In B.C., Canada, 71-year-old Dieter Stamm invests in the sport of weightlifting and the young athletes he coaches.
It’s a Saturday morning at Semiahmoo High School in White Rock, B.C.
It looks like an ordinary day at a weightlifting club. A dozen or so athletes, aged 9 to 25, are cleaning and snatching in a very unspectacular, almost beat-up weight room. The white walls are nearly barren, the weights look worn and abused, and the smell of chalky must fills the air. It looks like your typical underfunded sports club. And it is.
An older man, the head coach, is dressed in casual, almost sloppy attire. He circulates the room and gives cues to every lifter. He looks excited to coach each athlete he approaches.
“Finish the pull,” Dieter Stamm yells to a young athlete in a genuine but firm voice, mimicking the shrugging motion to demonstrate what he means. The 9-year-old boy nods and tries the snatch again. Stamm smiles and tells him, “Good job. That was a good lift.” The boy looks pleased.
Stamm moves on to the next athlete, and the next, treating each one with as much care as the previous. The energy and the rare sincerity in his voice give the impression that it’s his first day on the job, that he has big plans to revive this beaten-down club.
The truth is it’s not even a job at all. Stamm certainly isn’t getting paid to be here. In fact, it’s cost him almost 100 grand.