Speed Under The Bar
I speed under the bar, pulling it off the floor as fast as I can, pulling my knees back, pulling the bar into my hips, and pulling my shoulders to my ears. I bend my elbows and get the bar as high as I can. This is when the magic happens. The bar is weightless, floating, and I move under it as fast as I can. In a snatch, I catch the barbell above my head. In the bottom of the squat, I pray the bar path was straight enough to put it right over me. I tell my legs to stand up, holding the weight overhead. I finished. In the clean, I am halfway done when I get the bar again. I am in the bottom of the squat, but this time on my collarbones, or the front rack position. Then comes the jerk: I bend my knees, keep my torso straight up, and throw my hips forward. Again, the bar is weightless. I jump into the lunge position, hoping that the bar path is straight. Again, I catch it right above my head. Holding that weight, shaking, I move my front foot backward and my back foot forward. I wait to hear the beep from the judge, put the bar down, and get the three white lights for a good lift. Olympic weightlifting is a series of utter failures with occasional success. I put my time, energy, and heart into the barbell, hoping that when I pick it up in competition, success will happen at that moment. I see this as a window into the rest of my life as well. Not only am I weightlifter, working towards nationals for the 2016 season, but I am also a nursing student beginning the program.
Life is all about speed under the bar. In weightlifting, this is the most crucial piece to being a successful lifter. I have to trust myself enough to push my body below the barbell. I have to trust myself in life, the true test of my strength; this pushes me into success. I work hard, moving quickly to finish before the deadline, and then it is out of my hands. I put in the work, but at the end of the day, it is up to the teacher and the judge. Pass or fail, good or bad lift, I practice, I study, and I put my skills to the test. No matter the outcome, I continue to lift heavy, study hard, work out, make notecards, and try again. I continue to speed under the bar, both literally in weightlifting, and metaphorically in my education.
Life comes with challenges. The bar is heavy, and the test is hard. My coach provides my workout program, and my professors give me the practical knowledge and homework to refine my skills. I take the failed lifts and the missed opportunities in school, and I use them to fuel my future and desire to persevere. It is in the failures that I can learn how to succeed in a way that those who have only success can never learn, and that is to use the failures to get a different perspective and a better understanding of myself and of others. I maintain my focus on the goal, the three white lights, and the successful classes. Weightlifting nationals and a nursing degree both require my speed under the bar.
Written by Maria Snyder