Farmstrength’s Weblog


Moment of Truth by docfarmstrong

There is a serious temptation in all of life to create a world we like. A world in which we are pretty darn awesome. People who train with weights are no different. We like to think that the way we do things is far superior to any other method. That somehow we of all people have got it sorted. Reality gives the lie to this delusion.

As an elevator mechanic, I work for days, weeks, even months towards a goal of project completion. Each step towards the final goal has little or no immediate feedback. Then the day comes when when we put power to the system and see if our changes work. The moment of truth.

It doesn’t matter on that day how slick it looks, how well you’ve sold the idea, nor how many other people are nodding their heads along with you. Sometimes you turn the elevator on and it gets happy. Birds sing, double rainbows flash across the sky, and unicorns prance in golden meadows. Other times, you see smoke come pouring out of circuit boards and make an unpleasant call to the boss.

Now, I have never been a guy who thrives on competition. For years, I competed just to go see my friends and do fun stuff. I never wanted to actually compete, just never saw the point of it. Then, I took a two year break from competition altogether. I kept training. Plugging along, making gains; I was pretty happy.

This past spring, I decided to try throwing the Highland Games Heavy Events. We have a very large Irish festival here in the Columbus area and I wanted to throw at that festival. So, I signed up and returned to competition.

Here’s what I got out of a summer of competing. Like throwing power on to the elevator for the first time in a month, competition is a moment of truth. A time to discover if what you’ve been doing has made you better or worse. So, go compete in a recognized sport. Experience that moment of truth. Keep your training grounded in reality.

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“There ain’t but two things that are really worthwhile. Anticipation and remembrance. But in order to remember, you have to include execution of the anticipation. This means roughly that you have to take the dare. You have to bet your hand. You’ve got to put all your courage on the block and let everybody take a whack at it. And a brave coward may not like his work but he’ll force himself to do it.”

So said Robert Ruark in his book The Old Man’s Boy Grows Older – a great read with lots of life lessons inside. Now think about this when you decide if you’re going to actually go compete in that contest or train away in your gym with just your friends around. You have to walk to the base of the mountain and lift that first leg before you can reach the summit. Every day when you train, you imagine yourself up there in front of the crowd, making the big play – the big throw – the big lift – but you have to take the dare and step up first. Anticipation can be a very empty vessel without the remembrance of the execution. Old age is for remembering – be sure you have something to remember.

I have a few regrets about things I have done in life – I’ve done some stupid stuff. But most of my regrets are the things I didn’t do, the trips I didn’t take, the places I didn’t see with the people I love. I doubt many people enjoy their training more than I do but I don’t think about the workouts when I reminisce about things – just that the training let me do them.

A short excerpt from my probably never to be finished book.

Comment by Chris Rice




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