Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Common Sense

Coaches, you have a great responsibility to do no harm to your athletes. You must study, you must have a plan, you must know what the hell you are doing.

Oh my.  I just had a conversation with a 12 year old (my kid) who told me that it really bothers his arm when he does rotator cuff exercises before he throws. Well, duh. Why would anyone ever  perform exercises that fatigue your shoulder and arm before you throw full speed? Isn't that common sense not to do that? 

Common sense.

So I told my son to not do the exercises, and if the "coach" has a problem to give me a call. He won't. But I would welcome the opportunity to teach him about the proper way to do things. But most folks have so much ego that there is no way that they would listen.

The baseball warmup shit is way out of touch.  Here is an idea: Just throw easy before you throw hard. Too simple, I know. It must be exotic, this whole band/rotator cuff thing. Do them AFTER you throw, and do them perfectly. Baseball always has crazy ideas. I had a "pro" strength coach that actually asked out loud about a major league pitcher, "Why would he ever need to do a squat?" Coaches are always trying to reinvent the wheel. Why?  There are so many myths in all the sports, but baseball takes the cake. Maybe because weight training is relatively new to the sport? Bunch of "functional" training. That's a good one. The hell does that even mean? Light, silly shit? Yep.

I've pulled my kids off of all kind of teams. When the football coach of my son's 10 year old team years ago wouldn't allow the kids to take their helmets off and have water to drink while on turf with the temperature 110 degrees, I took my son off of team. What should have happened is that the coach should have swapped places with the kids and see how he felt on that turf. What a dumbass.

That's almost as stupid as running laps on any team except for a team of marathon runners. 

It isn't enough to just do what every body else does. Study, man. Just because the "top guy" in your region does it, don't make it right. Damn.

This is a problem, not just in this case, but all freaking over. 

Also, the obsession with abdominal work is out of control.

Should you perform ab work before you squat? No. Why? Think about it. What is holding you upright in the squat? Your abs. Should they be tired when a weight is on your back? Nope. 

Squats, deadlifts weights, cleans are all great ab exercises. You wanna do abs? Do some planks if you must. But the kids with the best squat and deadlift will be able to do them all day long. 

It is all so frustrating and silly and it makes me wanna throw up when I see the bullshit out there. The problem is, it never changes. Just be the guy who doesn't follow the trends, who follows a common sense approach,  a safe approach and a learned approach. It's not that hard to do.


Monday, February 19, 2024

Stuff Again

I have to admit that this time of year puts me into a slight depression. More than slight, actually. February and March in South Jersey are months that do nothing for me.  Just cold and gray and ugly for no reason. You see, hunting season is over, specifically goose hunting. The doldrums have arrived.

If you aren't into hunting, you may not understand, but those who venture outdoors with a dog and a gun will get it. Or anybody that hunts anything at all will get it. All you do is wait all year for next hunting season. Fishing is coming but it's not the same as hunting to me. 

And hunting keeps me away from the masses of people who need their asses kicked.  Like the guy who works at Primo's Hoagies who had the shitty attitude. Little prick. I pictured myself ripping his arms off of his body. Or the guy who blew his horn at me when I didn't move fast enough for his liking at the green light. Or the fake ass tough guy at the gym with the fat ass girlfriend who thought he was a badass, eyeballing people who were just there to lift weights. Yeah, you are tough. And nobody cares about your girlfriend, believe me.  Everybody sucks so bad that if I have to go out into the great unwashed, it's all I can do not to lose my shit.  But I have kids and I actually have to consider consequences, which means that I am maturing, I believe. It's funny, women are all mature at 25 and men are mature at 50, 60. I'm all civilized now and people sue everyone for everything so I bury all of that daily stuff way down inside. 

Maybe everyone used to be like those people and I just didn't notice it. Maybe because I'm older now, that I notice it more and have lost my patience for it. Maybe I watch too many Youtube videos of people in college who don't even know what the Declaration of Independence is. I may be biased against the younger generation, but I don't think so.  

I know there are kids out there that work hard. At my gym, there are a couple of young girls who really train hard. I can't really think of any guys who do unless that are in their late 20's. I'm sure that there are some. There is a lot of gathering around the bench talking with the young guys. But at least they are in the gym, right?

