Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Is That Too Much To Ask?

Yeah, I have written about it before, but damn 

I hate the city. I grew up in the suburbs Maryland, but it was different. I had 100 acres of woods behind my house and a trout stream in there, and I learned how to fish and chop wood and explore. I grew up swimming in the creek and carving JIM + (whatever girl at the time) with my Buck Knife into trees and my parents had zero idea where I was, and they didn't need to worry anyway. By myself I fought, swam , jumped my bike over ramps, smoked cigarettes (not for me!) and fished til the mosquitoes nearly ate me alive. So I was country in heart even though we were like 12 miles from the White House. Then I went to school in North Carolina, coached in Central Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina and hunted when I came back home for the holidays on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. And I loved it. I could shoot my guns everyday, and fish and hunt and go so far out in the woods that it seemed like no other human had walked those lands before. 

I now live in the suburbs in New Jersey. Moved here because of work and stuff. It's like 6 miles outside of Philadelphia. Man, it's so crowded. I like where I grew up and deer would come in the yard, and raccoons and such would visit at night. In North Carolina I would go dove hunting before our 9 am football staff meeting. I came to a staff meeting with dead doves in my pocket one time, all dressed in camo. Fortunately, the head coach was afraid of me after I lost my shit a couple of times... Anyway,  damn, now I can't even cough without my freakin neighbors hearing me. My kid blows his duck call and I'm always worried that the neighbors will complain, and I'll get an assault charge because everyone lives up each other's asses here, that's how close we live to other people. 

You start thinking about what you really love and maybe it's a sign of age, but you start thinking about wanting to be around only what you want to be around and have nobody close by you unless you choose to have them around you.

Ain't supposed to be like that, and the years are going by and I am not getting any younger just sexier and I yearn for a place with corn growing in the fields and woods behind the corn field, and a goose pit blind in the field, and a flooded timber place in the woods with lots of ducks in it and walking out onto the front porch and hearing the geese coming south like they have been doing for forever and someplace where I can take a piss off the back porch and not have search lights come on. 

Is that too much to ask?

Monday, November 11, 2019

Some Coaching Points

I just want to share some stuff about being a college strength coach and training athletes that I learned over the past 30 years. Most points here seem like common sense, but I'm not so sure. There is more, but this is a good start.

1. Be on time. Be early.  By at least 30 minutes.

2. Have a plan, and explain the plan before the session begins. Explain it so the kids can understand, not to show how smart you think you are at it all. And if you don't know something, tell the kids. Don't look stupid by acting all knowledgeable about stuff you don't know about. 

3. Let the kids have some ownership in the whole thing. Let them pick the curls , triceps and shoulder assistance. You'll be amazed at the athlete's enthusiasm. 

4. Be strict but not a jerk. Athletes can tell if you care about them. They crave the discipline, but if they don't trust you or like you (why do coaches want their players to fear them?) you ain't gonna get the best from them.

5. Be careful with calling a kid out. You better be damn sure that the kid can take it. I had no problem saying, "We are doing up downs because Johnny was late." But I would never go further than that, because you are trying to make them accountable, not trying to crush their spirit. 

6. Don't make them into robots. If you are blowing a whistle to start the reps in a set or to signal the changing of exercises, you may not be a very good teacher, but you may be a control freak. The athletes hate that shit. Nobody gets strong hurrying through a weight workout. But some coaches think that's effective. It is if you want them to dread the weight room and stay weak. 

7. Explain everything that you are doing and why you are doing it. Write it down with the points of emphasis on the exercises. And tell them things like, "We are going to squat heavy today, because it's a long season and we need to stay in the 80% range so we can stay strong and keep injury free.  I have cut the volume down, but bumped the weight up. You need to push through today, it is important." Stuff like that. You aren't a dictator, you are a teacher. I knew one head strength coach who, when asked why the athletes box squatted, answered, " When you get as strong as me, you can question what I do."  What the hell kind of answer is that?

8. Never compromise your ideals. I'd rather leave a place than have some dumb ass administrator tell me what to do with my athletes. That stuff is rampant these days and the best coaches are going into private business because of constant meddling.

