The Other M.Y.
When I first started my fitness competitions in March 1998 I didn’t know anyone. Sometimes I would walk up to a group of competitors and ask them if I could hang out with them so I’d know where to go. I never had anyone in the audience supporting me. It was just me, the stage and bringing my best package. When you talk about doing something for yourself – those competitions were all about me.
After my third competition that April I realized that there was this one woman that had been to every competition I had. We always competed in the same group and she always had a loud group of people cheering for her. From that point on, I started taking advantage of her crowd. Her name was Michelle. Every time we were on stage and I heard “Let’s go Michelle”, I’d imagine that they were cheering for me!
During that competition I finally talked with Michelle backstage. Not only was her first name Michelle, but her last name was Yatsuk. I blushed when I told her my secret about her friends in the stands. Instead of getting mad and walking away, she did something else.
Michelle and I kept in touch for several months. Although I placed ahead of her in each of those competitions, she always encouraged me and was excited for my wins. At our next competition in October in Cincy, she let me stay at her house. Before we went on stage, she told me that she told her friends to cheer for me too! I finally had some fans of my own. That was the start of my friendship with Michelle and we always refer to each other as “the other M.Y.”
Two years pass and I’m in the audience at KY Muscle this past weekend here in Louisville. It was great to see all of my friends compete. However, the highlight of the competition was seeing Michelle onstage competing. I sat anxious in the third row. For once I was able to to yell “Let’s go Michelle!”, “You got this Michelle!” and “Lookin’ good Michelle!” Michelle ended up winning her group and looked amazing! I am a better competitor because of Michelle and was proud to return the love and support she has given me over the years. Not all competitions are about winning, sometimes it’s about helping to celebrate someone else’s success!
M.Y. November 2010