Do you remember in the old days when everyone said that if you worked construction that it would get you ready for football? People would be like,"Man, you need a construction job over the summer." or "Bobby is working construction, man, he's gonna be ready." There may be some merit to it. I was a gopher for a window company one summer and I ran and lifted my ass off on the job all day. It was relatively light lifting. But something about it helps get you in shape. After they asked me to caulk some windows one day and I did a shitty job, I became the designated gopher or go-for.  The boss looked at my work and in his Louisiana Cajun accent said, "Oh no, bro. That's not good for the home team." I'm not sure what that meant but it was not good. But the benefits were good. Heat acclimation, GPP. Toughness. You work one of those jobs and then you stop off on the way home for a hoagie and a pre-workout. You get to the gym and you are tired but the strong stuff kicks in and you have a great training session. Two beers on the couch at home and then you collapse in bed and then get up and do it all over again the next day. And you get some sprints in there, too. Recipe for success.

If you love combat sports, check out ONE Championships on Amazon Prime. There is some on YouTube also. The May Thai is brutal and the MMA is killer also. These guys get after it. Blood and guts. Bunch of warriors. I love UFC but these fighters seem different. Maybe they aren't as good as the UFC guys, but it sure seems like they are to me.

Speaking of UFC, I hate it when fighters won't retire when they need to. Tears me up inside. But then I look at it this way: It's what they love more than anything else in the world. Who am I to tell them to retire? What else do they have? Nothing like walking into an arena with 20,000 fans cheering for you and then you knock somebody out! You think that is a high unlike no other? And then they retire and they may have money but the baby is crying and the wife isn't used to you being around and you just want to fight, man. Look at Fury. Love him. He's done. But when he doesn't have a fight to train for, he's all depressed and shit. I don't blame him. I only had one official Muay Thai fight but the feeling of winning that fight was crazy. Much different than football or powerlifting. You have sweat coming out of you before the fight that is a different kind of sweat. It's an adrenaline sweat, a fight or flight sweat. You can't believe how hard your heart is beating. That high was amazing. All of your senses are alive. And that's just doing it once. Imagine doing it 50 times! Better than any drug, I bet.

In the 70's and 80's, guys would play too long in pro football. Now, not so much. Players are more aware of the health risks today and they are much richer now. Guys would play 14 years because they needed the money and for the love of it. OJ Simpson could barely run and he was playing. Joe Namath, too. He could barely walk, let alone run. Ken Stabler, Earl Campbell. They were all tore up. Rules were different, guys got the shit kicked out of them on that cement turf. Just like cement And if it was cold, it was even harder feeling. Those owners from back then should be ashamed. 

I am sitting in my truck watching my two sons hit baseballs. I can't stand them but they do love sports and lifting weights. I'm so glad they aren't playing damn video games. We don't have any in our house. I threw the console off the steps and chopped it in half with a shovel. That was before I matured. But I really can't stand kids sitting around doing nothing. Or video games. 



Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Stuff

 I was laughing my ass off when I saw the picture of Kelce kissing whats-her-name on the field. Funny story: The last I heard of  the Taylor girl was when she sang the song about Tim Mcgraw. Y'all never even heard of that song, I bet. Then I wondered, whatever the hell happened to that girl? Then someone told me that she was the biggest thing around, and I thought, bigger than Pantera? Aaron Lewis? Is she a good singer? Does she know football? She gets a lot of air time at the game. Really bright lipstick.  I saw her friend doing some devil signs or something. I bet she thinks that’s really cool. Straight to hell.

I pictured in my head Ken Stabler kissing his wife on the field or making a heart sign with his hands to his girlfriend in the stands. A heart sign. A grown ass man. Making a heart sign to his girlfriend in the stands. Or Gino Marchetti, fresh home from the Battle of the Bulge. Whatever. It's okay, I guess, because everyone's idea of masculinity has changed over the years. It’s okay to put stuff in your hair and to dance all around when you….ah forget it. I am starting to sound like a broken record. Same old shit. I haven't watched the end of the Super Bowl game in years. You know, the dancing by grown men and all. But I have written about all of that before. It’s as tiresome as the news. Ugh. I'm gonna separate myself from that shit for a while. Stone cold idiots leading us into the demise of our once wonderful country. It is all on purpose. It has to be.

