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.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Leanness and Krispy Kreme's

Wouldn't it be nice to just eat what you wanted every day and still get and stay lean?  Breakfast of Krispy Kreme's and biscuits and gravy? Don't mind if I do. Ice cream and Krispy Kreme's for lunch? Delicious.Finish the day off with a cheesesteak and Krispy Kreme's? Sounds grand.

But you can't do that stuff. You'd get all fat and you couldn't move like you wanted to move and you would hate yourself. 

So what to eat to get lean? Bunch of boring stuff. You can say that you like fat sooo much, but it ain't better than ice cream. Don't you dare say that. I just ate a large soft serve twist cone with rainbow jimmies all over it, and it beats any piece of salmon that I ever had. You take that, I take the ice cream. And cake! forgot about that yellow sheet cake with vanilla icing and a cold glass of milk...

Anyway, what to do to stay lean? Be hungry. See, that is the dirty secret in the dieting world. Eat all you want of this! Eat fat free Snackwells until the cows come home! Bullshit. You gotta feel your freakin' ribs touching to really get lean. I'm not talking about you freaks who are all vascular and lift their shirts up and have abs all the time. That is few and far between and most of the time, they are just too damn skinny. (Used to tear me up in college when the pretty girls liked those skinny guys. "BUT HE'S RIPPED!" Yeah, but he is 147 pounds. Give me strength. I remember the day that this girl Penny told me that about this splindly dude. Yeah, so I was bearded and 265 and wore 3xl v neck white t shirts and was brutally honest, but hey, I was decently strong. There was a bunch of girls at my college that called me "Bulldog from Hell," I shit you not. Yeah, I wasn't too good socially). Yes, you gotta stay hungry to get lean, no matter what anyone tells you.

You have to sacrifice and do what others won't or can't do.

If the choice is to eat bad or don't eat, then don't eat. You go out with your boys and everyone is slamming beers and nachos grande? Have your steak and water and think about how this really blows but it will all be worth it. And what losers your friends are right now. Not that they are losers, but talk yourself up and talk them down. Works to fire you up. I swear, during one dieting episode, I drove by Burger King and went on a tirade about what losers are in the restaurant and how they are all fat and they don't lift and they never played football. I can't remember who was in the car, but they got an earful.

So, the secret to getting lean is to lift weights, eat just enough to survive and to know this- when you feel like total crap, you are on your way to getting lean.


Friday, April 9, 2021

Knives and All

I have always loved knives. I used to take my dad's little pocket knife out of his dresser and take it to school. I just liked carrying it. Invariably, I would get caught by my parents because I left it in my jeans and it would make quite a racket bouncing around in the clothes dryer. But nobody freaked out and if a teacher would have caught me, they wouldn't have freaked out, either. But this was in the 1970's, so things were different. 

There was a hardware store within walking distance of my house, Hillandale Hardware. In the back of the place, they had a coke machine that spit out those miniature bottle cokes when you put a quarter in the machine. They were ice cold and damn good. And they also had a display case of knives in the back. It was filled with Buck Knives. I would get a coke and just stare at those wonderful knives and wish I had the money to have a Buck Knife. 

You see, everyone that I thought was cool back then carried a Buck Knife on their belt. The proper dress was jeans, Lynyrd Skynyrd or Judas Priest shirt taken off and tucked into jeans, and a Buck Knife in a sheath on their belt. Oh yeah, and a chain wallet. Gotta have a chain wallet. I never had any money and then when I did have enough for a chain wallet, I didn't buy it because I thought my father would make fun of me. 

I now collect knives. My first knife was a Gerber and I still have it and it's cool and all. But I also have a mess of Buck Knives that I just love. Yes, they are well made and have a lifetime warranty. But I love them because of the display case in Hillandare Hardware. Just wanting them so bad made me go overboard when I could finally afford one. 

I got a Buck Skinner today with "Will Over Hope" engraved on it. I think that it just may be my favorite knife of them all. 

You know what I'm gonna do? I'm gonna put my new knife on my belt and also put my chain wallet in my pocket and act like I am one of the 
cool kids that I looked up to back in Maryland in the 70's. I'm gonna act like I have long hair like everyone did back then and then I'm going on the back deck and yell, "SKYNYRD!" at the top of my lungs,
just like all the cool kids did back then


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Squat and Hunt Newsletter

I have a newsletter that I'm almost done putting together, called Squat and Hunt. 

It will be about a bunch of stuff: Lifting, hunting, guns, knives, fishing, fighting, food, building fires, chopping wood, training dogs  (just dogs in general) and gun rights, whiskey and alcohol reviews, music, and anything else that smacks of being a man or woman who loves all things tough and rough. 

