Heavy Plant

Walk past a "Heavy Plant" warning and wonder vaguely if the trees thought it was for them; if whoever put it up had enough imag...

Saturday, March 25, 2006


Wandering into the pub with little to do but wait I found my eyes inexorably drawn to the television. When the revolution comes television will be banned from pubs outside of Sundays, international games of (assosciation) football and rugby (football) and made mandatory during the world cup.

Because the commonwealth games are currently being held in Melbourne anything that happens to be happening at the games is televised in every pub nationwide. This includes 'minority sports'. No, not the Mornington Crescent semi-finals or even the Octopush grand finals but sports that are either a waste of human effort or a simple passtime that, through the usual idiotic human tendancy of taking a good thing too far, has been elevated to the level of an international event (Synchronised swimming and table tennis respectively).

Because the concept of sport is as old as humanity itself and because not everyone is particularly good at actual games the Commonwealth Games actually contain very few games. Physical games, according to anthropologists, are a hunting and warfare substitute and so anyone who wants to play physical games should be encouraged to do so as the might otherwise try to kill something or someone.

But what about the people who are only good at one aspect of games? What if you can only throw things a really long way but not accurately enough for this to be any use? What if you can only run very quickly but only in a 400m oval? Well then for you we have athletics. Athletics are sport reduced to a single component and because the concept of 'I can do anything better than you' is somewhat older than humanity athletics have been around a similarly large amount of time.

Unfortunately the reduction of sport to it's most basic competetive element seems to invalidate the endeavour for the casual observer - "He can only throw things a really, really long way, but I bet he couldn't hit a target, especially a moving one". To combat this the proponents of athletics insist that there is actually a technique to what they are doing. Sadly the value of this too is hidden to the casual and uninformed observer. Some athletic disciplines recombine the disciplines into a single event to try inject a little versatility back into the equation; triathlon, heptathlon and decathlon for example. Even these are these are only combined reductions but at least the participants are capable of more than one thing. Other 'sports' don't even harbour the hope of this - such a one is weightlifting (yes, I know it doesn't fall into the athletics category but it's just a stupid idea).

Even if you recombined other athletic disciplines to create generic areas of sporting activity like running almost does to make say, Throwing (javlin, discuss, shot-put, frisbee) or Jumping (long jump, high jump, triple jump, pole vault and hopscotch) weightlifting is limited to lifting things in different ways and increasing mass. To stop the biggest person winning every time there are weight categories in weightlifting. The lowest men's category is 56Kg and less. I weight nearly 70Kg and I'm a scrawny and out of shape 5'9". The lowest women's category is 48Kg. Watching the light category lifters is a totally shameless freakshow for dwarf fixated perverts that should not be allowed on TV before 9pm, if at all. Most of the other weightlifters don't exactly have the appearance assosciated with being an athlete. In fact most of them have the physical carriage I assosciate with too much beer, chocolate and sitting on your arse watching TV.

Not enough thought has gone into weighlifting, they don't even try to lift different shapes. Surely lifting a spherical weight requires an entirely different technique to lifting the classic dumbell configuration? Even this slight variation doesn't happen in the competetive sport. Instead weightlifters create bizarre arbitrary and painful methods for lifting. Two of them. With silly names. Weightlifting is composed of 'the clean and jerk' and 'the snatch':
  • The Clean and Jerk
    1. With back breaking effort and a pelvic thrust far from sexual in intent lift the dumbells vertically and bounce it off your pubic bone (it's always fun to watch the audience wince at this point)
    2. Crunch your body underneath the bar so that it rests accross your collarbone and use the strength of your thighs to stand up - try not to follow through
    3. Drop your body weight and straighten your arms above your head whilst thrusting one leg out backwards
    4. Stand up - try not to follow through
  • The Snatch
    1. Grab the weight from the floor and hoist it upward whilst crunching your body underneath it straightening your arms and squating underneath it - all in one movement (it's always fun to watch the audience wince at this point) - try not to follow through
    2. Stand up - try not to follow through
See, easy when you know how. I was watching two sizeable Indian women lift heavier and heavier weights, they were great at the clean and jerk but probably lost sight of the snatch some years ago. It wasn't the fact that this activity had been elevated to the status of a sport that fascinated me but the fact that people seemed perfectly happy to sacrifice rectal integrity to do it competetively. It seemed certain that one of them would prolapse at any moment. I can't be good for the chalfonts. I want to see the application put back in to weightlifting. I need it demonstrated to me that this is a worthwhile endeavour. I want to see actual feats of strength not peculiar contorsions. Next time out weightlifters will have to lift up a car whilst someone changes each tyre in turn. They can start with a Smart car and move up to Landrovers and then on to trucks. The little guys should be pretty good at this, not being much taller than a jack at full extension anyway. Other useful weights lifted could include...er...well I don't know actually. I can generally lift everything I need to. I can say with a fair level of security that, barring being kidnapped by aliens and being put in some bizarre intergalactic circus, nothing would ever persuade me to put on a leotard and lift things so heavy as to threaten high speed anal leakage. Since I am having real trouble thinking of things that I need to be able to lift that I can't perhaps weightlifting should just be remoed from competition altogether. The fatties will just have to go back to wrestling.