With all this shit going on everywhere and all this deluge of total useless crap thrust upon all of us, it makes me want to check out. Get so far out in the woods, man. Guns and dogs and family. Unless the ATF comes and shoots your family and your dog, you are probably going to be happy. Way out there. No cell phone, no Youtube, no internet. Oh, that would be fun to do. It was that way back when I was a kid, of course. We didn’t have shit, and we didn’t know that we didn’t. Three channels on the TV and one that was fuzzy out of Baltimore. If you got a message on an answering machine when you got home from being out, you’d be all fired up. Going out to a fast food place was a special occasion. Ah, that’s played out, too, talking about it.

 Almost everyone and pretty much everything gets on my nerves.  What doesn’t?  My Labrador, Rebel, doesn't get on my nerves. Even when I just let him outside and then he wants to come back inside 2 minutes later (literally).  Even when he decides to lick himself all over in the middle of the night and wakes me up. He’s innocent. Well meaning. If he knew that it irritated me, he wouldn’t do it.  I know, he’s a dog. I mean, I really consider him my best friend and not a dog, but I don’t want to seem crazy by giving him a bunch of human qualities and telling you a bunch of stories when he acts like a human.


People are strange, man. Have you ever been around people and thought, no matter how long we hang out together, I will never understand what the hell you are talking about? Or people start talking and immediately you know that they have never deadlift, squatted or had any type of actual contact (football, boxing, lacrosse, MMA, Thai boxing, etc.) in their lives? Or somebody whose ego is so big that you can't believe that they aren’t self aware enough to realize that they have been talking about themselves for 15 minutes straight? 


I am looking forward to the new Roadhouse movie, though. Conor in a movie? Hell yes. I like Patrick Swayze and all, but c’mon man. He wasn't kicking anyone's ass, sorry to say it. Hair all perfect. 137 pounds soaking wet. Living in the barn was so cool, though. I bet they put some woke shit in the movie. Maybe I will just fast forward to every scene that Conor is in. They should make a remake of the Stone Cold movie that Brian Bosworth was in.  The Boz was great in it. That was a badass movie. Steve Austin can be the star of the remake, the real Stone Cold. Love that guy.


Friday, February 2, 2024

Hemingway

 That something I cannot yet define completely but the feeling comes when you write well and truly of something and know impersonally you have written in that way and those who are paid to read it and report on it do not like the subject so they say it is all a fake, yet you know its value absolutely; or when you do something which people do not consider a serious occupation and yet you know, truly, that it is as important and has always been as important as all the things that are in fashion, and when, on the sea, you are alone with it and know that this Gulf Stream you are living with, knowing, learning about, and loving, has moved, as it moves, since before man and that it has gone by the shoreline of that long, beautiful, unhappy island since before Columbus sighted it and that the things you find out about it, and those that have always lived in it are permanent and of value because that stream will flow, as it has flowed, after the Indians, after the Spaniards, after the British, after the Americans and after all the Cubans and all the systems of governments, the richness, the poverty, the martyrdom, the sacrifice and the venality and the cruelty are all gone as the high-piled scow of garbage, bright-colored, white-flecked, ill-smelling, now tilted on its side, spills off its load into the blue water, turning it a pale green to a depth of four or five fathoms as the load spreads across the surface, the sinkable part going down and the flotsam of palm fronds, corks, bottles, and used electric light globes, seasoned with an occasional condom or a deep floating corset, the torn leaves of a student’s exercise book, a well-inflated dog, the occasional rat, the no-longer-distinguished cat; well shepherded by the boats of the garbage pickers who pluck their prizes with long poles, as interested, as intelligent, and as accurate as historians; they have the viewpoint; the stream, with no visible flow, takes five loads of this a day when things are going well in La Habana and in ten miles along the coast it is as clear and blue and unimpressed as it was ever before the tug hauled out the scow; and the palm fronds of our victories, the worn light bulbs of our discoveries and the empty condoms of our great loves float with no significance against one single, lasting thing—the stream.