Each newsletter will have four or five articles in it. I don't want it to be online, because then everyone steals it (like they did with my books) and I still like actually reading something that I can hold in my hands. I still enjoy waiting for the mail to come to see if something special that I ordered came that day. 

It will be in black and white ( I think) and it will be as old school as it gets, because really, that's all I know and enjoy. 

I don't know a damn thing about how to put this together, so I'm gonna do my best. I will print the articles out, staple them together and send them out. 

I already have articles by Zach Even-esh, Marty Gallagher, my whiskey aficionado Steve Basht, Chuck Miller and myself. 

I am pretty excited about this project. 

I'm thinking that for 10 bucks an issue, I can get this thing going. That should cover the printing and mailing. I'm thinking I can put it out four times a year. 

If you are interested, send 10.00 to PayPal to Basdad7454@yahoo.com. I should have it done in the next week or so and will send it out right away.  Oh, and make sure to send your address! 

It won't be fancy, but it will kick ass. 

Monday, March 15, 2021

Then and Now

I love looking at new trucks, watching videos about them, imagining that I own a new 4x4 with a big lift and big old jacked up tires. I do have a Tundra 4x4, but any true truck lover just likes to dream about getting a new one.

So I am looking at all the trucks and the high end 4x4's are pretty expensive. Some are 90,000 dollars. That is a bunch of money. 

My parents bought their house in the 1950's for 15,000 dollars. A house. Not a truck, a house.

I started thinking about how expensive stuff is these days.

Little league baseball bats? Up to 1,000 dollars. We had two bats when I played, a heavy one and a light one. Everyone used them. 

Basketball shoes? You can pay up to 300 dollars a pair.

Years and years ago, I came home from elementary school , and I asked my father if he would buy me some Converse Chuck Taylor's. They were the big deal in Adelphi, Maryland in the 1970's. He agreed, and we went out shopping. I could not wait to have some new Chuck's! 

So we loaded into our tan station wagon and went shoe shopping. We found the shoes, but they were all around 12.99. I remember that price to this day.

This was the time when we had a gas shortage. It was so bad that there were huge lines at the pumps and my dad had to put a lock on his gas tank because people were siphoning gas out of cars at night.

So we are going from place to place, looking to beat that 12.99 price, because after the first store, my dad announced, "I will never pay 12.99 for a pair of sneakers!"

I had been wearing what my older sister's friends called "may-pops" shoes that were off brand, bought at Zayre's department store, sort of like an even lower class Walmart. 

I remember sitting in the back seat of the station wagon, driving down University Boulevard in College Park, Maryland. It had those seats where you could sit in the way back and you would be facing the rear of the car. We had gone to five different places trying to beat that 12.99 price. 

I remember  sitting there, looking out the back window as it was starting to get dark and thinking, we just spent 12.99 in gas driving around. But of course, I never said that to my father, just kept it to myself. I didn't get the shoes that day. But a little while later, Foot Locker opened up an outlet store, featuring shoes that had a little something wrong with them. "Irregulars" is what they were called. Maybe the logo was a little bit wrong, or they had a mark on them, or the soles were a little off. My father was in his glory. Now he could get me name brand shoes for a good price. I actually got "Dr. J's" basketball shoes from there. And nobody knew they were a little off, unless they would have looked inside the tongue and seen IRREGULAR stamped there. 

I'm glad my father was like that, he knew that those prices were ridiculous even for back then. Now? Everything is ridiculous, but people keep buying, keeping up with everyone else who think that they must have this or that to be cool. So stupid. 

For the price of 15 baseball bats today, I coulda bought a house in the 1950's. Think about that next time you are doling out money for what you think you must have. 

And remember my father, astonished at a 12.99 price tag for a pair of canvas basketball shoes.


Thursday, March 4, 2021

Story Time

With the world, especially this country, going batshit crazy, I try to think about when life was simpler, cancel culture didn't exist, and tough people who didn't need a safe place still roamed the country. 

