As a non-confrontational, peace-loving individual I've bit my tongue a lot over the years with respect to my involvement in this sport/hobby of ours. And even now I don't intend to shoot flaming arrows at anyone, but I feel the need to get some things off my chest. And beyond that, I'm hopeful that some will gain some insight, and perhaps even act on the insight to help make some positive changes.
Grip is what it is through the tireless efforts of enthusiastic, self-motivated volunteers. Most of us have full time jobs, families, and all the other usual obligations that people have. We didn't sit around waiting for others to make changes, promote contests, develop implements, invent ways of rating grippers and steel, open websites, start and maintain lists and certs, etc. We saw a need and simply acted on it. The guys "in charge" and "making the rules" are actually the guys who have worked their asses off the most for the development of the sport. They are what your politicians should be, that is servants. So, I'd like to humbly submit some advice for your consideration.
Before you start with your list of suggestions for the promoter of an upcoming meet, try hosting your own first. Buy the necessary equipment. Weigh all the plates and implements. Point-calibrate your bathroom scale. Select and/or make the trophies. Post the rules in details in advance. Good luck getting the entry fees in a timely manner. Decide what you want to do with the two guys who showed up the morning of the contest wanting to compete. Who are they? What about the scoresheet you already compiled with all the names neatly alphabetized? Do I tell them to get lost or do I stop everything else I'm in the middle of doing and delay the start of the contest to accommodate them? Oh, so and so and his brother forgot to bring their entry fee, by the way. Someone else just texted to let me know he's running late. Now what? And another competitor who was late getting in his entry and talked me into contesting his pet lift isn't answering his phone and it's already fifteen minutes past start time (he never shows or calls). Now my wife tells me someone has pissed all over the kid's bathroom toilet seat. Okay, so let's do a quick rules briefing. Okay, not so quick rules briefing. Most didn't bother reading the rules I posted for the event two and a half months ago. By the way, unless you know some guys interested in grip who are NOT competing, often times grip promoter is synonymous with loader, judge, scorekeeper, and when it's all over... maid, because most don't volunteer to help pick up. Oh, and keep your cool when someone screams an obscenity because you didn't pass his gripper attempt that was shaking so violently you thought he was suffering a seizure. And now you're $300 in the hole, after entry fees are accounted for. So, when you're done cleaning up the garage the following morning and you realize the $300 you're in the hole is actually double that figure for the lost day of work, go inside, log on the Gripboard and tell the promoter of the next contest how to best run things.
Rule of thumb, it's probably been discussed before on the GripBoard... to death. Don't assume all your suggestions and ideas are original because they just came to you a minute ago. There has been a slow, often painful evolution of things which have led to much of how things are being run today. Hours and hours of discussion via e-mail and phone, arguments, hostilities, polls, more bickering, members quitting, and finally some compromising. Do a little research. Ask some of the veterans, before you play the ten million questions, or ten million suggestions game. Grip and all of it's history didn't start the minute you joined the board, or when I joined.
There is no political or personal grip conspiracy involving NAGS guys, moderators, promoters, IGC guys, or the Gripboard to show favoritism to certain athletes and their strengths, or to be unduly strict when judging feats of any particular athletes who are not part of some fictitious "in" group. If you think someone in a place of "authority" or "influence" in the sport is intentionally unfair or out to get a certain individual or group, collect your facts and present them. I'm hyper sensitive to that kind of crap, and I am thrilled and proud to report I don't see any of that nonsense in any of the prominent guys: Jedd Johnson, Chris Rice, Brent Barbe, Andrew Durniat, Matt Cannon, Aaron Corcorran, etc. This is a small fish bowl we live in. Be good people. It takes not only one "bad person", but one good person acting badly once to breed a lot of resentment and negativity. I'm proud of the vast majority of people involved with this sport. You want to improve things? Simply do it. This isn't a government or some organization bogged down in red tape. No one is stopping you. Compete. Throw a contest (my depressing example above, while not fictitious, is a compilation of annoying events over many years, by the way). Create something cool. Load the bar at a contest. Don't pee on the toilet seat.
I could go on, but I'm tired and have to go to bed. Maybe someone else who can relate to some of this can pick up the torch, or even correct me.
- Rick Walker, EricMilfeld, Hubgeezer and 18 others like this