Hendrickson, Paul. Hemingway's Boat (pp. 244-245). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Barbarian Brothers Seminar, 1982

I have always been a fan of bodybuilding. I waited in line for the Conan movie when it came out at Beltway Plaza Mall, I thought Arnold was cool, Franco was strong, Mentzer was the man. But it wasn't like they were football players or anything. I had something like levels to people that I admired when I was a kid. First level was pro athletes. Number one was Randy White, then Mike Webster, John Hannah, Russ Grimm, Drew Pearson, Staubach, those types of guys, freaking warriors , man. Then the next level would be basketball players like Dr. J. I didn't know shit about baseball. I guess it was okay. And then when you were a teenager back then in the 80's and it was an offseason in football and you weren't tall or good enough to play basketball, you lifted weights. You did it after school, and in your buddy's basement, or in my case, in physical training class, like I had in high school. I had two physical training classes , in fact.  Those were weight training classes, run by our resident head football coach who was a cruel, useless fuck who we all despised, except for a few kiss asses. Fuck that motherfucker. I couldn't stand the dude. Lazy, would just sit there with his big ass belly sticking out, reading the fucking paper. Disgrace. No instruction.  He'd tell us how fast he was still. I was like now? Compared to what? Fat ass. Worst football coach ever. We had enough talent to win the State every year. Oh, he hated me . You see, when folks who don't know shit know that you know that they don't know shit, it makes them hate you. I didn't admire the man, and I knew he was an idiot. After my senior year in football, he sat me out in the hallway, everyday. Every day that we had class, I got my chair and sat in the hallway. My friends would come visit me and be like, Steel! It was fun and I still got an A. He was too much of a coward to mark me down in grade.

Anyway, that was a big tangent I just went off into. Back to weight training. So back then, there was no you tube or internet. No cell phones, nothing. 3 channels and a fuzzy one on TV. I got really interested in weight training because of Randy White being big into weight training, and then I lost a bench press contest with a skinny buddy of mine who had a big chest and arms and I was pissed. I started talking to him and he told me about bodybuilding. The next day, he brought me a few muscle magazines. Muscle Mag International and Muscle UP! and Muscleman's annual with Arnold winning the '80 Olympia, that's how long ago it was! I bought Arnold's book and read it cover to cover over and over, The Education of Bodybuilder one. My dad thought it was weird, looking at men in speedos. I wasn't looking a them even, I was looking at Mentzer's forearms. Then I started studying this magazines and I got really into it (I get into things) and I always wondered, why doesn't someone want to look like Mike Mentzer? Of course, I wanted to look like that, no question. So funny to me that men wouldn't want to look huge.  I felt right away that I wanted to get as big and as strong as possible as soon as I started looking at those pictures. Fucking veins and shit? Striations and that big ass biceps vein going down the arm? Terrific. 

Mentzer was the most real looking dude to me for some reason, but all of them, to a certain degree, just seem to be missing something. 

Then the Barbarian Brothers came onto the scene. I first heard of them in 1982, I believe. Two huge twins who lifted crazy weights, trained in flannel shirts and jeans and were huge but never competed in a show, never donned a Speedo. They just slapped each other in the face and curled 315 for reps. AAAAARGGHH. I went into my closet and got out my flannels and started wearing them to train. I read everything that I could get my hands on about those guys. They were different, man. Not like football player cool, but just different, like we are strong and big as hell and we train hard and throw weights around, and don't care how we look when we are doing it. No tank tops and little shorts and barefoot training. Try combat boots and jeans and flannels. They were the antibodybuilder bodybuilders. They drank Coke and ate nachos and drank kefir and lifted for hours and hours each day and didn't believe in overtraining, just under eating and undersleeping! Every magazine that featured the twins, I studied. None of my friends were into bodybuilding, it was just me. They probably thought I was a little nuts, but I didn't care.

So when I heard that the Barbarian Brother's were coming to town to film the movie, DC Cab and were going to give a seminar at the Convention Center in DC, I knew I was gonna go, come hell or high water. I was in the 10th grade at the time. I was 16, no driver's license. The local Gold's Gym was selling tickets to the seminar. I bummed a ride from my sister and went in to get tickets. The guy behind the desk said,  "One of the Barbarians are lifting right now." I looked into the gym and there was one of the Brothers! He was doing rack deadlifts with 7 plates and looked very serious. I could have stayed and watched, but my sister was outside waiting for me. Later on I found out that the Brothers destroyed the Smith Machine at the gym with more weight than the machine could handle.

