“For the love Of the Game…”

I hear it all the time…

“I needed this.”

“This made my day.”

“This is what I look forward to all day…”

Do you love it? Do you love the chalk? The Clanging of metal? The scream or tears that accomplishing a goal brings? When I was young and starting out I didn’t get it. 

Well I’m still young and sometimes I still don’t get it. I hear the metal, there isn’t an article of clothes I own that doesn’t have chalk on it. I share in everyone I trains joy. But what happens when the thing you love crushes you? We’ve all been there. Your outside life consumes the place where you can be yourself and just let go.

You train, you put in the work, today is your day or your week. But when you approach the bar your hands touch the metal and the demons creep in. I’ve written about it before. You harness it. You take the rage and things out of your control and put it into what you love to do.

But when you feel the weight those demons creep in and your warm up set feels like a million pounds. You blame your diet, work, girlfriend, husband, dog, car problems anything that isn’t what’s really distracting you.

1 missed rep

“Why did I drink this weekend, how come my boss doesn’t get it, why don’t people stay out of my business.”

2 missed reps

“It wasn’t suppose to be like this, I was gonna smash the old me today, I was going to take start over today. Fuck, why is this heavy I’ve done this for 20 before. Why are people looking at me. Stop looking at me, I know i shouldn’t be struggling.”

3 missed reps

“Why are they playing this music, why isn’t anyone taking this shit serious today? This it’s just a social club. This is bullshit. This isn’t how it was suppose to happen.”

4 missed reps

“Fuck this I’m just gonna grip it and rip it.”

5 missed reps

“Why is this bar so heavy. I hate this. This is stupid why would I put myself though this? I’m done. I’m just done with this, I could be watching football, hanging with my friends at the bar, doing anything but failing right now. ”

Sound familiar? I’ve seen it happen to the best of us. Work, family, the shit that is supposed to be the last thing on your mind….
Let me steal a line from gladiator, “There was a dream that was Rome.”

If your familiar with Old Country you may know it started so small. It wasn’t even Old Country then. It was West Seattle Barbell Club. There was five of us. And this is what we had to get away from the world. It was a safe place. It helped me deal with the hills and valleys of life. No matter what I had the Club. I had an hour or two a day where life stood still and nothing else mattered.

I brought it with me in my training. I wanted people to feel the same sense of family I felt with those four people. Screw your job and commitments lets lift, lets flip tires, and drag kettlebells up the driveway. When things are small it’s easy to deal with problems.

But when things grow. Problem grows. Bars grow heavy. What do you do when your problem outweigh  the bar. What happens when your gym, or Club, or simple hour you get to spend not thinking turns into what you think about all day? It’s not your safe place. You dread the bar. You dread the weight. You dread the struggle to overcome goals.

Most people don’t get it. Most never will. I don’t understand why some people do the things they do. Why would I buy that car? Why run that marathon? Why care what other think? Why let this person mentor you or look up to someone like you never have? Your strength gives other strength what are you doing Why put yourself out there? Why not take that chance? Why never take the risk?

Sometimes the iron fixes every thing. For some that’s the highlight of their day. Why do we do this? Why do we put ourselves through this? Why let someone yell at me? Be my Coach, but my trust in them and have them put it back in me. Is the risk worth it all? Does a pr or a silly Club mean that much?

It does to me. I battle demons at the bar all the time. Sometimes they weigh me down. I’m so proud of those that push through them and wish I could be them and help those that can’t.

Is it worth it to put that much into someone or believe in someone who much? Sometimes I really think it is. Sometimes I don’t know. But I know at the end of the day I’ll do it day in and out because of one thing. The Iron game keeps me sane. Even when nothing else in the world makes sense I can grab iron and make sense. I’ve learned to accept the demons. The good and the bad. When you battle through the rain, even though it’s actually the sky that’s falling.

It’s for the love of the Game. Sometimes it’s the only thing that makes sense.

Posted by: Z

17 Responses to ““For the love Of the Game…””

  1. (fist bump)

    Thanks for sharing……

  2. Great timing Z. My craptastic crap fest under the bar this week had me wondering “why am I doing this?” I’m already “strong enough” right?

    We’re all “strong enough.” So why not move on? Take those hours in the gym and develop another skill that needs attention? Speed reading or Spanish?
    We’re strong enough to conquer whatever compensation issues we bring to the table. We’re certainly strong enough to do our jobs and raise our families. Barring a zombie attack, we’re strong enough for life but we are not strong enough to walk away not knowing what was left in the tank. The clock is ticking and it’s time to get back to work. Spanish and speed reading will be there when we’re through.

  3. Nice… I’ve felt like this for the past four months……. “Why are people looking at me. Stop looking at me, I know i shouldn’t be struggling.” Worst feeling ever. Miss the support ♥

  4. Zach, thanks for sharing!

    Know you have plenty of company,
    also know you provide inspiration for so many on numerous levels, as a coach and as a friend, brother, son……make sure you know that and let that help Get your mind right when you need it!

    I have to say that on the days that I get my self out of bed and show up for whatever @6AM CFWS (and it is not always easy, sometimes half the battle is just showing up) get my sweat on and basically take a self inflicted Ass Whoopin’
    Anything else the day has to offer is easy in comparison and I am better for it (and again not alone, as I hear that same sentiment from others as well!)

  5. Because it fucking matters!

    • I call those demons “The Monkeys”. It’s a hard sometimes to get my head on head on straight. They tell you quit, can’t, stop, nope, miss, fail.

      I really try to see every day in the gym as MY day in the gym. And I’m really selfish about it. I get so pissed if I get caught up at work and come in late or have to miss a day because of this thing or the other.

      I’m sure when you work at the gym, it’s harder to separate YOUR time from COACH time. As your as your athlete, I want you to remember take care of yourself and have set aside some time as YOUR time.

      We’re all in it together. Tearin’ shit up and puttin’ holes in walls.

  6. Um, okay, so I just finished belatedly logging yesterday’s lifts before reading this, only to read it and see that, among other things, apparently Z reads minds.

  7. Thanks guys, I wasnt even gonna post this. One thing I do to get away when the sky is falling is write. Believe it or not when I was growing up for certian period of time I wanted to be a writer. My teacher thought it was funny cause I never read books but loved to write. They did say I’d need a editor though.

    Yes Big Bad Coach Z wanted to be a writer. But I found something more important. I found all of you. I found my job as a Coach. I’m not as vocal to all of you how much you mean to me. My job consumes me. I’m a workaholic. I constantly think off what wrong and how I can fix it. But mostly I think of you.

    I want your time to be that highlight. I want the world for you guys. You don’t know your strength gives me strength. I’m a private person with my real feelings for the most part but know you all mean a great deal to me.
    I’m glad I posted this. For the first time since I took my current role yesterday the weight of my problems had me not wanting to be at work. But you all reminded me that I do do this for the Love of the game. Thanks

    • I don’t know how big your gym is down there guys but one thing that made a world of difference for me when the thoughts started creepin in was beginning to work out in the other coaches’ sessions (instead of on my own in between them). Every athlete needs a coach regardless of where they are at in their training. Since that change the demons creep less and less.

      • Your right Chris, every athlete needs a Coach. I’m lucky enough to have my brother around from time to time. He’s a lawyer of all things. When I get to train with him around it really helps.

        I can’t tell you how many times he’s yelled, “Apporoach the bar!” in my ear when I was drowning in my own ragged breaths or he could see me over thinking a lift.

        Marissa try’s to help too, but who would listen to a girl? I need to get back up North and jump in with you sometime.

    • 8 Seconds Says:

      wowowowow to quote you, “Roo… just cause you have a vagina… doesn’t make you a girl.”

      see if i ever watch your lifts for you again 😉 jk cause i’m nice i still will… and when you ask for help, after i rub it in your face… i’ll still help you…

  8. One of the greatest benefits of getting under a bar and missing is having to deal with the F word. Failure. Yes it sucks, and nobody knows that more than I do, but it’s part of life. Dealing with it and rebounding is where people really fail, and it can translate into all aspects of your life. Sure, you can have encouragement from all your peers on the platform, but what about when you miss an important meeting or fail to wish someone happy birthday. There are consequences, sure, but you have to deal with the fact that you screwed the pooch, take responsibility, put yourself on a path of getting it right next time and move on. We all talk about being gorillas and meatheads, but we learn something that all the Yippies (yuppie hippies) don’t get on their elliptical machines and universal cable crossovers. And we learn it at the most fundamental level… moving weight.

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