Return of the Yamdancers (Pt. 1).

November 20, 2012

I’ve worked with several coaches during the course of my weightlifting career, all of which provided a unique experience for me while developing in the sport.  Through their collective knowledge, I’ve forged my own opinion, a perspective that I’m now sharing with athletes that I’m proud to call my own.  It is my hope to guide these people through all the lessons and hardships and satisfaction that weightlifting has given me.  I am still green.  In fact, I’d say that my team teaches me more than I’ll ever teach them.  But together we are growing and maybe one day, my voice will be one of many that helps guide their athletes through the process that is Olympic weightlifting.  I can still remember the first day that I trained with Paul.  I say “with” instead of “under” because I was never really one of his athletes.  I was older; a college kid whom he would allow to come train with his younger prospects.  I didn’t mind.  Working out with him was the first time I was able to see how a serious competitive lifter trained.  I learned pace, rhythm, the innate frustration built into the sport and the hard work needed to overcome.  I made the most gains in that concrete room with an aluminum bench.  I learned the most lessons as well.

I called Paul on his cell phone, signaling him to come unlock the chain link fence surrounding the premises.  It went to voicemail three times before he finally answered and came out to let me in along with my motorized scooter.  Yes, I rode a little Honda moped at the time.  I was a trim 102kg (I was still wrestling) but still far too heavy to be riding on such a ridiculous machine.  We had only met a few times before.  I was a wrestling coach at the school he worked at and had seen him lifting and coaching at local weightlifting meets.  He glared at me through his prescription sunglasses as I took off my oversized helmet and gave him a fat “Wazzup!”  He said nothing; gave me the cool guy head nod as we made our way to the weight room.  A few steps more and he finally asks, “So what are you doing today?”  Relieved to have the ice finally broken, I begin filling him in on how much laundry had to be done and how I was really stressed about  the upcoming chemistry exam and about- -“BRO!  I don’t give a FUCK about your personal life!  What’s on the workout?”  At that moment our friendship had been sealed.  I would come in.  We would train.  I would learn by example.  But the greatest lesson wasn’t really a lesson at all.  It was a story; an economics story at that.  Years later, the story guides me more than ever.  And I’ll do my best to re-tell my version of it for you.

(Stay tuned for pt. 2).

One Response to “Return of the Yamdancers (Pt. 1).”

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