Friday, October 1, 2021

When You Are Not A Natural

I think that I started taking Algebra in the 7th grade. It was actually Pre-Algebra, as a matter of fact. Ms. Horton. She had a huge butt. I mean, it was big. I failed that class. I remember failing algebra in 9th grade also. Mrs. Blaik was the teacher's name, the old bat. I had no idea what the hell she was talking about. So once I got lost, I would bring in Muscle Mag International, set it on the floor, act like I was doing my work, but really I was reading about Mike Mentzer. I kept failing Algebra until I had to take it in the summer school of my senior year. I had a great teacher for that class, and suddenly it clicked for me one day. Mrs. Tillery was her name. She made quite an impression on me. She sat my ass down and made me work and she explained it differently than all the other teachers, she explained it so a math wiz like me could understand. 

I could never understand how some kids just "got it" in math class and I didn't have a clue. And it took me until my senior year to figure it out: I had to work harder than those other kids in order to do well. I wasn't a natural at math, my thing was literature. Math was like another language to me. Once I figured out that I needed to work at math to get it, and sometimes I needed to work harder than everyone else just to keep up, I was all set. You see, I had to accept the fact that Mary, who had all the answers, was better at me at math, and she didn't need to study or take a book home, but I sure did. It was a eureka moment for me. I worked hard at sports, for sure, but academics, I really didn't give a shit about. But I needed to graduate, and I needed to figure it out. It was hard work that finally got me through Algebra. I got a B in that class, and I remember how happy I was and how I chastised myself for being such a dumbass for all of those years. It was the same thing in college. I needed 4 science credits to graduate. I took Physical Geology, Historical Geology, all the geology's until I ran out of them. I was avoiding Biology, but I had to face it at some point. I did it in summer school, and I looked back to Mrs. Tillery's class and I said, oh yeah, you need to buckle the hell down on this one. And I did. I figured most of it out. And get this: I even skipped a Guns and Roses concert to study for my Biology test, and that was when they were cool and Axl wasn't so portly.

It's the same thing with diet. I remember killing myself on the treadmill one day and Kirk Karwoski walked in front of me in the window carrying a bag of Wendy's. He was all rocked up and muscular as hell. But every time that I ate like that, I got fat. That didn't work for me, I needed to eat very strictly in order to stay lean, and do lots of cardio, too. I needed to suffer to get lean.

 And my bench pressed sucked. I needed lots of sets, over and over and over again to get in the groove of bench pressing. Some guys can lie down on the bench and hit 405 whenever they want to. Not me. My bench needed to be planned and executed with precision in order to make gains. I did get my bench total up, but only after becoming a student of everything bench pressing.

It's like that sometimes. You have to look inside and be honest with yourself. You may need to try a lot damn harder to be good at something than someone else. I see no problem with it when you can actually realize it. It takes being brutally honest with yourself and telling yourself that you suck at something and breaking it all down to the beginning and work, work, work. It's a lot more rewarding when you get good at it too, because you know that you came further along than "naturals" and you did it by busting your ass.


Friday, September 3, 2021

FIRE!

I just walked outside with my black lab, Rebel and we both sniffed the air, and I said, "Somebody has a fire, " meaning that somebody had an outside fire going, most likely a wood fire in a backyard. You can have fires here, all you city folks, it's in the country. I dated a girl once who lived so far out in the country that there was no trash pickup, so you burned everything. Now, that's country. 

I love the smell of a fire, all men do. Or should. Yeah, women can like them too. But let me focus on the men for now. Something about fire, isn't there, guys? smelling a fire ignites you and lighting a fire .... invigorates you, makes you want to yell like you are  ODIN ON A MOUNTAIN TOP. I mean, every guy I know loves a fire, loves lighting the fire and keeping it going, and absolutely loves lighting a fire that leads to an explosive device, like one of those crazy fireworks that I can only buy in Pennsylvania because I live in communist New Jersey, but I light them off, because I am an American and America was built on outlaws and by the founding fathers, it is everyone's right to be an outlaw once in a while. So I had all illegal fireworks and set off some crazy stuff, and the whole time I was giggling, like a school kid. I was so happy lighting stuff and see it go up way into the air and explode.