And back to the athletes:

I don't know, man. I just figured out a long time ago that college athletes are grown and that they want to succeed, but if you are just a continuance of the asshole coach that they just left at practice, they are  not going to reach their potential. Just be cool. Be strict and have rules, but just be cool with the kids. Have them trust you, let them assume ownership, and listen to them. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Cafeteria Ladies Know Everything

I have railed before on how the entitled ME ME ME youth are much different from youth in the past. I know that every generation thinks that they were tougher or had it rougher than generations gone by. Let's just say that there were pussies then and there are pussies now and there will always be pussies. And there will always be those parents and teachers who baby the kids, and ask them constantly what they want-

Do you want this to eat? 

Kid: NO

Parent : Ok, can I make you something different from everyone else and inconvenience myself even more , you ungrateful little prick?

But really its more like "lets give a young kid the power to boss adults around." The kids love it. 

 And little Johnny can't find his ass with both hands as he gets older because he had parents who just had to do everything for him. 

The parent goes scurrying around trying to find the chicken fingers so little Johnny will be happy. I always think that if that kid is really hungry, he will eat. And if he was really really hungry, he will eat whatever is put in front of him. 

But there is more in the never ending striving of the adults to make our kids (and boys especially) into sniveling pansies who cant take anything that is a challenge or tough in their lives. 

Here is a good one. The "lunch ladies" at my 7 year old's school would not let him go outside today in 56 degree weather without a coat or sweatshirt. They made him get a hooded sweatshirt from the "lost and found "or they would not let him outside.

56 degrees
56, not 26
56 degrees. That's June in Buffalo.  Or maybe July. Do they were coats in June and July? I bet not. 
Almost 60 degrees. 60. 


However, the lunch ladies in all of their infinite wisdom, trained so well in biology , physiology, and their understanding of the science of how each individual reacts to weather, decided to play parent and guardian of my son. 

When I go into any of my kids schools in the Spring, Fall or Winter, the classrooms are so hot that I immediately want to strip down. After the first couple times where I actually began to sweat when visiting, I got  prepared. No jacket, I  wear shorts and a light t-shirt. Listen, ladies, with the heat blasting so hot that every classroom is like an incubator for all the viruses and germs, mind your own business. Throw away your myths and misconceptions about why we get sick, and mind your own business

This is from Patch.com
"Myth #2:  Wearing Your Coat When Outdoors Prevents A Cold.
We've all heard our mothers say, "Don't go outside without a coat or you'll catch a cold!"  But the truth is you should wear a coat because you may get cold, not necessarily catch a cold. When studied by the New England Journal of Medicine, kids without coats did not catch colds, viruses, or any other bacteria-related illness by not wearing a coat outside in cold weather.  Viruses are contracted by contact or close contact with another person who has a virus or bacterial infection."

We understand that your mom and her mom were like, bundle up! Its 80 outside, you may just catch a chill!

But we ain't doing that stuff. I'm not putting my kids in long pants  or a jacket if I determine that they don't need it. 

Now, every man that I know is pretty much hot as hell all the time. I hate having the heat on, hate putting on long pants, hate the hot ass libraries, book stores, malls, and especially schools. And even though this will sound nice and chauvinistic, I have only met a few women who are hot all the time, the rest start freezing when the temp goes below 80 degrees. And in my son's school, there is only one male teacher (poor hot thing), so the place is like a huge incubator, just cooking up those viruses to spread to everyone. Good job! Take a hint from Siberia. Now those are some hearty ass people. 

              Why Russians are tough as hell.

So now, I have to email the school and ask, just what is the determining factor on when it's too cold for the kids to go outside without a jacket? 56 degrees obviously is, according to the trained doctors in the elementary school cafeteria, but this should be written down somewhere. Like a manifesto of sorts. 

The summary would read,  "Let's endeavor to  make our kids soft and sick! Make sure to make a big deal on how cold it is all the time and anytime the temperature drops below 80 degrees, start freaking out and treat our kids like they are pieces of fine china." 

But if I had my way, here is what would happen. Let's make it a news headline: Kid's immune systems improve and less viruses abound because of new science of not babying the shit out of kids and making them wear coats in 56 degree weather! 

Yeah, I know, it's only a hooded sweatshirt. But in my mind it is just a symptom of how we are decaying our society with all this lovey dovey, never be uncomfortable, never play contact sports, never have to do a damn thing for yourself way that we are raising our kids. 

