by Thom Van Vleck
Every meet I’ve been to the loaders have been thanked and rightfully so. I’ve been a loader before and one time at a meet with about 70 lifters! It’s hard, thankless work. The only time anyone notices the loaders is if there’s a miss load! And at Nationals there were none! So these guys were barely noticed.
Often, when you look for volunteers for loading the room will empty quicker than a request for a suicide mission during Armageddon! But I had two guys step up to save the day. My brother, Tedd Van Vleck, and my “brother from another mother” Mitch Ridout. Actually, Mitch rented a room from my Mom at one time and she jokingly calls him her “favorite” son (at least I think she’s joking). Mitch has been my friend for over 20 years and anybody that can put up with me for that long deserves a trophy……especially after the work I get out of him!
Tedd and Mitch both were signed up to lift. But I was short loaders and I asked them to step in and they took a bullet for JWC team (or maybe Team Ledaig wouldn’t have had a cake walk for the team title!…..Ok, so maybe they would have still won since they had the best lifter in both men and women’s catagories). But that thinned the JWC ranks out considerably. I do know that my brother said at the end of the day he wished he’d lifted instead….he thought he’d be less sore! I also noticed that Dean Ross, who lifted in the morning session, was helping Mitch and Tedd in the afternoon. That’s the kind of stuff that makes these meets work!
So a special thanks to Mitch and Tedd for being our loaders and allowing the lifters to focus on lifting! We appreciate you!