When the day came for the seminar, I got a ride from my dad into DC.  Back then, it wasn't the murdering out of control mess that it is now, it was actually pretty nice. So he dropped me off and I went into the room where they were holding the seminar. There were chairs set up around a roped off area that had weights, benches, a behind the neck stand and heavy dumbbells. There were around 20 or 30 people in there. Not a big crowd but we were enthusiastic. Then the twins came in! Big as hell, tank tops on and sweat pants. I had never seen any people with that much muscle before.  It was unreal to me, like they had big balloons all over their bodies. Otherworldly to me. It was crazy how much muscle they had. Since then, I have been around some big dudes (Kevin Levrone, Coleman, Nick Walker), but back then, it was a whoa! moment. So they come in and one of them yells, FUCK! and everyone starts laughing. Then they sat down and answered questions. They were drinking milk and taking those huge amino acid tablets that everyone back then would choke down.


They answered questions. One of them was about steroids and the twins agreed that steroids were the "greatest things ever", which was refreshingly honest. They said that they didn't know anyone on growth hormone. Back then it was still taken from dead people, I believe. And then they went over how it was training  in California at the famous Gold's Gym, how they trained whatever they wanted on a particular day, that they really didn't have a set program, they just trained multiple times a day and ate a bunch and when they did trained, they trained crazy heavy. The whole time, there was this guy who knelt down next to the ropes separating the twins from the crowd. He kept trying to get their attention. He was very feminine, I do remember that fact. He kept trying to get their attention, and they ignored him until finally it got to be too irritating and one of them yelled out "WHAT? WHAT DO YOU WANT?" and the guy said he just wanted to shake their hands. So they shook his hand and then he went back into the crowd. Very strange. 

Then they began to warmup to lift. David reverse gripped bench pressed 495 pounds for 4 reps. His ass was way off of the bench but it was still cool to see. Peter did 315 pounds on the behind the neck press and then did 225 pounds for 20 reps. That was impressive. David bent rowed 495 for reps , cheating like crazy. Then Peter curled the 120's for some cheating reps also. It was all very cool. Then we all went out into another room where they were selling pictures. They didn't want to sign the free posters, just the ones that they were selling. I bought a pic and they singed it, "To Jim buddy, the Barbrians" Yes, he spelled Barbarian wrong. I didn't care, but it was amusing.

I was inspired and was now a bigger fan than ever. I still read everything I could get my hands on about them, and when DC Cab came out, I went to see it on opening day.  It was a cool time back then. Nothing to worry about, just playing football and lifting weights and trying to get good grades. The Barbarians were fun to look up to, especially to a burgeoning young lifter. One of them died recently, and the other one lost it mentally a bit, but back then they were aces with me.

Monday, January 15, 2024

A Bar the Other Day

I was driving way out in the country in Maryland yesterday. I grew up in Maryland, and now live in South Jersey. I'd rather be in Maryland. The Eastern Shore, that is. Lots of other parts of Maryland suck pretty bad. 

Anyway, one of my online clients, Bryan, leased some hunting land on the Eastern Shore, and he was telling me about a bar that I would just love. 

I just happened to be driving real close to that area and there sitting way out in the country, surrounded by woods and cut cornfields was this bar. It was like... it was basically a tin roofed saloon. Bunch of pick up trucks outside.

I have been in some rough bars in my time. Like this one in South Carolina where there was sawdust on the floor, 1.50 Buds all the time, and frequent stabbings. Easy to sweep the blood up when it lands on the sawdust. I was in a bar in Maryland one time and I was hanging out with this girl and she was like, oh call me tomorrow and then when I did, she had no idea who I was. Turned out she was on some PCP at the time.  No, she really was. PCP was big where I used to hang out. Folks called it Killer Weed or KW and there would be a girl with a bad complexion but a killer body and everyone said, she does killer weed man, thats why her face is all fucked up, KW, man." People were jumping off of buildings on that shit, man. Thought they could fly. 

