Most people reading this article have probably at some point in their lives competed in some form of sports or competition. I know for myself, my first “competition” was when I was around five years old and the sport was soccer. Around that same age, my parents also put me on a park league baseball team. From an early age, I learned what it meant to participate in sports and compete. Unfortunately, football and wrestling were not available until my middle school years when I was 12 years old.
I do feel that the patterns and motions of soccer and baseball did help a ton, in addition to keeping me active. Back then “sports specific” wasn’t a thing, or at least I didn’t see it or know about it. Around the same time that I became heavily involved with wrestling and football, I also knew I needed another sport to help me get better at weightlifting. Now, as I spoke about in prior articles, the value of lifting weights was a huge hobby that eventually became a main sport (powerlifting) later in life. At the age of 32, I participated in my first powerlifting meet and fell in love. Meet after meet flew by, and year after year passed. As most of you know by now, a sudden diagnoses of aortic valve regurgitation led to one major surgery for me. And that first one led to a second one. And the second one led to a third. And the third has now led to a heart transplant. Competing for me is now on hold and I have no idea if I will ever be able to again.
I will be the first to admit I have a lot of jealousy and envy (there, I said it) when I watch these social media “monsters” and “savages.” I wish I could have a chance to match or beat them. Being a powerlifter who only competed geared makes me even more jealous watching the world of raw powerlifting. Some of the raw lifters I watch posting their 800-pound squats, 500-pound benches, and 800-pound deadlifts really irk me. If this is beast mode or savage mode then I am thankful I’m not able to compete anymore. To me, these numbers are very average and just a “whatever.” A 2100-pound raw total (in my mind) is very sub-par.
Now, take this into account: I regularly would do this raw beast mode stuff before I even threw on gear. Yes, I was a geared lifter when I competed, and yes I fell in love with lifting extremely heavy weights. “Blah, blah, blah” is probably what most are saying now, but let me remind you that raw lifting was barely noticeable when I started competing. Geared lifting was the way to compete when I started this sport.
Now back to competing. Recently (since being sick), I have heard it all:
“Training isn’t going well.”
“My back is messed up.”
“There’s not enough time.”
“I am retiring.”
“I have an injury.”
The last one is my favorite. Hear me out before you close this article. About the injury excuse: Being hurt and being beat up are two completely different things. Being hurt means you are fucked up and not able to do shit. This would require a surgery or something that one would need to see a doctor or surgeon to recover from. Being beat up is a normal thing for almost any high-end athlete in almost any sport. To train hard at max capacity, one will constantly be tight, sore, achy, tired, etc. I personally know a lot of athletes and powerlifters from playing for years and from owning and operating my facility these last 10 years. I get super frustrated when someone backs out or constantly runs from competing. You never know what tomorrow will hold for you, so take advantage of today and compete.
Some only have a small window to compete in powerlifting or play sports (like myself), and then they might never compete again. While you are able to compete, do just that: compete. Again, if you are truly hurt, take care of it. See a doctor or see a specialist. Don’t constantly use being beat up as a crutch to avoid competition. To me, it’s the same bullshit most hear about “I can’t squat or deadlift because of my bad knees and back, but my shoulder, elbows, and pecs are perfect so I can bench.” Quit being a pussy and get out there and compete!
I do not apologize if anyone reading this thinks I’m talking about them. Hopefully, it pisses you off and motivates you to get moving forward. Take advantage of what God gave you and the gifts you have been blessed with. There are some, like me, that cannot compete and would give anything to. Avoiding competing with weak-ass excuses is the worst thing you can do.
I remember vividly listening to one of my coaches during a pre-game speech while playing arena football, having a heart-to-heart with us on the importance of being the best you can be and competing in everything in life. He used the example of him becoming a plumber. He swore that even when he was plumbing, he was competing to be the best. Whatever you do in life, make it count and compete to be the best!