Archive for August 3, 2010

“Who do you play for?”

Posted in Lifestyle on August 3, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

What is Old Country Barbell? It’s a family. We all look out for eachother and never really pull punches on giving out our fair share of shit to those in it. If you saw the profile Johnny wrote up for me, it’s all laid out. I started the Barbell Club on the seawall of my parents’ house back in the day. When I moved in with some like-minded people, I branded it “West Seattle Barbell Club”.

The Club was my safe zone. We didn’t care who won workouts or who lifted the most in our sessions. In fact, most of the time Annie and Aaron were drinking before or during workouts (I won’t lie, I used to like squat beers myself). It was our time away from work, family stresses, or relationship problems. It was for Crossfitting or powerlifting or training or any of the other crazy things we use to do (I remember Nickay, Annie, and myself ran a marathon because we were idiots). The Club is what kept us all together. We had a bond from tearing ourselves down together, building back up, and making memories at the bar we’d never forget.

That’s what the Club was to me. I brought it with me to the gym and found some people who needed it just as much as I did. Starting out, it was for the people who couldn’t run faster than everyone else or do a thousand ring dips. No… it really started out for the ones who came to every Wednesday heavy day because the barbell kept them sane. No one used to care who squatted the most or how much weight you could get over your head, people just cared about workout times. I think what drew me to those original Club members from the gym was the fact that they didn’t care about that stuff, that the truth that lay in the iron was important to them.

That group of people was a family within the gym. Others started to recognize the bond some of us were creating under the iron and gravitated towards it. We joke that it’s like a maurading band of Vikings or a rowdy English soccer firm. But it’s not. I went through some pretty dark times this year, and that family was there for me.

We’ve grown so much in the last months that I’m not sure if some people realize that that’s still the point. We’ve had friends find their way in by coming out to party in dresses (not kilts, kilts aren’t dresses), lifting the house from the ground or on their back, dominating competitions, or just standing by their friends against the rising tide.

Everyone in the Club has done these things. But what I’m about to talk about isn’t any of those things. A dear friend of ours is finding his way into the Club today. I still remember when he first showed up. He was Rob’s new neighbor and seemed like a pretty cool guy. Then he brought his daughter in. Of all the classes to bring her in to, it was a class full of Club members cussing and ragging on eachother. But he said not to worry, that she’d be fine… and she was. From that point on, in my book, so was Mark.

Mark always came in ready to work. I remember how jacked he was when he pulled over 400 on his deadlift for the first time. He’s the kinda guy that will put up with shit from the youngbucks calling him “GrayBread”. He just flips it back, once even telling John, “we might be fishing in the same pond, but we aren’t after the same fish.”
It was classic, we still quote that.

We always told Mark he’d have been in the Club along time ago if he just came drinking with us. But Mark’s kind of a fancy guy who goes to Bellevue with his hot girlfriend and such. So we had yet to bring him in. Well last weekend, our good friend Mark had a climbing accident. When I received the text from Mark about it, it was in his classic cool-no-big-deal Mark fashion. I asked if he was interested in a new strength program we’d be doing at the gym and he simply said in reply, “I’d love to but I took a 500 foot fall on Mt. Hood so I don’t think I’ll be able to”. My heart sank, but he seemed to be ok the more I texted him.

When he came in to visit the gym yesterday, he looked like he’d been in a motorcycle accident. As he told the story over and over to people who’d ask, he kept his very cool, calm Mark demenor about him. Mark is family and he’s put in his time and then some. Anyone who could come out of that with as few injuries as he did deserves to be in the Club. Old Country Barbell is glad to have you Mark (sorry your daughter Lucy was in before you, but she’s pretty bad ass).

“Only after disaster can we be resurrected…” – Fight Club