Hand in hand with making New Year’s Resolutions come other questions. Certainly, if not an “official” resolution, most individuals view January 1st of any year as a new beginning, a new start to specific endeavors or goals, and an opportunity to re-focus organization and effort. For those interested in powerlifting, and I purposely chose that description, deciding to improve one’s lifts or a specific lift, is a commonly held resolution or goal. Whether agreeing or not with the premise put forth in last month’s article as per the late Reverend Robert Zuver’s quote, everyone can improve and every lift can be improved. The related question is, “Should I compete?” For those who are already competitive powerlifters, this is a no-brainer. The logical and obvious New Year’s Resolution is to “increase my total” since that is the point of ultimate judgment in our sport. There have always been and continue to be those competitive lifters who look down upon those that “lift” but don’t compete. Even if they begrudgingly give some respect to the hard and consistent work put into the gym activity of a non-competitive trainee, many competitive lifters hold themselves above those that train but do not compete.
Most individuals make some sort of resolution, or self-promise for the New Year and powerlifters expectedly make resolutions related to training and contest performances. This is not surprising but the expectations for improvement certainly have wide ranging and at times, wild parameters. For some, it is difficult to predict what is reasonable and what is patently ridiculous. Enthusiasm, passion, and dedication are necessary ingredients for a recipe of improvement and success but it has to be tempered by reality. As a high school football and track and field coach, I respected the young men and women who were competitive and motivated to consistently train and perform to their maximal abilities. Those who refused to squander whatever talent they had with a commitment to improve, were predictably a pleasure to devote time to. I had some whose competitive nature and passion far exceeded their actual ability and it was difficult to convey to them what I believed to be realistic expectations.
The two part article/blog regarding certification of powerlifting products generated more e mail than expected, and has led me to believe that many in the sport do not understand how the real world operates. For those of a past generation, think about the movie Back To School, starring comedian Rodney Dangerfield. As Thornton Melon, a very successful, businessman with a limited education but plenty of street smarts, Rodney decides to attend college in order to be in proximity to and support his struggling son. One of the classic comedies of the 1980’s, the relevant scene for this discussion is one in which the business class professor is shocked by the business start-up comments made by the experienced and wealthy Melon. In his role, Dangerfield notes that money will be needed to pay off building inspectors, union leaders, and others in order to actually get buildings erected or renovated, and any business off the ground floor. He notes these and other “hidden costs” such as kick-backs to those who operate the typical supply and service industries. The professor has never been in business and has no doubt never left the campus or protective walls of academia, and just doesn’t get it. However, having had more than one successful business in the New York City area, I can attest that Dangerfield’s vision of “how things are” is the absolute truth, not the cloistered professor’s.
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