Channeling my mother, I climbed to the top of the bleachers before the 7th annual Maintenance Mania National Championship—held during the 2013 NAA Education Conference & Exposition in San Diego—to ensure some sort of back rest. I’m 26 years old—I need the spinal support.
Settling into my seat, I admired the costumes, t-shirts and party hats many of the audience members were wearing in support of particular competitors and affiliates. One gentleman from the First Coast Apartment Association was sporting a full-body orange leotard, putting the “man” in “mania.” Fortunately he was also wearing shorts.
Across the arena, two members of the Maryland Multi-Housing Association (MMHA) wore Baltimore Orioles t-shirts with the team’s star third baseman on the back. But they were in San Diego to support another man with the same surname—MMHA’s own Jon Machado. A reporter is supposed to be impartial, but I am from Charm City…
Once the competition was underway, contestants were racing around the course to complete each of seven events, including an icemaker installation, dual flush toilet conversion and key control deadbolt test. At another station, one competitor changed a set of blinds in less than seven seconds. I can’t change my pants in that amount of time.
The final event was the ever-popular race car competition. This brought me back to the days of my brother’s Pinewood Derby races with the Boy Scouts. I remember a lot of cool cars. I also remember my dad swearing and my brother crying. He was a very sensitive child.
None of the Maintenance Mania competitors were crying, though I wouldn’t have blamed one of them. First Coast Apartment Association Jimmy Garcia’s luggage was lost en route to San Diego. With his race car stuck in Chicago, Garcia had to start from scratch. Fortunately several other Maintenance Mania competitors came to the rescue, accompanying Garcia to a local hardware store and helping him make a new car in time for the competition. This would have never occurred in Boy Scouts; those Tenderfoots are cutthroat.
I nervously munched on a Hershey bar as the race car event came to a close and the results were computed. Every single competitor deserved to be there, and I was happy they were being recognized for an often thankless job. As Chairman of the Board Alex Jackiw, CAPS, CPM, said, “After a resident moves in, it’s the maintenance technician who keeps the resident happy. These guys are the best. You have my utmost respect and admiration.”
But of course there could only be one winner. After awards were given for the individual events—and after I had moved on to a complimentary Kit-Kat—it was time for the big announcement.
In his sixth championship appearance, Key Management’s Justin Heenan of Wichita, Kan., was crowned the 2013 Maintenance Mania National Champion. Heenan threw up a celebratory fist pump as confetti fell from the ceiling and I dabbed my eyes with candy-bar wrappers.
In light of the recent Miss Canada Universe scandal, NAA would like to assure everyone that Heenan is, in fact, the winner. God bless the USA…and wireless scoring.
And congratulations, Justin!