But do what you want. I'm not putting a coat on my boy when its 56 degrees. In fact, he is on his way to little league practice and the temperature has dropped to 54 degrees, and he's wearing a t-shirt and shorts. I may find him on the field frozen like a popsicle. Or maybe he will survive, but it would be a  miracle. 

Or maybe I should call the trained professionals in the cafeteria at his school and ask them what they think the best route to take in this situation is...

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Friday and Saturday

I drove down to Maryland from New Jersey on Friday. I left my house at 7pm, and got to Maryland at 11pm. Four freakin hours to go 130 miles. It's always in Delaware, that tiny little state, where the accident happens, so I'm prepared. Right where 295 and 95 merge. Costs you like 10 bucks to go through the state , too. Or something like that. But no stress, because it's happened 1000 times to me, so why should I be surprised? I had a podcast with Stan Efferding to listen to, some new Toxic Holocaust to rock out to, and I was venturing to my amazing home state, Maryland, by god. So I just moseyed on along.

I stayed at my parents house in Maryland that night, and of course it was great to spend the night in the house where I grew up and to see my folks. Next day , I got up early with my father (he'd been up for a while) and he made me an egg sandwich just like the old days when I used to live there. It's funny how every house has a different aura, a different smell, a different feel. Isn't it the truth? My parent's house does. Smells like home to me, and a bit of melancholy about not living there anymore and my parents getting older and all the other stuff, you know what I'm talking about.

I was in Maryland to see my parents but to also do a seminar on the squat and deadlift at  Mike Krivka's Crossfit Concepts in Gaithersburg , Maryland. I went to Junior College up there, and driving around there brought back more memories. I was driving around thinking about the junior college days and how shitty I did in school and how fun football was and how I thought that I knew everything back then.

Anyway, I was heading to Crossfit Koncepts to do a seminar with my good friends, Marty Gallagher and Kirk Karwoski. They are two huge names in the Iron World and they are very cool people and we speak the same language because we are all from Maryland, by god. And we all three have the same philosophy about training. Although Marty likes to tell people I am the "volume guy" and he's the "ultra minimalist", we have more in common than not when it comes to what we believe in.We all have been friends for years, and Kirk and I always start back where we left off the last time that we saw each other.

We had a bunch of great attendees , including Zach Even Esh, who I thought was gonna help us coach but hopped in and did everything step by step wise as anyone else. You are never too experienced to learn something, even if it's like,  just one thing.  You learn one thing? It's worth it.

And all the folks that showed up had experience but they were either looking to get back into it, trained people for a living, or just needed a form check. I love coaching, especially when everyone is so eager to learn. I mean, they were busting their ass . The way it works is that, we all teach the lifts. I do the sumo deadlift, Marty and Kirk the squat, Kirk the conventional deadlift, then I go over assistance stuff and Marty and I talk programming. We all contribute to all topics, and make points about the lifts and then everyone tries the lifts out.

Kirk gets real fired up and I do myself and its great. Just the intensity and everyone TRYING REAL HARD, and it's a great atmosphere.  I miss that stuff, there is not enough of it in life where everyone is freakin training like that. Everyone had a different life story and I am inherently curious about folks so I love hearing on how others live day to day.  It's amazing when they tell you the the seminar was good or that it was their favorite seminar. And then we had dinner and Zach and I left out, headed back to Jersey. I listened to David Joy's latest, "The Line that Held Us"on Audible  and that man can tell a damn good story. And when I got to Jersey, it was great to see my family but also great to see my black lab puppy, Rebel!  How did he survive 24 hours without me?

Monday, October 21, 2019

Today at the Gym

I was at the gym today and had just got done doing some bent bar squats and hack squats and was walking up the steps to the second floor to ride the exercise bike. Three young ladies, I'm guessing that they were between 20-25 years old, came into the gym. They seemed like relative beginners to me, and they seemed very happy to be there. They probably had a program off of the Internet or that a trainer had written them, and they all went over to the lat pull machine and started performing front lat pulls.   I was watching them and I thought, isn't that great? Isn't it great that they are all together, and are all just getting into it?

