Monday, December 12, 2016


I had the opportunity to attend the 30th reunion of my Montgomery College (junior college) 1986 Championship football team the other night.

Damn, it was fun. I saw folks that I hadn't seen in 30 years. All of my old coaches were there, and they all were doing well. Some of them lost some hair, some gray at the temples, some a little heavier, but still kicking and getting it done in life.

My buddy Billy and I
Our team in 1985 and 1986, was a place for the misfits. A place where those of us who were too small to play at a 4 year school, or didn't have grades to get into one or had been in the military or had no other place to go. And the place was not geared towards football, it was a college, not an athletic institution. And the other night reminded me that we didn't have all the "modern" stuff that they have these days at football programs like a player's lounge or the luxury of a strength coach or even a weight room. In fact,we weren't even allowed to use the weight room at the school. Not us, not the uncouth monsters. But nobody complained about it. Some went to the local Gold's Gym in Wheaton ( Where chalk was allowed. I think that there was one piece of cardio equipment; a bike in the corner). I lifted in my girlfriend's basement. 

Practice alone was an arduous affair, the warmup took 20 minutes. Forward rolls, sprints, backpedals, bear crawls, etc (That was "Primal Movement" before it was labeled as such and cost hundreds of dollars to attend a seminar about freaking crawling).We didn't do any A skips, B skips, C skips, or ladder drills. I have no idea how we won without doing any of that stuff. We pushed bags up a steep hill. We sprinted. We hit. We hit all week. We hit and tackled the backs and every day was like a game day.  Nobody got hurt.  And be ready, or you will get your ass whooped. And fight back if somebody messes with you or nobody will ever ever respect you.

 And then my buddy Billy would drive us home and drop us off at our respective houses and then I'd eat pasta and beef and then a little while later, Chris would pick me up and we would go to Beth's house to lift. We would work up to one heavy set of 5-8 reps on the bench , squat, behind the neck press and rack deads. Nobody talked about inter, intra, post workout nutrition. Not sure how we made it without that knowledge, but Chris was squatting 610x3 , benching 485 and behind the neck pressing 315 for reps. He was eating 8 bowls of Raisin Bran for breakfast, which in itself is anabolic as hell. But even with shitty supplements (read zero), no machines except a rickety lat pulldown and a diet of meat, pasta and beer, we managed to make it to the National Championship. No scholarships, no weight room, no training table, one paid coach, no juice bar, no "refueling station, no dorms, no training table, no dietician, one Athletic Trainer, no pats on the back, 60 people in the stands at most (and that was because of the bake sale at half time), no news coverage, no turf.

 People that went to school there had no idea that we even had a football team. 

But ya know what? It was better like that, we had a team and nobody cared and we didn't care that they didn't, the whole world could kiss our collective butts, because if you were there, you were in love with football, you were there because you sacrificed, you showed up and played and you did your own wash and designed your own workouts and monitored your own bed check and you didn't know any other way that it was supposed to be.  And then in practice, you got your ass whipped and then you came back and whipped ass and it was pure, man. You did it just for you and your teammates. And some guys went on to play some more and some didn't. 

And the other night it was great. All of the guys that I  spoke with had great jobs, they were successful. I don't mean that they went to Wall Street, they had jobs that make a difference: Police officer, coach, computer troubleshooter. One guy had 11 restaurants.  

And it just showed me that a chance was all that most of us needed to just get going. And we got it and it wasn't squandered and they learned, we all learned, that coming together, and that the discipline of playing together and sacrificing would pay off in the long run. That the will to get along and get it done without fanfare or anybody giving us a damn thing was worth something.

Again, it was pure.

All who spoke to the audience thanked the coaches for being tough on them. 

None of them thanked the coaches for making all of it easier and for being sympathetic and so understanding.

It was a great night and it makes me frustrated that all of it has become so damn big and that some athletes today think that they deserve stuff instead of having to earn it, but hell, thats just me, an old 1986 championship team member who loves the old days.

All About Being a Lifer

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