Thursday, August 22, 2013

Why we can't all get along

The controversy from earlier in the week about a certain total and high squat was all the rage of discussion in the powerlifting community.

I didn't say a word about it to this point, because I just spent my time reading all of the comments related to it.  I did share Steve Goggin's status on Facebook, but my context about that may have been different than Steve intended.

My buddy Brandon Lilly touched on it as well, writing.......

If you want to see a change in the sport then be the change you want to see yourself. If you don't like the squat depth you see then squat deeper yourself. If you want locked out benches, lock and hold all your benches. If you hate short locked deadlifts, then lock and hold all your deads. Be a change people can point to as an example for "what powerlifting should be". My example is Daniel Green. He does things the way, and at the level I hope to be at. The sport is negative enough... Be a positive light for others to follow.

This is an awesome sentiment, but it still really doesn't cut to the heart of the matter as to WHY people act out in the way they do regarding these kinds of situations.  

You see, we can't all get along generally for two reasons.    

1.  People protect their idols, and believe that their idols are above ridicule, criticism, and are infallible.    

People protect their idols because without them, so much of their faith and belief crumbles beneath their feet. If that idol is destroyed, or proven to be false or wrong, then their entire belief system gets washed away; it dissolves into nothingness.  

And then what are they left with? 

So few people really want to reevaluate the things they believe in, because doing so could reveal that they spent time believing in a false idol.  And now, a paradigm shift is needed in their life.  People are generally afraid of change.  Not just because it's scary, but because they often feel like fools for having to do so.

This is why ultimately, it's paramount that you reevaluate and challenge your standards ever so often.  The things you believe in, and the people you look to when you need advice the most.  The core of the things you have built your life around.  

If you never challenge the ideas and the people that you believe in, you may end up living a lie that you are forced to defend.  A lie that may be revealed to you later, when you could have saved yourself the trouble by simply not believing blindly in an "all or nothing" manner, without challenging it yourself.  There's nothing wrong with doing that.  It's perfectly healthy, and should be done to keep your sanity in check.  

I do believe that things like faith and trust are ultimately choices that you make, or don't make.  However it doesn't mean the foundation that those choices are built on, can't be checked from time to time.  Just to see if they are still rock solid, or may have developed some cracks over time.  

If your idols are never scrutinized by you, then ultimately you become the fool to their song.  Make sure you're always dancing to a tune that is just as true as the first day you heard it.  

2.  People have different priorities, and have an entirely different subset of beliefs about what matters.

I saw some nasty comments thrown around at people in regards to the situation above.  I mean some serious personal attacks.  One person called another person a piece of trash because he said a squat was high.  Nevermind that the person who said the squat was high, is at the fore front of a charity to help bring a little dude with cerebral palsy to Las Vegas so he can meet all the people in lifting he admires.  No, what really matters is that he's a piece of trash because he said a squat was high.  

I personally do not get this.  And that particular comment was even a "woah" moment for me.  

Let me put this out there before I continue on. 

What we do as people in this world matters, or should fucking matter, about a trillion times more than what we do on the platform, or athletic field.  End of fucking story.  If your life has been stripped away of its essence to a degree that you see people as hero's or peasants based on what they can lift, you are a god damn mental midget.  And that is not even an opinion.  Life is bigger than any weight lifted, any touchdown scored, or any home run hit.  Those things can make up parts of your life, and the book you are writing about it.  However if those are the only things that matter, then when it's gone....and it will be gone....then I won't pity you for the shell of a life you are left with.  

I know a lot of people in all areas of sports that when it comes to the game of life, that are nothing more than bench warmers because they have one play in the playbook that they are worth a shit at.  

Now back to criticism.......

We're all competing in something.  So since when did anyone from anywhere, regardless of how much weight they fucking lift, become immune to criticism?  

"Let me see you do that."

If that was the standard for who could and could not criticize, then the ESPN cast for who can talk about football, just got really fucking small. 

If the only people who get the right to be critical of others are the ones that can perform equivalent or better measures of strength or athletic ability, then who gets to judge the most of elite lifters and athletes?  I guess no one.  And they can just perform on a field all alone with no one to say shit, because no one can compete to their level of ability.    

There isn't a referee on an NFL field that can do the things the players do, yet he gets to make judgement calls about their performance.  Yes, he gets to be critical.  

So do head coaches, and position coaches.  So do announcers at all sports that do color commentary.  Joe Rogan would get his ass whipped in 0.98 seconds flat by lots of guys that he's critical of in the ring.  They don't all threaten to whip Joe's ass, because as adults we should understand that criticism is part of the territory once you rise above the norm.  