I have always been attracted to dive bars. The shittier the better. Like, you go to the bar at Applebee's and it doesn't feel right. But this one bar in Charleston , SC that I was a member of (I had to go to private clubs because I could get fired by the university where I was coaching if I was in a public place drinkng) was cool, just a bunch of Hell's Angel's and cool dudes. That was a good bar. There is one near my house with  as sign that reads, "No Colors" on the outside. Which means that motorcycle clubs frequent the place, which means that it will be a good bar. The darker the bar, the better. Dark and cool. Jukebox is a must. Old fucking country, like George Jones, Conway Twitty, Jerry Reed!

So I park my Tundra. Japanese truck. Made in San Antonio and has more parts made in America than Ford and Chevy. I think. Anyway, it's black and has a Hank Williams Junior sticker on the back, so fuck it, I am good.

So I go in and this place is small. Like a big living room. One seat at the bar. I ask the guy sitting there is it was taken. I say, anybody sitting here? And there is like a delay, like a 10 second delay and he tells me he has no idea. Well,you have been sitting here, motherfucker, has anyone sat down here since you came in? But I don't say that, I just sit down. He's talking to some heavy girl in camo which automatically makes her sexy.  The bartender sees me after like 5 minutes and notices me and says HEY! how are you doing, like he has seen me before. He hasn't. I order a Big Truck draft, made in Maryland. It's damn good. I look at the bar and and the bar itself has spent bullet casings encased in it. And then the bartender turns around, and his shirt reads, "God, Guns and Beer", and I am like hell yes, because I am a gun rights guy like crazy. And then I look to my left and on the wall is a big SECOND AMENDMENT banner and a life size cut out of my man, Trump! On the jukebox was Patsy Cline and George Jones. Real. Hank Jr., too. None of that sort of country music like Creedence or something. You know the difference and country is also not some guy rapping it. It's steel guitar or nothing. Everyone in there was hugging each other because they were all locals and I was this random guy out of nowhere with a big beard, sorta big and in camo but who nobody had ever seen before. It was a little uncomfortable but not too bad. 

Never got offered a menu. Strange. No tv where I was as sitting, just a tv for playing Keno. I stared at it. Usually, the bartender strikes up a convo with a stranger. Maybe they thought I was a cop! Maybe they did. Anyway, most of the people these days in country bars look like that Luke Combs guy. Heavy with the thin beard thing on the sides and big flannel. Baseball cap. That look... 

So I looked around some and acted like I was interested in Keno, but I was really listening to conversations. Nothing special, lots of HEY how are you doing?  I love you, I'll call you.

 Makes me wish I lived near my family and relatives. I don't really have many anymore. And my family was different, all about athletics, and my relatives were like regular people.  But, it was always cool to live in a small town like I have on occasion, and everyone gives a shit about you. Or they act like it at least.  

Maybe they saw my license, which is New Jersey. People hate people who live in New Jersey. I wanted to stand up on the bar with the bullets encased in it and yelled, I AM FROM MARYLAND, NOT NEW JERSEY!!  Which I am, from Maryland. But I didn't do that, I just finished my beer, complimented the bartender on the Trump cutout. He said feel free to take a picture with it. And then I said I would like the bill. It was 15.00 which was 5 dollars a draft which really isn't that bad at a bar. So I took out my credit card and he was like cash only and then I said, OH shit! and he pointed to the ATM. Three dollar surcharge. OK, no problem. I can't find my debit card. It isn't in the compartments. I freak out. I try to get cash on my credit card. It just starts beeping. Then I look to see if I had any cash at all because I usually don't and then I see my debit card where the cash is supposed to be. Relief. Then I hand the bartender 20.00 and tell him that I don't want the change and he reaches over the bullet encased bar and shakes my hand and and says, Thank you Jim. 

It was a great bar, the philosophy of the bar made it a great bar. Then I went and had cream of crab soup at a restaurant on the roadside next to a hunting store. It was a good evening.




Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Saban

I was just listening to some sports radio in my truck. I dropped my phone in the water twice last week when hunting, so it is shot. Has green lines going down the screen and turns off every 5 minutes. So, instead of listening to podcasts or audiobooks like I usually do when driving, I listened to sports talk. Not much has changed since I last listened years ago. Bunch of guys who never played a down in their lives, critiquing athletes and coaches. These guys have some balls. Never played, never coached. Ever. Those sports talk guys are the kids who got out of the way when the athletes came down the hallway in school. Now, they talk shit about them to get them back.