They have so much to look forward to in this weight training lifestyle that they are beginning. They are probably injury free and can pick and choose any exercise in the gym to perform without pain. They will experience that deep muscle soreness that they haven't experienced before and they will wear that soreness like a badge of honor. How do your legs feel? Mine are smoked! They will wake up in the morning and feel the muscles that they worked the day before, and the muscles will feel harder. Weight training transforms you and they are discovering that magic. They will get up and look in the mirror and see the roundness in their muscles that they haven't seen before. They will start reading about what to eat to gain muscle and what supplements that help keep them healthy and on the right path to gaining strength and muscle. 

They are going to have to wade through all of the bull crap that is out there, the marketing schemes from the food industry and the supplement industry, and from the "know it alls" in the gym (usually weak men or men in matching sweat suit outfits), who feel the need to tell them what they are doing wrong.

But here is the key: As long as they keep training, the consistency of going to the gym and not missing workouts and at least getting their protein in, they will succeed. 

Because it's simple if you really break it down: Get your ass to the gym and work very hard and you will transform yourself even if you make mistakes along the way. 

When I was done with the bike, the girls were still working. They were encouraging each other and pushing each other to get another rep.They were working hard and having a good time doing it. 

I was envious of them because they had all this great stuff to look forward to and I was also so pleased that that they had started a lifestyle that they could continue forever. They were now a part of the "secret club" of weight training, and whether they realize it or not, had discovered one of the essential ingredients to a healthy life. 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Book Excerpt

This is a short excerpt from a book that I have been working on about a young graduate assistant college football coach in the late eighties.

“That damn sound, good lord, what is that sound?”

 “Get up, honey, it's the alarm clock."

"Let me sleep."

"Time to get up, you are going to be late.” 

I open my eyes and see my girlfriend, Sadie, kneeling on the bed, looking at me. 

“Goddam," I say, "what time is it?”

 “Its 8:45, your staff meeting starts in 15 minutes.”

“ Motherfucker! How come you didn't you wake me up?”

“ I tried," she shoots back, in her wonderful southern drawl, "but your lazy ass wouldn't get up.”

“ OK, OK,” I say, and get to my feet. 

My head feels like it got run over by a tank, and my mouth tastes like a goat took a shit in it.

 “I have goat shit mouth.” 

“What was that?” 


I brush my teeth and spend extra time on my tongue, brushing away the white film that has accumulated on it. I put on copious amounts of deodorant since I can never tell if I stink or not. Sadie tells me when I do and I’m always surprised.  I pull on a pair of black polyester coaching shorts that seem just a little short to me, but that's the way everyone wears them these days. I do have some muscular legs, so the girls can see my thighs with these shorts on. I can be a little narcissistic at times.

I pull on a collared shirt that is way too small , but my asshole boss didn’t order any 2xl, so I'm stuck with this XL for the time being. 

“Have you seen my keys?” I ask, while gobbling down three ibuprofen and a glass of water. 

“Probably in your pants pocket.”

“Have you seen my pants?”

“They are on the floor in the living room.”

And there were my Wrangler blue jeans right in the middle of the floor of the living room, right where I must have taken them off last night. In fact, I believe that I slept right next to those jeans for most of the night and then got up at some point during the night and got in bed with Sadie. I grab my keys and wallet out of the pants, toss them back on the floor and I'm out the door. Sadie yells to me that she loves me.

“See you later, love you too.” I say, knowing that I don't really love her and I'm just saying that so later she won't ask me why I didn't tell her that I loved her too and she will make a big deal about having sex with me when I really want it because I didn't say that I love her, so it will all be a big pain in the ass, and since all I really want out of this relationship is the sex, I make sure that I tell her that I love her, too. I'm no dummy. 

I make it to the football field house right at 8:57 am. I'm rushing into the meeting and on the way, I  run by a mirror in the hallway and I see myself and stop. Man, I look rough. My face is all bloated and my eyes are bloodshot and damn if I don't look like I went on a bender last night. Which I did.

I walk into the conference room and find my seat at the table. All the other coaches are already there. I'm right on time, but in the college football world, on time is late. “Nice of you to join us,” says the head coach, Rankin Brooks. “Right on time, Coach,'' I say with a smile. He doesn't smile back. Fuck that motherfucker, I say to myself. 

My fellow graduate assistant coach, Johnny, kicks me under the desk, just to mess with me.I mouth the words, “fuck you” to him and then look real quick at the head coach to see if he noticed. He hadn't. He was looking down at his notebook, pretending to know something about anything.  “Let's go over the practice plan,” he says, and we go over the practice plan, even though we went over the practice plan in the meeting that we had after practice last night. 

