The Europa

The Europa is a body building competition that serves as the center piece of an eclectic convention whereby one with payment of $20 one can watch “world” championship cheerleading, grappling, arm wrestling, run an obstacle course with a $10,000 cash prize or fill a bag with free samples of fitness products. For the record, I watched body building and acquired free samples.

I digress to profile a few of these samples. There is Jet Fuel Pyro the so-called #1 feel good fat burner premised on an “uplifting 4-part multi-process”, the fast-acting muscle voluminzer Jet Mass (no relation), Velocity XT the “extreme fat incinerating energizing solution”, Kickbutt amped energy ballz, and the key lime flavored muscle gel shot that in one disturbing tube bearing the instructions “rip open tab, squeezed packet, enjoy” provides the protein equivalent of a whole chicken breast or six egg whites. This all begs two questions 1) how does fat sustain itself against such vicious verbiage? and 2) who writes this shit?

Back on task, my presence at this event was occaisioned by Carlton Stubbs second body building competition. The venue was the Orange County Convention Center which conjures the very definition of the word vast and possibly sprawling as well. Sans exaggeration, I walked well over a mile to reach the Europa. I was fortunate to find Carlton’s girlfriend Julz shortly after arrival, and found a seat while some female fitness competitors finished routines to a largely unimpressed audience. Several weight classes passed before Carlton and the other three heavyweights took the stage for pre-judge. All four men walked on to stage and were directed to specific poses by the judges. Each man then posed alone for sixty seconds before the entire group posed down together on final time. On this display a champion will be decided. Tomorrow at 11am the “show” as it were takes place with introductions, ninety second routines with background music and awards.

Carlton weighed 203. Three pounds lighter then he projected two weeks ago, but looked very good. Of the four in his class only one was close enough to pose a threat. This man appeared to struggle during his pose down likely due to dehydration. By contrast, Carlton seemed composed and comfortable.

About ten minutes after leaving the stage, I met Carlton. He was hungry, but in good spirits. We walked the venue and picked up the aforementioned samples and tried to solicit sponsorship. The hunger mounted. We went to the Brick Tavern to eat. Service was slow and by the time his burger arrived, Carlton was nauseous. The extreme dieting and preparation were exacting revenge.  He retired early.  The rest of the dinner party included Julz sister, who spent most of the competition evaluating speedo covered penis rather than musclature and George, a talkative guy connected with the muscle and fitness industry, who had apparently sparred with a 6-7 300lb guy earlier in the day and lived to enjoy pretzel bites and cheese.

Body building is of course a subjective sport.  Results are determined by a panel of five judges.  On Saturday morning at 11am, Carlton took the stage for his 90 second routine.  He flexed, TI rapped, and people applauded.  An hour or so later, he was judged to be second place.  I do not agree.  It was a poor decision.  I am not alone.  Several people approached Carlton after the results to protest the injustice.  It is in these voices that victory is found.  One can only speculate as to the bias of any judge or panel, but to have put in the hours in the gym, committed yourself to the dieting, and walked onto the stage for all to see, and succeed in convincing many that you were the man of the hour is the transcendant quality for your efforts will linger longer in those minds than the bigger trophy on your mantel.  But longer still will persist the pangs of guilt for those who’s votes may have been swayed by some prior relationship or other bias.

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