The best is when they critique Nick Saban, the greatest college coach that has ever lived. They were going over the fact that he hasn't won a championship in a few years. In 17 seasons at Alabama, he has won 6 national championships.  And  before that, he won one at LSU. That’s right, 6 at Alabama. Bear Bryant won 6 in 25 years at Alabama. Saban’s team just lost in overtime in the semifinals of the playoffs or he would be back in another national championship. 

I am not sure if the sports talk gurus and the regular citizenry realize just how hard it is to be as successful as Saban. He's in the SEC, the toughest conference around, and everyone that plays them treats it like a championship game. Everyone in the league is recruiting their asses off, giving out NIL like candy, and he still wins like crazy. It is so damn hard to win a game in college football, let alone the SEC, that what he does year after year is even more amazing considering the opposition. 

I can remember a revolving door of coaches at Alabama after Bear, but only Saban has been successful. 

It’s so damn hard, man, coaching college football. Not hard like digging a ditch hard. Maybe the best thing to describe it as is long and trying. Everyone is working their tails off, at every school. Everyone wants to be like Alabama.The highest level I coached football was 1AA level and mostly in NAIA, and we worked like nuts all the time, 80 hours a week every week. And we were not under pressure to win like those guys. Hell, I was making 17, 500 dollars and delivering pizzas and I was the defensive line coach and strength coach. These guys today are making millions, even assistant coaches, so the pressure is off the charts. 

See, Saban wins year after year and wherever he goes. His players both present and past, rarely speak ill of him, which means that they trust him and know he has their best interests at heart. I heard that he was damn tough to work for, but that he pays great because he knows he is demanding. And you coach under him and learn everything and then leave and then you can get a head coaching job afterwards. 

These guys were asking if the game had passed him by! Crazy talk from nobodies. Like I said before, Saban is the best college coach that has ever lived. He is the king.


Thursday, December 21, 2023

Rebel's Rough Life

Went goose hunting the last two mornings solo. Well, I had Rebel, my black Labrador with me, of course. We sat out at my buddy Steve's farm.  I get there and set out the decoys, and while I am doing that, I break the ice in the mudholes that were made by a tractor so Rebel can get a drink. Then he runs back into the goose blind because he knows that if he sits in the blind, sooner or later he will get to retrieve a goose. This sucker is all business when we hunt. He's very serious. And even if we get skunked like we did the last two days, he doesn't want to leave. He just sits in his spot in the blind scanning the sky for a goose. 

All hunting dogs are special. Hell, all dogs are special, but to me (super biased), there is something about the companionship of a man and their dog afield together. It's crazy when you get a little puppy and he doesn't know anything about retrieving and then you train him and really just try not to screw him up , and then one day you shoot a goose and he runs out there and brings it back to you and gives it to you. I have had 4 labs and all of those moments are magical, every single one of them. He's such a good boy. Super affectionate and well behaved at home and a Beserker when hunting. My friend Steve "designed" this litter with some perfect breeding. Two of his siblings that I know of are very good hunting dogs. 

So we sat there for hours waiting and waiting for geese. Some days you shoot your limit in an hour and the geese never stop flying. Rebel and I didn't have that luck this time. I stay because maybe, just maybe a goose will fly by and say, "Well, lookie there, I see some of my friends and I believe I will go for a visit." And it flies in and I shoot it and Rebel retrieves it. After about an hour, I say to Rebel that they will fly soon. And after another hour, I say to Rebel, "Fuck these geese, I hate these damn things." But we still stay, hope springs eternal. And then when I finally figure out that they are not gonna fly today, at least not where I am, and I go out to pick up the decoys, Rebel stays in his spot in the blind, still hopeful. 

Now that I think about it, I talk to Rebel the whole time that I am hunting. He doesn't answer, but I swear he understands what I am saying. Hell, dogs read us like a book anyway. They get tuned into every gesture or tone of voice and they get it. And he knows that after every hunt, we stop at High's Dairy store for dog bones. As soon as I pull in, he perks up. When he gets done eating, he takes a nap. He has a hell of a rough life. Sometimes I tell him how lucky he is that I am his dad and not some non hunting loser. I can't imagine him not hunting, or being with me while I am hunting. I'm gonna go outside with him now and retrieve. He demands it several times a day. He has me well trained.



