Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Special Times

​I do not get to go hunting much these days, maybe ten times a year if I am lucky. That may seem like a lot to some, and not much to others.

I'll tell you what though, to me, going ten times is not much at all. If I had my way, I would go hunting every day, and I would enjoy every minute of it and I would have great days even if I didn't kill anything at all. Because each hunt brings excitement like it is Christmas morning.

But then the hunting season ends and you are left with this blank, empty feeling like when I was a little kid and it was Sunday night and 60 minutes just ended and all of the football games were over except the Chargers and somebody on the west coast and I knew that I had to go to bed soon and the dreaded Monday was coming  and school was my punishment on a Monday. 

 Just what is that feeling? It's when anything that you love is ending and you dread the next "have to do" thing and the funny part about it all is that I know when I am hunting that it is something special, I know that it is great. You know how you look back on some stuff and you go, "That was great, I wish I would have enjoyed every moment?" Well, when I am hunting, I am in the moment and I get it, I know that it is special and I am aware that man, this is wonderful and great and that I wouldn't want to be doing anything else at all. From the paddling in the dark to the decoys being put out to the first bunch of ducks to appear to the joy or frustration of a successful or failed hunt, to the biscuits and gravy at the diner after the hunt, all is great and grand and special.

I get the same kind of feelings when looking back into the past an my training when you just know that the gym or your partners or both are special and you just want to stop and freeze time so that you can keep everybody right there and stay the same and continue onward and upward with them.

For sure, there have been times in my life when I had the perfect situation when it came to training. One of the best times was when I was coaching high school football in Florida. I had two of my players who were hell bent on getting strong. We joined a gym called the Power Plant that was in the next town. Also training with us was my buddy, the  former Pro wrestler, Bill. Great guy, strong as all get out. We had some great training sessions together. Sunday was our squat day and the sessions were all good, not one bad one that I can recall. 

The one high school kid, who later became an Army Ranger, squatted 600(in a meet) as a junior in high school.  The other one pulled 700 a few years after high school. What was so special about those sessions? Camaraderie for one. We all pulled for each other, we trained until our muscles were weary and the sweat poured off of us and the Goldline wraps would be digging into your skin and the next set of squats was gonna be a bitch but you knew that everyone was pumped up for you to get your set and you weren't gonna let anyone down. And those high school kids? I could have told them that we were doing sets of one hundred in the squat and they would have done it, no questions asked. Something to be said for that kind of enthusiasm. You'd walk out of the gym and you'd be covered in chalk and your calluses would be bloody and that warm Florida air would hit you and damn, you would feel awesome. After wards, we would all go out to eat and talk about the workout, which is also one of the best parts of having great training partners. 

My buddy Jimmy and I had some great workouts when we were both coaching college football together. We would crank up some Charlie Daniels and get after it. We would "squat and leave" on a regular basis. Sometimes we'd leave the weights on the squat rack and just close the door. Something cool about doing that. And then we would come back later and put them away. But to just finish your last set and walk out the door was our thing. Our mindset at the time? Don't do anything that will mess up the next workout. Yeah, you are coaching and we like doing that and all, but Jimmy, you know we have to squat tomorrow so don't demonstrate anything or run anywhere or even walk too fast, because expending that extra bit of energy may take a rep from you tomorrow just when you need it the most. 

A few years back, when Cristi and Tracy and were competing in powerlifting, we had "Deadlift Fridays", and we would all meet in my office and watch inspiring videos of Kirk or Coan and take our pre workout and the adrenaline would start to get pumping and then Black Label Society would come on, your soundtrack on Friday's and the knurling on the bar felt like old home week and the first warmup set you would swear could be thrown right over your head if you wanted it to. We trained at eleven o'clock  on the dot and you better get your reps while we were all watching. Some crazy numbers were being thrown around and your shins better be bleeding when you were done and the rest of the day nothing else matters a whole lot, because damn, it's Deadlift Friday, and what could top a day of deadlifting?

You can't force any of this to happen, in my experience. Moments and times that are remarkable have to just sort of come together and even when you go back and try to duplicate them it doesn't seem to work very well. Just gotta dig into the moment, realize the uniqueness of it and take notes in your head so that you can remember all of it. I guess that half the fun of it is looking back and wondering why things can't always be special.

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a's for life. Whether its training or your family or your doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.