Reread that part about 9,345,345,678 times if you don't get it. 

Once you elevate yourself to a standard that catches the eye(s) of people who care about that particular sport, or anything else you do, no matter how good you are criticism is sure to follow.

Some of it will be true, and some of it will be vomit from haters, and horseshit.  It's up to you in regards as to how you respond to it, and what you do with that energy.  You can let it slide off, you can use it to fuel you to "prove people wrong", or you can address it directly.  You get those choices.  What you do not get is an exception from being criticized.  There will always be small minded people that try to take down people that have elevated themselves far above them.  

And there will be intelligent people who simply call bullshit for what it is.  A stinking pile of bullshit.  Because sometimes bullshit is very plain to see.

We're not all meant or made to be bearable.  Trust me, I have done nothing of importance in my life, other than be a dad, and I have plenty of critics.  That's fine.  I don't always care for it, but I can't be a hypocrite either.  So if criticism is leveled on me, I have to ask myself if it's worth addressing, and is there something I need to get better at, or is it nothing more than the sheep complaining about the wolves in the forest?


  1. If you never challenge the ideas and the people that you believe in, you may end up living a lie that you are forced to defend.

    Best line in the whole thing.

  2. Maybe it's my ignorance on the world of Powerlifting, but I genuinely don't understand why everyone is batshit crazy over this? From what I understand Hoff already has an AMAZING record and an already unreal total...Again maybe I just don't understand it but so the fuck what? Maybe next meet he goes and absolutely dominates it. Will people still cling to this last meet? And why are folks not more angry at the judges for white lighting it??

    1. In this particular event the refs really aught to get the ire because they simply didn't do their job. They wanted him to get it, so they saw what they wanted to. That's a lot of weight and it's cool when records are broken--but they need to be broken in accordance with the regulations.

      I also don't envy the ref's job because no matter what they call someone's going to be upset. If they don't call anything, people will be upset. It goes with being the law on the platform/field/court.

      I think there's also an alleged cheating incident which would get folks mad at Hoff:

      If that's true he deserves criticism. But there's also Louie Simmons in his defense:

    2. "And why are folks not more angry at the judges for white lighting it??"

      Basically this ^

  3. I agree with this article and with Paul Hurtt ^^^above. Why all the hate directed at Dave Hoff, who is by any measure, a beast? I can understand the criticism of the judging (the squat was definitely high) and the SPF in general, but Hoff? That's just pointless. Whatever. I compete for me, and I'm far from being an elite raw lifter, so I really don't give a shit.

    I love my job, I love my wife and kids; lifting and getting strong is supposed to be fun. I'm often reminded of this pearl of wisdom from Sir James Wendler:
    "Arguing on the internet is like the Special Olympics; even if you win, you're still retarded." (although special olympians are far more deserving of respect than the keyboard warriors)

    1. lol, Jim Wendler didn't come up with that. It's old.

  4. Let me get this straight....

    ...This guy Hoff benched a shit ton of weight and had like 6 people standing within a yard of him, and everybody else in the building looking at him, but he somehow put something under his shirt to help him and nobody there noticed?

    Paul, you are a pretty straight forward guy, does it look fishy to you? I don't follow powerlifting like you do so I had no idea what the fuck you were talking about until the other guy above me posted the links.

    I can't really tell from the video I saw but it just sounds strange that someone would be able to get away with what he is being accused of with all those people there.

    The whole thing is just fucking weird. Did he get his records thrown out or some kind of punishment? From reading Louie's comments it sounds like he did.

    Fill in the blanks for me and then tell me if you think dude did what he is being accused of.....I'm not really trying to put you on the spot, I just trust your opinion.

    And I don't really have a problem with people being pissed off when they are passionate about something, and feel that something is being destroyed in one way or another. Like you said however, it's not the end of the fucking world.

    1. It def looks like something in his bench shirt.

  5. "I have done nothing of importance in my life, other than be a dad ..."

    You are forgetting that you have helped many individuals here. From becoming better lifters to just being a better person.

  6. Yeah,

    That is true too Paul. How important something is can only be measured by the people it is important to. I don't know if any good father will ever do anything more important to anyone than what they do for their children, but I think just from you putting yourself out there so much that many people have found bits and pieces of your posts to be greatly important.

    Just like you always bang on us not to let the numbers of our lifts diminish the effort it took to achieve them, don't sell yourself short on the positive influence you have on people.

    Thanks for all you do big fella