Monday, December 11, 2023

Elvis Gets a Pass and Other Stuff

Football referees suck real bad. I mean, bad. High school refs are the worst. They suck big time but they get 50 dollars a game. If I was making 50 dollars a game and a coach started yelling at me, I'd be like, I'm gone, I'll be at the bar, bitch. But they are bad, like so bad that I want to knock them out but don't want to go to jail bad.

I'm going to go back to only watching pro football when the KC Chiefs are playing because Justin Watson is playing for them and I coached him at Penn. I gave it a shot, I really did. I took a couple of years off when they knelt for the flag and then my kid started playing it and I began watching again, but now, I have to stop again. It's the way that the players act. I grew up with Clint Eastwood and Randy White, you understand. Roger Staubach. Silent. Deadly. Remember when Mike Tyson in like '86 would just sit there at press conferences and not say a word? Like a barking dog never bites kind of thing. That was so cool. I have always been against any kind of celebration. Act like you have been there before. Fucking grown ass men, I mean,  the grownnest of men, actually dancing on a football field. Ok, they used to dance like assholes just after touchdowns. Now, if they make a tackle, a mediocre tackle, they run into the end zone and dance all around. A tackle. And people cheer shit like that? It's all poor sportsmanship.You just don't think so because you are used to it, but it's all rubbing your achievements in your opponents face. Or, you just want the glory for yourself in a team sport. Neither wears very well on you. 

I can't believe grown men dance, anyway. Where I grew up in Maryland, nobody danced, fast danced that is. You could slow dance. You are really just shuffling around and trying to grab things. It's your chance on a slow dance. I used to think that Fred Astaire was a little skinny bitch and then I was like Frank Sinatra danced , and I struggled with that, and then Elvis danced. Elvis was really just snapping his fingers and maybe like a line dance thing in a movie with Anne FREAKING Margaret. I had a big crush on her. SO she probably said to Elvis, hey dance with me in this scene and I will make it worth your while in the trailer later on. So the KING was like, I'll agree to that. It's a no brainer. Anne Margaret.  Look her up and not when she was old. Like early 20's. But nobody else with the dancing gets a pass, just Elvis.  And for the love of Elvis, never on a football field.  

Watch an old film of Johnny Unitas. Dude, he was so cool that he was ice. Couldn't tell win or lose, touchdown or interception. Of course, he delivered coal as a kid in the Pittsburgh winter so he had some perspective on life. And those were the after war years. I mean, men were just different. You know that they were. I mean, men were freaking men. Fighting, smoking, drinking at lunch and shit. Get home when you get home and still rule the roost. Now, men wear a baby thing on their chest and carry a baby around. If you do that, it is one huge strike on your man card. If you are one of those guys, just stop now.

Back to Football.

Guys escape from a block or get even close to a tackle and they act like they saved the world. Ok, so let's think of who can't dance on the field. Offensive linemen. A good block and like 3 of them dance or better yet, the center pancakes the nose guard and he and all his teammates run into the end zone and mug for the crowd and cameras. 

 Wait, if there wasn't a camera or the crowd, would they still act like that? No? Why not? You are celebrating the achievement , right? Not just to draw attention to yourself, right? Not that, never that. Sucks

I'm struggling with the Elvis thing, but not too much. My dad didn't like Elvis, I mean the whole rock and roll thing and I think he one time called him a "Goop with that slicked back hair" Which is funny as hell, but Elvis was pretty cool. He'd fight and women would freaking throw their panties at him.  You read that right, there is Elvis!!, now take off your panties and throw them at him. Or I guess they brought some panties with them. Yeah, that would make more sense than taking their actual underwear off at the show. Duh. I'm losing it. 

I saw him live, I sure did. Elvis.  One of his last shows. He was fat, oh man, it was awful. But these women were going freaking nuts for him, like really screaming in a rage of love for him. They yelled at the back up singers to sit down because people in the back couldn't see Elvis. They were like "SIT THE FUCK DOWN" and I think even Elvis said something, but I was 10, so I can't really remember. But I did see him, I sure did. He was cool, he sure was.

I like this column, so I am going to find my family and dance in front of them to celebrate. Then, I am going to jump off the back deck. Because if you dance, you should think about ending it all. Except if you are Elvis, that is.

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.