I had finished my senior year of football at Gardner Webb University in North Carolina in 1988 and , although on scholarship, bagged all of my classes for my last semester and then went back home to Maryland in late Spring. Failed every class. Why go to class if there was no more football? So I lost a bunch of weight (245 to 189) and got a job at a golf course in Maryland with my junior college buddy, Chris. I really liked the golf course job. We would get our assignments in the morning and then we would be off, cutting the rough, weed whacking around the greens. We worked hard, because that was what we were supposed to do. We would get a hoagie at lunch and then hit it some more. Chris got in an argument with the supervisor, who was a miserable son of a bitch, and then Chris was like, SCREW THIS JOB! and he was like, C'MON JIM! WE ARE OUT OF HERE! So we left that job. It turned out to be a good thing. I'd probably still be there if Chris hadn't lost his shit that day. I never would have coached if he hadn't and now, Chris is a big wig computer virus guy. The older guys at the golf course used to tell us to not work so hard, that we were making them look bad. They would hide back in the woods to get out of work. Can you imagine? Anyway, I was out of a job, at a dead end.  

The end of summer was coming. I had a girlfriend at Gardner Webb, and I was missing her. Plus, what the hell else was I gonna do? I needed to graduate and I had an idea to try some coaching. So I went back to Gardner Webb and put on a jacket and tie and met with my old professor, who was now the Dean. She never did like me very much, the old bat. I met with her and said that I was sorry and all that, just faked the hell out of an apology and looked real pitiful. I remember she had this huge mole on her cheek like the teacher from Uncle Buck. 

So I got back into school and had to repeat all my classes that I had failed. That sucked. One class, New Testament, I signed up for and then found out that I had already taken the class before, but it was almost at the end of the semester when I figured it out. That's how engaged I was in class. Then I went down to the football field house and sat with the head coach and asked if I could help out coaching. He said yes, after telling me how disappointed he was that I didn't show up for the football banquet the year before. I understood. The team captain missing the banquet. I was just DONE, didn't care one bit anymore. So done.

He told me that he couldn't pay me, but I didn't care, I was back in school and was helping coach the defensive line as basically an intern. I did odd jobs to pay rent and snuck into he cafeteria for meals. I was broke and hungry. The cafeteria girls were locals who were extra cool and maybe they could see that I was desperate. I remember one time I asked the guy changing the coffee if it was decaf or regular, and he said, "Don't matter, I just put regular in both." Nice.  I had very little money. I lived in the basement of an old lady's house. She was very cool. I can't for the life of me remember her name. 

Even though money was tight, I have to admit, we had a good time, myself and the graduate assistant coaches. I wasn't a grad assistant because I wasn't getting paid and was still an undergrad. Anyway, we had a blast. My buddy, Johnny lived in the football locker room in a storage closet. Bob was another graduate assistant who was married and had a daughter. He was just as wild as Johnny and I. We would load up the truck and go down to the one lane bridge and shoot guns and sometimes we would get out of practice and get a fifth of Jack Daniels or Evan Williams and sit in the back of Bob's Chevy S-10 back on the dirt roads and drink and bitch about what a prick the head coach was all the time. We ended up at the Pantry (like a 7-11 without the Slurpee's),  buying Skoal and Doritos and whatever else we could afford. Johnny and I trained together and hung out a whole bunch and we are still friends to this day. We knew the local cops and they were cool with all of our shenanigans.

After my first season of coaching, we had a party for the defensive line at my basement abode. I was pretty fired up and had a wee bit too much to drink. Everyone left me, because I was off my rocker. Anyway, I wanted to see my girlfriend who was in the dorms about a mile away. No way could I drive, so I started walking. In my inebriated state, my thinking was off. I decided that I shouldn't walk (stagger) on the main road or the cops may see me, so I decided to walk through peoples back yards to get there. I was hopping fences and dogs were barking, but I was determined. Meanwhile, My girlfriend was walking to meet me. Remember, no cell phones back then, no communication. So she is walking to meet me, and the a cop pulls over and says to her, "I better give you a ride, we are getting calls that some drunk guy is running through people's back yards." Immediately, she knew it was me. She said, " That son of a bitch," and asked the officer to take her back to her friend's house, which was close by. The friend happened to be the wife of Bob, who was nowhere to be found, either. So the wife and my girlfriend got in her car and went looking for me. I was just about to the dorm when a truck pulled in front of me and the Bob's wife said, "Jim Steel, you son of a bitch, get in the damn truck!" And I did, sheepishly. I got a good lecture on that one. The words are a little fuzzy, looking back, but I do remember feeling like I was gonna  be in the doghouse for a long time.

There were many times like that, when I didn't exactly use great judgment, but there were also times of great camaraderie and friendship and relative sanity.

I knew, after that season, that I would always be a coach. I couldn't see myself working in an office and not being on the sidelines. We paid our dues, and we were young and wild and a little stupid. But that was long ago. We all have families and careers and kids now. But, I tell you what, I wouldn't trade those lean times for anything in the world. I still think about those days all the time. Life seemed a whole lot simpler back then. 

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.