15 Minutes.

November 27, 2011

Ahh . . . national meets.  I love national meets.  They let you know that you’re not alone.  Take one look at the start list and you’re bound to see at least a few other guys at or around your same skill level.  It’s awesome.  I don’t know what local meets look like where you’re from, but around here, there’s maybe a few other guys who you can secretly (or not secretly) pace yourself with.  At big meets like The AO, you gotta be a gamer.  There may be 2 or 3 others who plan on opening at the same weights you are, so you have the added challenge of being prepared to walk out to the platform at any given moment.  It gets pretty chaotic in the warm-up area and you better be damn ready to adapt to the situation and compete even if you aren’t finished warming up.  Conversely, you might go out to take your 1st attempt and then be sitting down for a good 10 minutes before you take your 2nd.  (Hint: if this happens to you, take a few power cleans/snatches at about 70% of whatever you’re about to take on the platform.)  This goes on at local meets too but the stakes aren’t as high #1 because you didn’t fly across the damn country to be there and #2 because not all the people in your session are in the same weight class.

Additionally, big meets are a great way to meet homies.  Like I said before, the weightlifting community is pretty small so if you go to a couple of these things, you’ll begin to recognize faces.  There may be a few awkward moments that arise out of this.  I know that Alex Lee will never let me forget one incident at Nationals this year.  I was having a conversation with some guy in the 105+ class and said, “Hey man, where do I know you from? . . . Oh, now I remember!  Facebook, right?”  Nice.

Also, never be star struck by ANYONE you see at weightlifting meets.  Remember, just because some guy’s youtube video got over 60,000 hits doesn’t make him famous.  Being famous in weightlifting is equivalent to being “hood rich.”  Just because you lease an Escalade doesn’t make you rich whatsoever.  So don’t be a creep.  Say what’s up to people and network a bit.  You’re all there for the same reason and that’s a cool thing.

Speaking of star-struck, I guess I should write about the one time I talked to Randall Strossen.

So in case you don’t know, Randy Strossen is the guy behind ironmind and Milo.  He travels all around the world to document and photograph weightlifting competitions, training halls, strongman competitions and pretty much anything pertaining to the realm of strength.  This is a man who probably is not easily impressed.

This is Marc Huster.  He beat Dimas on a few occasions I think.

This one MAY be my favorite tape.  It’s either this one or the Chinese Training hall with Stephen Botev.

So here I am walking into the Peoria Civic center.  It’s like 105 degrees outside and with the humidity it was the type of heat that it doesn’t matter where you are, it’s still going to be hot.  I’ve got myself, a backpack full of food and my long hair weighing me down.  I’m beginning to sweat before I even make it out the door.  So I’m walking the 5 blocks from the hotel to the venue site on my way to weigh in.  A shuttle pulls up in front of me and who do I see? Randy fuckin’ Strossen.  He walks out in his trademark baseball cap and GIGANTIC camera and I stop dead in my tracks.  Well, what actually happened was I heard him first.  This was a voice that I’ve heard drone on for hours and hours over training hall video.  It is in fact THE voice of training hall video.  If Randy’s voice isn’t on it, then it’s not important.  So when I hear him thank the shuttle driver, this immediately becomes the most important walk of my life.

I decide to play it cool.  Remember, this man has seen EVERYONE train.  No way is he going to be impressed by anything I say or do.  So with a quick nod acknowledging each other’s existence, we walk towards the entrance in silence.  Then he spoke.  The classic Randy Strossen voice asked ME a question, “So, I notice you have pretty large biceps for a weightlifter, do you do any accessory work for your arms?”

Are you shitting me?  Randy Strossen just asked me about my biceps.  Do you know how many biceps this guy has seen?  Take that number and multiply it by 2. And he hasn’t just seen weightlifter biceps.  He’s seen: powerlifter biceps, strongman biceps, arm wrestler biceps, any type of biceps you can think of and he has seen them.  And that was the FIRST thing he said to me.  I have never been more proud in my entire life.

So what do I say?

“No, not really.  I like to do pull-ups a few times a week.”  (Which is true.  I used to pride myself on my minimal upper body work.  It was a goal of mine to 21 strict pull-ups by the time I was 21 and once I accomplished that, I never saw any need to do anything else beyond that.)  But that’s not the point.  Randy Strossen asked me a question and instead of using it as an opportunity to segue into a legitimate conversation, I give him a dumbass answer and increase my pace as to avoid any future conversation.  Nice.

That didn’t seem to offend Strossen at all.  Later that day, he saw me sporting my official ironmind bandanna and snapped a photograph of me saying, “now there is a guy with a sense of style!”  I almost cried.  That’s the same day I met Justin of 70’s big which I guess is indirectly the reason why I’m writing to you right now.  He was the one who convinced me to start a blog (for my artwork) so you can thank him for the 15 minutes you just wasted reading this.

3 Responses to “15 Minutes.”

  1. Cameron P said

    Bro you got some things all wrong.

    First of all, that took me only 5 minutes to read.

    Second of all, it was in no way, shape, or form a waste of time. It was extremly entertaining.

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