By Eric Todd
One of the many benefits of lifting in all-round is the postal competitions. These have been going on for as long as I have been involved. When I first started in the USAWA, Bill Clark ran a three part postal series with a multitude of lifts contested. Later John Wilmott took over being in charge of the postals in the USAWA, followed by our President Denny Habecker. On the international front, I believe it was Frank Lamp from Australia who ran a very nice postal meet in the early 2000s where he would send out medals and a booklet of results (to his financial distress, I would imagine). Later Steve Gardner, and of late it has been taken over by Al Myers.
I would encourage everybody who is physically able to participate in these postals. First of all, it allows one to maximize what they are getting out of their USAWA membership at no cost to the lifter. They do not cost us a dime to lift in. I happen to live in an all-round hotbed with plenty of USAWA meets to participate in. But for those not so fortunate, the postal series allows for several opportunities for athletes to compete. If you live close to a certified official, you can enter the Andy Goddard IAWA World Postal Championships (you must have at least one official for that one). For the postals hosted by Denny and the USAWA you do not even have to have a certified official to enter (though you must use one for it to count for a record). You can have your Uncle Ernie officiate, and it would count for the sake of the meet (certainly everybody’s Uncle Ernie would be happy to help them in this capacity).
Another fabulous benefit of competing in the postals is you get to challenge yourself against the best in the US (for USAWA postals) and the World (for the IAWA one) without extensive travel and cost. I have competed against lifters from England, Scotland, China, Spain, Australia, and New Zealand (among other countries, I am sure), all from the comfort of my home. And you are not restricted to a particular day. If this Saturday you are occupied, you can compete on the following Thursday (or another day if Thursday is booked). Just as long as you do the lifts all on one day within the competition window and get your results in on time, you are good to go. I love looking up the results and comparing myself with lifters from far away both in formula and total.
Now, I have been as guilty as anyone else of missing a postal here and there. Sometimes due to injury. Other times it was lack of planning. The end of the window came and me and Lance could not make a time work (I probably should have called Uncle Ernie). Sometimes life just gets in the way. Otherwise, it was just laziness on my part. But, I have made an effort to increase my postal participation percentages. It just feels like a real easy way that we can support the USAWA to help keep the organization alive out of respect for those who have lifted before us, and for those who I hope will follow.