“ Just want to see if we need to change anything,” he says.

Everybody is silent, because they all know that this is a huge waste of time and that the head coach is trying to justify his job by having these long meetings so that he can tell the athletic director and the press that he had a two hour staff meeting today and it was so fruitful but whew it was long and that they got a lot of work done in preparation for the tough team that they have to play this week. The team that we are playing isn't very tough at all, but all head coaches have to say that about the upcoming opponent. We are pretty good, and we will kill this team if we play well, which isn't always the case. Sometimes we show up ready to play, sometimes we don't.

Also, the head coach is concerned with a couple of defensive linemen who aren't “earning their money,” which means that the players in question aren't doing enough to help us on the field to keep their scholarships. So once in a while, he will tell one of the coaches “ I want his money.” The players in question are two defensive linemen who are red shirt freshman, both with a lot of talent but just haven't been getting it done enough to break into the starting or even second team lineup. Brooks decided that he wants them both to be tested to see if one of them steps up. “ I want their money, Coach.” 

He tells me this and I know what I am expected to do. He can't just take their money from them, legally. They have to give it up themselves, they have to quit. My job is to run drills designed to make one of them step up or leave. And honestly, I don't mind doing it, especially with these two. They do need to decide if they want to be part of us or to just be a regular student; content to party, study and enjoy the student experience. The drills can be brutal in the North Carolina heat. I run double team drills at both of them, full speed drills with two of my other players attempting to blow them off of the ball. And we go one play after the other with no rest. One of the players, Donny, starts to cry when he gets run over a few times in a row and he lies on the ground. “Get up, you ain't gonna make it if you don't get up,” I yell. And he does, and he's unsteady on his feet. But this time, when he gets down into his stance, he’s angry, He lets out a war whoop of some sort and fires off of the ball at the man across from him, putting both fists under his chin and knocking the player on his ass. The second player tries to block him also, but Donny picks him up and slams him on his back. Not exactly football legal, but I like the enthusiasm. "Now that's what the fuck I am talking about!”, I exclaim.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Good, Solid People

I have a little spot on the Eastern Shore of Maryland that I purchased years ago where my sons and my friends and I go to hunt ducks. I love that piece of land, but with kids and school and youth sports and working and lifting, I haven't been able to get down there much in the last two years. It takes me around 3 hours to get there, and that will take up a big chunk of time going back and forth.

I went down last year around this time and somebody had stolen my kayak and I had a little boat that was chained to a tree and they took that and put it in a pond next to my land.  I was madder than hell that happened to me, I was murderously mad for a while and then, it struck me in a weird way. It was like this sick feeling or maybe ....Here is how I was thinking in my head: "I can't believe that someone would do that to me. Someone actually came onto my land and did that to my stuff." 

You feel like you can't understand how people can be such jerks. I stood around awhile and waited like they were gonna come back or something. But its probably good that they didn't come back. I was pretty messed up about the whole thing and it wouldn't have turned out too well for whomever it was. 

I reckon that everyone has something stolen from them in their lives. And doesn't it make you feel strange? No matter how big or small it was, if it was a million dollars or a kayak, if it was yours and someone stole it, you are plenty angry and hurt about it. 

After that, I wasn't sure if I wanted that land anymore, so I stayed away from it.

But I went down yesterday to check on the land and everything looked fine. On my way out of the woods and to my truck, I saw an older man with a shovel in his hand across the road. It's not really a road. Just some asphalt with gravel and dirt. Anyway, I yelled hello and he yelled hello and then I walked over to him. I stuck out my hand and introduced myself, and he did the same.  

Ernie was his name, and he was trying to dig out a mailbox and move it he said, because nobody seems to be able to find his house where the mailbox was currently sitting. I asked him if he needed some help, and he answered that he did, he had a real bad back and some other stuff that was ailing him and I just couldn't let him dig that hole, and to be honest, I like that kind of work. So I dug the hole and we got to talking about the area. My land's water had been higher than I'd ever seen it before, even in the highest tide. He told me that it was the bad storm that was out at sea that was causing the water to rise. And then he told me he'd been living there since 1976 and his uncle or brother lived in that house there and his son lived in that house next door. He'd been in the Air force for 31 years, and then he retired. He was 71 now and he said that he was thinking about moving where he didn't have so much yard work to do. 