I like lighters. I collect them. I don't smoke. I like just having them. I have Zippo's from the band, Down. I have Zippo's that keep you warm when hunting. I like them. One time I took my then 9-year-old son hunting in -12 degree weather and he almost froze to death, so that night, I went to Walmart and bought one of those tiny garbage cans and I found this dust that will light in any circumstance, and then I even brought kindling with me, and I built the greatest fire in a goose blind the world has ever seen. It was magnificent and roaring and I could barely pull my son away from it to scan the skies for geese.

I'm walking outside again in a few minutes. And maybe I will light a fire. Just a little one.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

The Storm

 I feel the power of it all, this storm.

I see the end of the field, the trees there. 

They wave in the wind, they wave so hard that they almost fall in this storm, this storm unlike any other. It is the storm of the century, they say, this storm that shakes the very earth where I sit.

I am under the canopy of an especially strong tree, and I sit, despondent and wondering. Wondering if it all will cease or if it would continue on past this fitful night. 

Still, I sit. I am not brave but maybe not brave enough.  

I am wide-eyed at first, then all of a sudden calm.

 It washes over me, this calmness, and I feel peace or something like it, talking to me, and strange as it is, I have no choice but to give in to it, to this power greater than I.

 To relinquish it all to whatever it is out there controlling the skies and controlling me. 

And the rain breaks through what I thought nothing could break through.

 It washes me clean, it washes me all clean.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Drugged

 When I leave the supermarket, I drive the back way back to my house, because I want to see farms and woods and birds flying and groundhogs on the side of the road. Even the dead groundhogs in the road make me feel better than the supermarket does. All the fake food and the shiny displays and the sugar laden juice and then I think of massive corporations and their board meetings and how someone in a suit and tie said to add a little more poison to the food so the population becomes more addicted to their product and gets fatter and more dependent on them and then they say that it will maximal their profit more, also. 

 

I keep waiting on a revolution against these corporations  Maybe it starts with refusing to eat the shit that is poisoning us all. Maybe that is why there isn’t a revolt, because everyone is so drugged up by these corporations. Too sugar addicted and chemical addicted to even care.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

KIlling Me

 So, I'm out of town and joined a gym for a week. This trip has made me realize that my home gym, Atilis in Bellmar, New Jersey, is the only gym that I feel comfortable in. This gym I went to the last couple of days is okay for equipment, but it is cramped and the atmosphere blows. A good gym is more than equipment, for sure. A good gym has plenty of room to it, but not so much that it feels cavernous. This one is cramped and without rhyme or reason to equipment placement. A good gym needs to have a front desk person who acts like they give a shit. Every time that I walk into Atilis, Frank (the owner) or somebody at the desk says hello, and they mean it. When I walked into that out of town gym , the person at the front desk acted like I was doing her a favor by coming in there. No, I am the customer, and you are miserable. 

And people that work in a gym need to walk around constantly. Check on people, especially the beginners. If someone is doing an exercise wrong, they need to be told. That is, if the owner even trains. This group at this gym looked like they needed to spend a few years chained to a squat bar. Maybe the place is a front for the Mafia, because the owners or managers were right surly and clueless. 


"HELLO! WELCOME TO THE GYM! HOW ARE YOU DOING TODAY? LET ME KNOW IF YOU NEED ANYTHING AND THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR BUSINESS!" How about saying that when folks walk in the gym? Would it kill you to have some style and class and act like you want for people to use the place? Gyms come and go and yours will go away fast if the customer service isn't top notch. And it isn't hard at all. Act happy, move around, act like you care. Period.  Or don't open a gym. Be a grocery clerk ,  most of them are always miserable. You would fit right in.


 I have noticed this kind of stuff everywhere in this beach town where I am staying. Waiters and waitresses act like the customer is bothering them when they come into a place or order. I have had one good waiter while I was here. He was in his 40's of course, so he knew how to act. I walked out of one place when I had been there for 15 minutes and wasn't even glanced at by a waiter or waitress. You order shit and the food comes cold because they servers were back there looking at their phones instead of working. Working. Get your ass to work or don't do it at all. It is pretty simple.  What the hell is going on? 

 

 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Thoughts

Hey, you know the government works for the people right? That they are our representatives?  Do you know that we were born free human beings? Every one in the world is born free. They don't need a government telling them what to do. EVER. You like being told what to do? For the greater good? Look at them, man. C'mon. The government doesn't give a shit about you.  You think we were meant to be ruled? Ruled. By another human. Someone just like you, but they were born into it. You were not. It's an exclusive club and you ain't part of it.  Told what to do. Told what to say, what is right, what to put in your body. Where the government tells you what is the right thing to say, and the government will censor you if you say the wrong thing?  And the wrong thing to say is decided by the government? Tell me why we need a government? Ok, for the roads? My roads suck. For protection against foreign enemies? Ok, that's good. Ill go with that. But that's the military, separate, or it should be , from the government. Should be run by the people also.  For infrastructure? doesn't work. Bridges and buildings collapsing.  Corruption is everywhere. Believe what you want but I feel sorry for you if you believe that the government has your interests at heart. NOBODY should tell you how to live your life in any way at all. Somewhere, that sentiment went missing.

You don't even want to know what I really think about all this stuff.  Whether you are a liberal or a conservative or like me, a fucking American, you can't like the fact that people in the government TELL YOU WHAT TO DO.   Its like being a strength coach at a university. If you are an administrator and you haven't spent at least 3-5 years as a strength coach,  shut the hell up. NO, not lifting weights at planet softness, actually being on the floor, with the athletes. Also, If you haven't squatted 500, or benched 405 or deadlifted.... I wanna say 700, but I will go with 600. If you haven't done any of that, excuse yourself from an opinion. For women, 205 bench, 315 squat, 405 deadlift. Excludes a bunch of folks, I know. Now , of course if you are 137 soaking wet, it's different, I know that, relax. But it matters. Kids don't respect a weak strength coach. 


But I digress. 


If you have not lived like the people you are "governing " ever have lived, shut the hell up. If you grew up rich and went to private schools, and went to an exclusive university, you have no idea how people in America really live. NONE.


There is much evil in this world, there are people who want to take your freedom and your life away. They spit on the Constitution and shit on your free will. Believe what you want. But don't say I didnt tell you so, when the people you thought had your best interests at heart, turn on you in a big way. 


Be FREE. 

Monday, July 5, 2021

Don't Touch It!

I'm in the gym today, and one of the college kids that I train, Matt, is squatting. He's going for a new max, 520 pounds. My son is on the left side of Matt, spotting, and I am on the right side of Matt. He is squatting inside of the spotter racks. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a guy stop to watch. He'd been box squatting next to us.  That's cool, he's watching a big squat attempt, that happens all the time.  

But I see him getting closer and closer to Matt, and I'm thinking, please don't step in to spot from behind, please. But here he comes, and he puts his arms under Matt's chest, which I hate with a passion. He's not touching him, but he is close to touching him. I hate that type of spot because invariably, the squatter has a little trouble and the spotter touches them too soon, or he lifts them up, causing the squatter to lose control and perhaps drop the bar. Matt gets to the halfway point of the squat and I just know this guy is gonna touch him. The squat just slowed down a tiny bit, but I knew Matt was gonna get it. And if he wasn't gonna get it, I would have yelled, TAKE IT! But I didn't. Because he was gonna complete the lift.

The guy's hands are getting closer to touching Matt. Instinctively, I slapped his hand off of Matt. IF HE TOUCHES HIM, THE LIFT DOESN'T COUNT AND MATT IS SCREWED. He will be mentally in the dumps for who knows how long. Because it is important to him, this is planned, this is a big deal, it's not something he just decided to do, he is a trained athlete and although folks , normal folks, may not think that its a big deal, it is for Matt, because he's a lifter, not a part time "guy". 

Any way, we have the racks set to spot him , and we have two side spotters, we are good, all good. If I needed someone to come over and screw up the lift, I would have asked someone to come over and screw up the lift. I did not.  Matt completed the lift, just as I knew he would.

Anyway, I apologized immediately for slapping the unwanted spotter , and I tried to explain that if he touched Matt, the lift would not count. He said to me that if something happened to Matt, he wouldn't be able to live with himself. HUH? He doesn't even know Matt, who could be a serial killer for all he knew, or a fentanyl dealer for all he knew. Or an anti gunner, which is wise than the other two things, by far.  I hate when people don't "get it".  The same guy walked in front of my son as he was about to deadlift. That is a big no-no. Weight room etiquette and all. There should be a class for people to take before they are allowed in the gym. You know, like putting your weights back. How can someone have a bar all loaded up and then just be done and leave it? Oh, and the person who takes like 3 kettle bells , and 6 dumbbells and goes of into a corner and does a P90x workout. Nah, nobody needs those implements to train with, it is all you. This is your place. And some axioms, tried and true, need to be taught, like if the spotter touches the bar or the person, the lift does not count. It is like pushing the runner over the finish line. You didn't do it. It's all about the etiquette, man. There is a bunch of stuff that needs to be taught, but today was a good one: Don't spot where you ain't wanted.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

WHY?

I have had a lot of "why questions" in my brain lately. 

Like

Why did Roger Staubach have to retire?

Why did Lynyrd Skynyrd's plane have to crash? I mean, think about what they put out in a short career. Ronnie was only 29. Allen Collins was at the top of his game. I don't know if they would have made it very long with all of the drugs and drinking, but you never know.

Why doesn't everyone like crunchy peanut butter? Creamy seems so damn soft, ya know?

Why do people text or actually talk on the phone when they are in the gym?

Why'd the Steelers have to be so damn good in the 70's and 80's and always beat my beloved Cowboys?

Why are kids such a pain in the ass and tell me why again we feel the need to have them?

Why is there so much information out there about how good full squats are for you but people insist on going half way down depth-wise?

Why do people waste their height? Like someone who is six- foot -five and never played sports. Seriously? When I was younger, I would always say, "God wasted that height on him!" and meanwhile I was hanging upside down and going to bed at 7:30 pm just to try to force myself to grow to five- foot -ten.

Why doesn’t everyone know that lifting weights are the fountain of youth? It's the only way to transform your body except for surgery. And surgery always looks bad. It's nuts that everyone doesn’t lift weights. Man, and people look so bad when they don't lift weights, like one of the 1970's actors from the Bob Newheart show. You can tell when someone doesn't lift, right? Right. They look different, man, like they aren’t complete as a man. And nothing better than a girl who lifts. I guess some people think it's "gross" when women are muscular, but I think that's the way they should look. Soft is better than hard? Never. I doubt if cavewomen were all soft and skinny with a big fake chest. She woulda died real quick, all unuseful and shit.

Why does alcohol have to be bad for you?

Why doen't everyone hunt? You are missing out. Fishing is great, but hunting is where it is at, baby. You and nature, the solace, the cold, the winter skies, the smell of gunpowder, the dog retrieving, the 12 point buck, the excitement the night before, the getting ready, the sound of everyone loading their guns, the waiting.

Why aren't people more self aware that they are boring everyone in the room?

Why do things that are the best things to eat like cake and ice cream bad for you?

Why do some people think Communism is a good thing? Pack your shit and go to China. You will be begging to get back here. Those poor people over there. I like the attitude of the Russian people, and Putin says some badass things, but let us not kid ourselves, the people are still slaves to the government. 

Why did it used to be in fashion to act cool when you made a great play but now it's accepted for a player to dance and jump up and down even when they make an average play? Seriously? That's sportsmanship? It's stupid and self serving. And men look stupid when they dance. All of them. Even Fred Astaire. 

Why do people fall for supplement claims? Ah, I was guilty of it when I was 14, I admit. But there is so much info out there now on what works and what doesn't. Gotta study up some and don't believe the ads.

Why do people get offended so easily? Lighten up, man. I bet the locker room is the only place left that you can bust balls in America. I bet it isn’t in the military, with all this horseshit going on.

Why are people evil? I always have a tough time with that one. You mean, they steal kids and sell them? Sometimes people sell their own kids? People just kill people for no reason? People kill people for power? What the hell is great about power if you sell your soul? Evil man, it is everywhere. My eyes are wide freaking open, and what I see is bad, real bad. I'm always asking myself, "People are really like that?” Politicians lie to us and we know it and we just accept it. "Oh, he's a politician." SO? They work for US, FOR US, and they lie to US. Unreal. Everyone needs to turn off the mainstream brainwashing shit and see what is going on. Sometimes I wish that I was naive to it all like I was just a few years ago. 


Why doesn't everyone understand the common sense argument that when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns?




Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Paying Dues

It used to make me laugh when I was a head strength coach at a university and wed get someone interviewing for an internship or a part time position and they would tell me how they wanted to be full time real soon at a university or that they wanted to be a head strength coach in college within the next few years.  They would say all of that until I told them what the pay was for their position and what the full time coaches made in salary. Their eyes would get real big with amazement. Unless you are at a huge school and the head guy, you ain't making shit. I wanted to tell them how I and my graduate assistant coaching friends paid some serious dues years ago. For my first year of coaching, I got paid nothing. I was the assistant defensive line coach and assistant strength coach. For the next few years, I got paid for 19 hours a week, minimum wage, while routinely working 80 hours a week. I was the defensive line coach and head strength coach for football and in charge of taking care of all football fields. The most that I made at that school was 520 dollars a month. Even when I left and went to high school for a few years, my top pay was $27,000. I thought I was rich.Then to Charleston Southern University for a whopping $17,500. Then onto Penn where I first made $17,000 and no benefits as an assistant with 33 sports. I could have qualified for welfare, easy. At least for milk and cheese. 

But so what, right? All of it was my choice. I could have gotten a job with a suit and tie and 9-5 and all that, but I couldn't even fathom it. Life without coaching? No thanks. I'm just trying to point out how everyone should make sure that when you start coaching, make sure that you are doing it for the love of the whole thing. If you don't love it so much that you are willing to live on store brand Doritos and Hormel chili for weeks on end and steal Copenhagen up your sleeve just so you can walk onto the field or weight room and teach athletes and try to get them better or make just a little difference in their lives, maybe it's not meant for you. SCREW THE MONEY! Money don't mean shit when you have your buddies with you and you are trying to win and the kids get all pumped up on squat day and you can feel the excitement/tension in the air during max day.  And on game day in football? Right before the kickoff? You will never feel more love for coaching than at those moments

I remember one time in 1992, we were playing in the national playoffs when I was coaching defensive line. The clock was running out and they were fourth and goal, and if the other team scored they would win, and my defensive tackle , who was half crippled with knee injuries , chased the quarterback down from behind and saved the game. I couldn't stop crying when I tried to address my guys after the game, I was so damn proud of them. It is fucking magic when you love it that much. And those moments live with you forever.

And then you get that note from the kid who thanks you for pushing him in the weight room, or one one of your kids gets signed to the pro's or becomes a Ranger or a Lieutenant Colonel. All coaches who love it so much have those type of stories. 

And money and titles cant replace any of it.

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a year...it's for life. Whether its training or your family or your job...it 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.