest, truest form. Art. Flat-out-statue-of-David art.  Some looked clunked together out of rock:  lumpy and large where even their jaw muscles were pumped up and flexed. Almost comic book villianesque. You know, extreme.

The people in the crowd were an interesting mix. Family, fellow physically fit friends, little kids, and then us: two chicks who looked like they got lost on their way to find a crafts bizarre.

I have to say, I liked watching the women the best. Not just because I could cheer on my friend, but because they were soft on the eyes, natural, not "I just got dropped in a vat of toxic waste and now my arms look like this" (fyi:  she was sitting across the aisle about 10 chairs over from us). Extreme.

There was one division that didn't seem to involve any physical flexing of muscles but more of a bikini-clad "oh, wait, is this NOT the tryouts for the new Poison video?"

Yes, sadly, there was an entire division of girls that didn't flex but felt compelled to "pose" in every overtly non-athletic way that left me feeling as if I needed to pray for them right then and there after singing "Jesus Loves Me" really loud first. While standing on top of my chair. I didn't (do the singing part at least).

Overall, I was so glad I went. I didn't walk away feeling bad about myself or with a bad case of the "gimmies".  I'm not allowed to go to house or garden tours anymore because of the "gimmies" I bring home every time. (Gimmie that kitchen island, gimmie that mudroom, gimmie that open floor plan). Don't get me wrong, I would LOVE to have the abs of some of those women, but I didn't obsessively think about it. That's showing growth for me. (Yeah, me!)

This time I walked away thinking what a luxury it is to live in a time and place that a select group of people can get sponsored to work out and get muscular. And people like me will come and watch the results of their hard work. Beth ended up with two fourth place trophies for the novice and masters divisions. Get this, a master is anyone 35 years old and up. Ouch.

Beth let me play with her trophies.


What is wrong with this trophy? She looks in pain.





















I am so proud of her. For doing the hard work. Stepping outside her comfort level. Being open to a new experience.

Rock star!


That caused the other Beth and I to think about other shows and how they get their own sponsorships and followings like craft shows, antique/flea markets and then that went right into Comic Con. The ultimate in new experiences from what I hear.

Maybe next year?

What about you? What recent event have you witnessed that was a brand new experience for you?




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