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The other week I decided to tag along with Sally to Austin so I could get a nice undisturbed workout in at Hyde Park Gym. Lately, we've been spending a lot of talking about my career in competitive Strength Athletics. It seems since my recovery from the heart issues I have been much more driven towards returning to competing both on the platform and in the field. So as we drove towards Bastrop and I talked about my first ever powerlifting meet, according to Sally she could not only hear but feel the passion and love for a sport that she hadn't seen before in me. Sure I'm like most in I love telling stories about my past glory and exploits in the Iron Game hell just ask some of the kids I train but for some reason this time was different. Not only could I remember so much more of the path I took to my first time to walk onto a powerlifting platform I could feel it so deep inside of me that it almost brought me to tears. So we stopped at Buc-ee's for some food and coffee and there in the beautiful Texas morning I told her and if you don't mind I'll tell you....what the hell it's my blog....Let me tell you a story.........
April 1985 my training partners and I are headed down the back roads of Texas on our way from Corpus Christi towards Austin to a little town (not so little anymore) of Bastrop, Texas. I'll tell you what it didn't take long for Rodney and Dan to figure out that I was indeed a city boy from Detroit (or a Yankee as Rick Gaugler our coach calls me still to this day) when I yelled from the backseat of the car.... STOP!!! There was something that I had never seen before....a damn steer with a big ole set of horns grazing by the barbed wire fence and I just had to have a picture!!!! Great start to the trip for sure because I doubt we were very far out of Corpus Christi.
I was going to compete in the Region 9 Championships in the 198 pound class!!!
It's Saturday morning and I'm enjoying breakfast when Rick comes to the table and scolds the hell out of me because I still had to weigh in and I was too close to making weight to be eating and well breakfast proved to be a bad idea because when I stepped on the scale I was 4 pounds over so its off to the I go car to bundle up, turn on the heater and chew some sour gum so I can spit off the 4 pounds and I've only got 2 hours to do it!! Yeah back then you not only had weigh-in 2 hours before the competition but you had to have all of your gear inspected and marked not like the shit is now!! Since I'm out in the car trying to make weight the 'story telling' side of me will get a bit off track....1985 they are no bench press shirts, there was 1 guy in the USA making powerlifting belts so you ordered it and waited for Bob Morris to send it to you and wrist wraps were an ACE bandage (1 1/2" wide) that was cut in half...well to be honest we never cut the thing we'd stretch it out on a weight tree and beat a 2 1/2 pound plate on it until it was cut in half and our knee wraps were nice and soft (you can see mine in the picture and they are still the office at my gym).
Well I finally made weight and got warmed up but I guess I was in the wrong area but because I never heard them call my name to tell me where in the lifting order I was but what I do remember is Rick coming and grabbing me by the hair and shoving me in a chair and he wrapped one knee, Stan wrapped the other and with a slap on my back and a shove towards the correct platform my opener of 551 pounds was waiting for me. I had a great day in the squat hitting my goal of 606.5 pounds (275kg) but the sqaut is my favorite lift and now we move on to my least favorite the damn bench press!! I did get a nice 352.75 (160kg) and we finally eat some lunch a traditional Texas Powerlifting lunch... its Whataburger time!!! Shit I think Whataburger should be sponsering powerlifting the way we seem to eat it every meet!! Well the meet ends with the deadlift and it's a lift that I was starting to love and because of that pathic bench press I had a few people closing in on me. I love the brutal mindset you have to possess to walk up to a heavy ass weight, snort an amonia cap and pull that damn thing off of the floor while gravity is fighting like mad to keep it on the ground. Well, I finish my day with a winning pull of 578.75 (262.5kg) and won my class with a total of 1528 pounds (697.5kg) and I am hooked on the sport of Powerlifting!!
Well the meet is over and now it's time to eat and drink a beer!!! We head out to find somewhere to buy some beer and we happen to drive by a couple of cops stopped so we pull up and ask them where....they looked at us like we were idiots and told us Austin!! Bastrop was a dry county and there was no beer sales....what the crap is that!!?? So we got some pizza and headed back to our motel room where Rodney and I decided we were sore and needed to soak in the hot tub WITH our pizza!! I can remember floating the pizza box back and forth to each other and why do I remember this....because we both got sick as dogs. Yeah it was a great trip home laying across the back seat of the car dying!!! I'll tell you honestly I would not change any part of this story for the world.
I must thank Rodney Serpa and Dan Deweese for inviting me onto the platform at Bradshaw's Gym to train with them, Rick Gaugler who taught me the sport that I still love today and to Pete Alaniz who supplied me not only my gear but a friendship that has lasted since we met back in 1984. Pete owns Titan Support Systems the #1 company in the world for all of your gear.
What an awesome introduction to a sport that has taught me many lessons in competition, in life and now in coaching.
Always find love and passion in whatever you do.
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES