Really thought that I wanted to make a comeback in the Highland Games but …. Nope!!!
Now let me explain myself because I had such an amazing career since first competing at the Salado Highland Games in 1997 before an injury forced me into ‘retirement’… well the asshole doctor that screwed up my surgery and caused the infections but that’s a story for another day.
I do have so many wonderful memories of the men that I was blessed to share the competition field and meals with and even a beer or two around not just the USA but all over the World and with that I even managed to win some championships and even set some records.
It always make me laugh when I look back over my athletic career and think that I seemed to have had a much more competitive career as a Master than I ever did as an Open competitor and I damn sure have had a hell of a lot more fun as a Master!!!
I am very proud of my career and hope that I always carried myself with honor and respect for the history of the Scottish Highland Games and all those who competed with me and those that came before me. It is the history that’s intrigued me so much and partially what drew me to the Highland Games but after competing this past November I just didn’t have the same concentration and focus with the training or even while competing and I doubt that I ever will again. I will not of course leave Scottish Heavy Athletics nor will I ever forget it even if I wanted to but I doubt that I will ever again return to it as I once had nor will it ever possess me as it once did. The sport provided me some of the happiest times of my life. I’m always asked how and why push myself in a sport where there was no monetary gain and very little publicity but I’m telling you that those were the happiest times for me throwing the weights and stones, picking a a monstrous caber and giving it a little nudge with my shoulder and taking off running then the elation after turning it.
Even more personally gratifying was the training; explosively lifting heavy weights , throwing medicine balls and jumping then you can add in hundreds and hundreds of drills that not only had to be done but had to be done correctly….each and every rep done to perfection. Let’s not forget the hours spent alone in a field throwing or the long early morning drives to different games and of course stopping for breakfast at Cracker Barrel to fuel up!!
So with all of this in mind (and a little more that I haven’t shared yet) I have concluded that it’s time to move onto something different in “The Wide World of (Masters) Strength Sports” and this next challenge is something that I have talked about and dreamt about since the early 90’s when I got a book from IronMind called “Of Stones and Strength” by Peter Martin.
There’s a feeling inside of me that I just can’t describe (trust me I’ve tried) when I look at a stone laying there in the tall grass thinking about the men that came before me and knowing that it’s telling me to move on, I’m not here for you to lift but if you want to try you better be prepared for the challenge.
There’s a short writing that I read many years ago from Steve Jeck that sums up my feels closer than I can so I’ll share that writing with you so maybe you can understand that feeling when passing by a stone and wondering how far you can throw it or if you can lift it!!!
The Choice by Steve Jeck
“There’s something about a stone; something intrinsically alluring. I’ve never been able to walk past a stone without trying to lift it or see how far I could throw it (our at least silently ponder such efforts if actually attempting them would seriously jeopardize others’ perception of my stability). I do, by the way, realize that the more sound members of society have little difficulty driving past or transversing such challenges. . . . pity.
I see the stone as a challenge, obvious enough, yet I view it in a different light than even the barbell. The barbell is designed to be lifted. The diameter of the bar, the knurled grip, the aerodynamic design of the plates - all of these features lend themselves to one ultimate purpose: to be lifted. Certainly, when one throws enough 25-kilo plates on a bar all this design crap flies right out of the window. And still I feel as if I’ve accomplished something just deadlifting the type of poundage Taranenko rams overhead. No, I’m not saying that lifting barbells is easy. The distinction I’d make is that barbells are heavy while stones are defiant.
To the prospective lifter, a stone seems to say, ‘I’m not here to be lifted. You have gyms and such to satisfy that need. Now, if you still care to proceed, then be ready to pay.’ What’s more, should you be blessed enough triumph over the stone, the only adulation you’re likely to receive will come from the local squirrels and millipedes, for most big stones are still resting obscurely in nature right where God put them.
Ultimately, a man is challenged and bettered by facing any task that exceeds his current abilities. Some choose big stones. Others drive or transverse past such challenges. . . . pity.”
Play Hard… Train Harder… NO EXCUSES