by Kris Pitcher
Sitting at the end of the dock I stared into the dark water. The stars were bright, the breeze strong...and I took in the salt air. Able finally to take a breath, I took two, deep breaths and then I blinked my eyes, hard.
A bright light surfaced in the water. There it was again, and over there. Pinpoints of light bobbed up to the surface of the water amongst the lapping waves and I had to check myself. "Do you see that?!" "There?!" I asked Jacques. "And there, and there!" I almost squealed.
"Are those jellies?" I asked him. And I was completely in that moment. Completely. Feeling this joyous, childish, love of nature...wanting to touch it, feel it, wanting to just be it. The exhaustion of the four and a half days preceding made me grateful for that very moment.
We had just experienced competing in the NPC Nationals, over 900 competitors. "We" means my husband competed, and we took one of his clients. It was an amazing weekend. We traveled into Florida on Wednesday, landing in light rain.
By Thursday evening it was pouring. I mean the kind of torrential monsoon rain that could cause helicopter evacuations from rooftops. It. Rained. HARD. As I put coats of tanning color on Jacques' client Matt, I asked mother nature to make way for the competitors.
She did. By Friday there was a sun break in the morning and prejudging for the men's bodybuilding went well. More rain. Hoods, umbrellas, socks and shoes...in Florida. But you come prepared for all kinds of weather.
Saturday morning gave way to clear skies also and we got Matt through prejudging without monsoon rains. He did fantastic. His physique class had 62 men in it. Sixty-two. There were ten call outs. Ten. It. Was. Huge.
But his stage presence was fantastic. He gained experience, got in front of the national judges, and had a great showing. Between prejudging, there were lots of meals, meal prep, cooking, more cooking, and even some resting for the athletes in our stead.
Finals wouldn't come until Saturday evening, a full day and a half following prejudging for Jacques. Holding conditioning, restricting fluids (I'm the fluid police), eating meals on time, taking photos to send to his trainer, constant communication and feedback...it's a marathon.
Saturday evening would be a waiting game for him. Men's bodybuilding is always last. Did I mention there were over 900 competitors? Once they both had their moment of stage time, having their name called my the MC, presenting themselves, and then...that's it.
But that's not it. Then you wait. We knew Jacques was in the top 10, not top 5, but didn't know his placing. It's not like a local show where they hand you a score card when you walk off the stage. You wait. You see it on line, like everyone else. It's like waiting for a baby to be born.
Sunday I woke and saw light between the blinds. I needed to know. The microwave beeped as my day old coffee was warmed for me. I went on line to see his placing. He presented his best package to date. He dialed in his fullness, while coming in conditioned. Along with making improvements in his physique.
Ninth place. In. The. Nation. We were already talking about next steps on Saturday morning. That's just how we think. Those of you who know me, know my thoughts about the "cycle" of competing. The contest is just one stop along the way. It's not the end. It's truly the beginning.
It's the beginning of what your possibilities are. What will you be capable of changing? What can you improve? It's your opportune time to grow. Use it. Use all of it. The motivation, the energy, the enthusiasm. Let all of it be fuel, in a positive way.
And as I looked into the dark water, engrossed by the light of the jellies, being totally in that moment...I was pulled back as it dawned on me. This is what sets competitors at this level apart. There is something that shines within them in the dark. There is no darkness. It's all just light.
It's all just possibility, it's all what's next, what's possible. The competitor who can walk off the stage fueled by the light within, ready to move ahead through any darkness...can make it to the National stage. And this weekend I was blessed to be with two of ONLY 900 who could do that.