I asked him if he'd been in Vietnam and he said the one time that he flew in there to deliver stuff, they got mortared and had rockets shot at them. He said that he had run into a Vietnam Vet the other day at the grocery store and they stood and talked for a long time. We talked about how all the rich kids got out of Vietnam and all the poor kids had to go. I finally got to the bottom of the hole and squatted down and put the mailbox on my shoulder and lifted it up. It was no big deal, but the thought did go through my head that that was why I trained with weights, to be able to do stuff like that whenever I needed to.  I carried it to where he wanted it to go in the ground and then dug the hole there and we got it all set up. I met his son and we joked around how I had just said hello and they went and put me to work.

 I was getting ready to leave and I asked him if he didn't mind looking after my land some and he promised that he would. Then he gave me a "No Trespassing" sign to put on my property and then went in and got a sledgehammer so I could pound the sign into the ground. I did that and brought it back to his house and he invited me and my son in to meet his family, his wife and daughter in law and his son was in there, too. He had an in ground pool and he invited me and my family to come down any Saturday next summer and join his family swimming. I had known this guy for an hour and now I was invited for summer swim time. 

I had forgotten just how cool country people are once they trust you. I coulda been like,  Ernie, I'll take that shirt off your back and no question, he would have given it to me. He offered us cold drinks and my son and I petted his dogs and I swear, if we stayed around any longer, he would have invited us to stay the night. 

When I left there, damn I had a good feeling. I was glad that my land hadn't been messed with in a while, and I was glad that I met Ernie. A few bad apples were ruining my time at my land, but meeting Ernie made me realize how good folks can really be. The type of folks that really make up what I think of when I picture good, solid people. I think I was starting to believe that they didn't exist anymore. But they are out there, out there in places like in a tiny town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, out there just making it day to day, loving their families and working, always working. Meeting Ernie restored my faith in people. It was a trip well spent.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Country Time

The damn city. I just drove through the city. I drove through Philadelphia, but it could be any city. Actually, Philly has a lot of character, I like that about her. But damn, if it isn't crowded. Every city is crowded. And every suburb is crowded.  People all close to you whenever you turn around. There have been times in my life when I didn't live freaking six feet from somebody and I enjoyed it. And my neighbors are fine. I just don't want neighbors unless they are acres away from me. Be a damn settler with all that acreage. Talk to folks at the bar and feed store : "Oh, I only have 500 acres, just a little ranch." 

And everybody knew that you were a hearty fellow , living way out there, hunting and fishing and killing a hog and cutting a chicken's head off so we can fry that shit up and sitting outside with the Old Lady and getting ready to arm wrestle her for the last piece of chicken and the kids are off wrestling but they hear a big old coyote or maybe a wolf so they came running back to you but one of them gets caught and you have to fight off the wolf to maybe save your kid and then you save him and come back and beat the Old Lady in the best two out of three matches. 

Back to the city. I know, culture, and all that, and I like plays . Stage plays.  No, I really don't. I saw Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Raincoat or something years ago, and the audience was going nuts and I was like, what's with the raincoat? I didn't get it.  There are lots of pigeons in cities and they make great retrieving tools for retrievers.That’s a plus. But they look pretty nasty to me.

 I used to go to downtown DC all of the time on field trips when I was a kid. I mean, people travel all over to see the Smithsonian Institute, but I went there on every field trip for years.  And damn, it got boring. Load up the bus! Smithsonian here we come. And everybody would groan. Yeah, yeah, some dinosaurs. I saw them last week.  

 I used to go down to DC to go to bodybuilding shows when I was in high school. My  parents would drop me off and leave me sometimes. But it was cool. I felt safe. It was crowded though. People everywhere. 

Food! That’s it! Good food in cities. Sushi, pizza, all types of food. But if somebody said that I’d have to give up city food forever and had to exclusively eat and live in the country, I would let myself be banished from the city forever.  

