Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Adapt, The Bell Rung

I was on vacation in July and went to a great gym, The Firm, in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware to train. I did my workout and then noticed that they had one of those "BOB" punching bags that look like a man. Dude, I love that thing! Better than a heavy bag, good training tool. Bad news is that I ordered one and punched it every day, 7 days a week.

By doing it, I know that I screwed something up in my neck. Left arm numb. Two world renowned surgeons tell me that I bulged/herniated a disk in my neck. So what? MRI? Eventually. But the training was great. And guess what? It happens. You get banged up.

The only way that you won't have a surgery or ten is by sitting on the couch or never doing anything athletic.You are gonna get hurt.

 If you were an athlete, especially a decent one, especially one who played football, in the 80's or before and worth his/her weight in salt you pushed it and pushed it beyond what everyone says these days is right and you really don't expect anybody these days to understand. You break fingers and hands and get concussions and it was a badge of honor to get out there and play through it. Right? Hmmm. Back then it was right. Now, lots of safety measures. Better for the kids/players in the long run, no question. Thats the PC reaction to it all.

You see, I know that everything that happens to me injury wise is because of football. I played 14 years. I loved football more than life. We did drills where we were supposed to hit our heads together over and over again, "USE YOUR FACE" was the mantra that I always heard.  You sat on your knees across from a partner and when the coach said GO you shot out and hit your heads together. Over and over. I loved that drill. And it worked. Lead with your face and then lock out. You are more powerful like that, you can strike a blow that will decimate your opponent. In fact, I scouted for Arena Football a bunch of years back and we were scouting a major college team and the linebackers where catching blocks with their hands and they were getting pushed all over the place.The head coach of the Arena team said, "They need to lead with their heads". And he was right. Punish with the bowling ball on your head and then lock out. Works every time. Good for you? Of course not. Awful for you. You forget stuff and you can't find your car (Bill Romonowski) as you age. But it was the game.

You ever been hit by a dude who has a little more than you on that play? Or has the right angle? And his head hits you and you see a bunch of stars? If you played high school or college football you have felt it. And guess what? It feels good. You get a hit on your head and it makes you nuts. Bring it on! In fact my Father used to tell me to play like I have been hit in the head. You know, play like a wild man.You make a tackle and the back of your head hits the ground or you lead face first and you make a tackle and you get up and sod is stuck on your face mask and you are walking a little funny and the planetarium is sparkling in your head and it fires you up, man. I tackled Marion Butts multiple times in a bowl game. He probably took a few brain cells from my brain. But Marion Butts!

Bad for you? Of course it is bad for you. But I started playing football in 1976 and I don't remember a year  when I didn't get my bell rung a few times a season. Coaches encouraged it, and I don't blame them. It's what they went through also, and it was what was most effective. And it is hilarious that the NFL is legislating the game with the head hits. If you are an offensive or defensive lineman, you are hitting with your head multiple times each play. Not the big hit once in awhile, but every play. Legislate that and the game disappears. It isn't even brought up.

Damn, off on a tangent.

So anyway, my neck is messed up. So I searched for exercises that don't make me go numb. Db Bench? Nope. Safety squats? Nope. How about deadlifts? Feel good. Do tons of reps and sets with 315...sets of 10 and 20. Sore as hell and happy that I lifted. So you make due, you adapt. You do what you must do in order to keep training and to feel like you can contribute, that you aren't one of the masses with visors on and Big Mac's on their plates and a curl bar at their house that clothes hang on. You never want to be one of those guys who almost played football or lacrosse or wrestling. Or boxing. Or MMA. Risk in all. Chance of greatness in all. What am I saying? I am not saying a thing, just telling my story, just my story. Wouldn't change it for the world. I'll take the chance of old age and being crippled. Messed up? Maybe in some folk's minds. But if you ever played at a decently high level, you wouldn't change it for the world. Your mind set is /was different. I have a friend who goes through it. Head all messed up, multiple  concussions, depression, headaches. Ask him if he'd change anything and the answer is no. That is crazy to most of the population. And get it straight- it is bad for you, crazy, messed up, ludicrous. It's just different and tough for most to "get".

 I don't expect most folks to understand. It is a different mindset,  And that mindset, good or bad, is the reason for the separation from the "I wish I was" to the "I was."

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.