If Western Strength has a problem, it's that there's too much Western Strength. Yet this a problem we're happy to have during our first official year as a club. What follows are some reflections on the past year and, as it were, the state of the union. If you're new to the club and community, the most important thing is for you to meet people face to face, dip into a few of the (ever-increasing) Facebook groupchats on various themes, and find your niche in Western Strength -- and to help advocate for it! We hope this post gives you a feel for what we're all about.
Nothing evokes our community vibes as much as a powerlifting meet. As we first saw at the Seneca meet in February, and recently at the London open on September 9th, we prepare superbly for meets (brace yourselves for our film franchise, 2 Thicc 2 Thorough).
Our lifters did exceptionally well (eg. a 402lbs deadlift from Sarah and best lifter awards to Sharon and Tyler). Yet more importantly, at least from the community perspective, many new powerlifters had very positive first meets -- the first, we hope, of many. We are grateful to everyone who made this possible, especially the people who were there to volunteer, watch, coach, film, and support us (the lifters arguably have the easiest job--just lifting!).
The issue that powerlifting meets raise is a crucial one: how can we extend this level of fun, engagement, and camaraderie to Western Strength causes and events more generally? How can we foster this same level of solidarity among other strength sports, or among people who aren't committed to one yet? Our execs and event planners are working hard on balancing our themes this year. Fortunately, there's one thing that unites all lifters, or should unite all lifters: food, indeed, eating as much food as possible, exploring many permutations of its quality, quantity, and deliciousness. As perhaps the most pro-food group on campus, we predict these events will be extremely well attended. Food facilitates friendships -- in every known culture. But when it comes to knowledge-based events like seminars, talks, and clinics, we'll need the community to tell us what gets them excited. What do you want to discover and debate? What strengths and skills would you like to acquire?
Western Strength began, at least as a foggy dream, almost two years ago. Since then, Western Strength has ultimately epitomized the motto of "if you build it, they will come": from a tiny group of gym friends to a large organization with dozens of members, we've built friendships, skills, and a collective strength that was inconceivable to the few of us who remember the harsher gym environment from three or four years ago. We like to think we've improved the gym culture at the Rec Centre, not just for us, but for the people around us. By being inclusive and friendly--yet still prizing excellence--we've created something between a pluralistic democracy, a large and eccentric family, a school of lifting, a food cult, and now, in 2017 onward, an officially ratified club. Voila, that's us.
From its inception, Western Strength rejected the attitude of "what does this get me? how does this benefit me specifically?" in favour of faithful service to others: we recognize that personal benefits will always arrive in the future in profound but currently unknowable ways. In closing, my fellow lifters, ask not what Western Strength can do for you, but what you can do for Western Strength. Please express your gratitude and support to the current executives, and strive to understand how your individual strength pursuits depend, in tangible and intangible ways, upon our collective strength, health, and generosity. -- JD