And you have these huge parks out there in the city and you cannot even bow hunt these things . Bunch of trails  for biking and dogs that aren't hunting dogs and all these neon colors people are wearing. And there are tons of deer everywhere spreading lyme disease and nobody can shoot them so they waste away. Roller blades and high fives. Ugh. “Hey Bro! Cooooors light after our jog?” God give me strength. I mean, stop the jogging, eat protein and go the gym, Why why? I used to jog. More like sorta run for like a mile once in a while. I jogged five miles one time and I was hungover and a little too heavy and I made it, just barely. But I was like, why ? It clears your mind. I used it for that sometimes. BUT DAMN. Lift some weights, too. Why does it have to be one or the other? Jogging makes you happy. Weight training changes your life. 

I did have a girlfriend one time who had NEVER been to a city, never been on a plane, never did anything. She was just living in the woods of North Carolina with a roach clip with feathers on it hanging off her rear view mirror of her old Ford Escort and just loving life, singing Steve Miller songs over and over. But one time I had her visit me in Maryland and she flew on a plane and got a real haircut (style?) and it was like she had landed in an alien land. It was fascinating. And a little disturbing in a lot of ways.

Oh, I get away whenever I can, and more and more as I get older. You sorta cut down on the folks that you wanna be around, and getting off by yourself feels better and better.

But I like the country best because of the mornings. Nobody around, sun coming up, urinating wherever I want, shooting at any hour of the day and no neighbors to complain, and fire, you must have lots of fire and whiskey and spitting into the fire and Labrador dogs all wet from the hunt, staying warm by the flame and stream rising off of their coats. Yeah, better than that play with the raincoat that I saw. That man didn't hunt or fish. I could just tell. City boy all the way.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

No, You Are Strange

You do realize that folks who don't train with weights think that your obsession with weight training is a little strange, right?

They think that it's strange when you sit down at night and plan your workout routine for the next day.

Or that you have to get your training in, no matter if its four in the morning or midnight. 

They don't understand why you have to have protein at every meal.

They think that it's weird that you know all about Tom Platz's best squat sessions, including the weights and reps used. And maybe even the years that he did them.

Or why you will never set foot in a gym that won't allow chalk or death metal music or that doesn't have a squat rack in it.

They think its weird that you decided to get diced for the summer so you eat the same three foods for three months. Or why you decided to put on thirty pounds in your pursuit of a better total or to reach your lifetime goal in the squat.

They don't get it that you have boxes and boxes of old muscle magazines and Powerlifting USA magazines and you treasure that collection.

Or why in the hell you would ever admire people like Starr, Pearl, Kaz and Dimas.

They find it odd that you know exactly how many grams of protein are in eight ounces of steak.

They find it off putting that you have certain clothes and music for certain days. For example, Squat day calls for those old Converse and your ripped sweat shorts, and Far Beyond Driven must be played on that day.

They definitely don't understand how anyone in their right mind will watch YouTube videos of lifters training. For hours. Or drive hours just to watch a great lifter/bodybuilder train. Just to watch them? Yup, just to watch them.

They question why anyone would want to be that big and/or strong, or why anyone would pay to enter a power lifting meet when you could just max in the gym for free.

They don't understand why you eschew self help books or meditation or any of the feel good trends that regular citizens swear make them a better person. You always knew that the best remedy for what ails you mentally lies in the barbells and dumbbells that you lift. 

And they don't get why you are so happy walking out of the gym after sweating and straining and why you like that your knees buckle while walking to the car after a leg workout. 

It's odd to them that you will go to the gym even when you feel sick and probably should stay in bed.

It is strange to them that you train when traveling, that the first thing you do when deciding on a place to stay on the road is finding out about the quality of the hotel gym or what gyms are local that are worth a damn. 

And it’s strange to you that folks say that they are too busy to lift weights or 

that they accept their weak selves

Or that they just eat whatever the hell they want and have no idea how much protein or carbs or fats are in what they just ate. 

Or that watching Pumping Iron doesn't fire them up so much that they want to run to the gym and start squatting like Arnold and Ed Corney.

It's like there are these two separate races of people, those that train hard and are obsessed with the whole process and those that think that Alan Alda from the MASH days looks like a real man should look.

But that's ok. I like it that they don't understand. If they all did, it wouldn't be as enjoyable listening to them talk about the latest viral video or the latest song by some spindly armed pretty boy while you nod your head and pretend you are listening and wondering if you should do front or back squats the next day and if you cooked enough beef for the next two meals. 

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.