March 8, 2007
We are well into 2007 and the outlook is positive looking back as well as forward. Today is pretty good too. March has historically been one of our strongest months. This month is no exception. We have 30 meets in the calendar for March alone! And looking at them, there are some of our strongest and longest running meets either coming or returning.
Looking back to 2006, it is a picture of stability. While I look out at the turbulence in our sport in general, we seem to have achieved an island of calm. Our membership numbers are stable, now over a number of years and our finances are in the black after several years of investments in the organization. One of these, or merchandising program is paying substantial dividends. While we appreciate the funds this program has generated (approximately 10% of our budget), what is really great is the response of our membership to the products themselves. People are proud to wear the USA Powerlifting colors and to get our name and mission out there. That is the real benefit of this program. And we owe a great debt of gratitude to Lance Slaughter, Priscilla Ribic, and Erin Dickey for initiating, building, and maintaining this effort.
In the coming year, one trend that we see as positive is the return to larger competitions out at the local and state level. Historically, USAPL enjoyed some very large meets with good competition across classes and divisions. More recently, numbers attending each meet have dropped. Over the past year, though, we have had a number of "Open" meets with upwards of 100 lifters. It looks to your administration that we are having a return to the desire for competition and camaraderie rather than trophies. That is what powerlifting was based on during it early development and the great popularity it had twenty years ago.
One bright spot for us has been the LACK of drug test failures of our athletes internationally. A number of countries have had serious difficulties with repeated failures of their athletes which have resulted in fines, suspensions, and sanctions against nations. We are proud of our track record in terms of testing and our athletes who demonstrate the strength that drug free training brings. That is not to say that we intend to rest on our laurels or become lax. If anything, we are convinced that comprehensive drug testing efforts are worthwhile, and will devote more time and effort to assure that this program improves.
This issue includes a review of our 2007 Women's Nationals. In many ways, this is one of my favorite meets of the year. The friendship and support that our women athletes show to each other, and the intensity of the competition make this a great show of strength. The attitudes and atmosphere make it open for anyone to try. THAT is what USA Powerlifting is about.
Until next time,