I cringe when I have to start an article with "back in the day."
For a myriad of reasons.
For one, it makes me feel old. I'll be....well, I have a birthday in a few months and it's one of those significant ones. And by significant the second number has a zero in it. And the first number isn't a 2 or 3. However, it's not a 7 or a 9 either. Although I will admit if I were turning 90, I'd literally be the sexiest 90 year old that ever walked the face of the Earth. Maybe I should run with that from now on when someone asks me how old I am.
"Fuckin, ninety! Not even in a diaper yet!"
Where was I?
Oh yeah....back in the day, and by back in the day I mean back in the 70's, the entire bodybuilding and strength culture and all the various subcultures had a very different look and feel than it has today. I'm not talking about fashion either. That shit back then was atrocious. I don't give a damn what you say or how much you love nostalgia. There is a reason shit goes out of style, comes back in, and then people go "ok, ok yeah it was stupid."
I'm talking about the manner of respect, camaraderie, and admiration that each of those groups had for each other. Bodybuilders did powerlifting. Powerlifters did bodybuilding training, and all of those guys found that there was something that they all had in common, regardless of the differences that separated them. Which of course was the love of the barbell; the clanging and bangin (kudos to The Rock for coming up with such an awesome term for lifting) was something they all shared and appreciated in a togetherness kinda way (cue kumbaya).
Perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps it was all a big facade and all of those guys really hated each other, and were fake as hell.
Wait. No that can't be right, because that would be more like it is today.
And that is....splintered.
In a time where we can share more freely with each other via the net, we've instead found a medium that serves a far better purpose. To hate the living shit out of each other.
If you don't think so, Google crossfit and see how long it takes you to find a link to an article overflowing with viotrol.
In fact, at this point any anti-Crossfit article just looks like click bait to me, and I'm done with it. I feel like at this point, the entire lifting culture is straight out the Chapelle player haters ball skit.
"What can be said about Crossfit that hasn't already been said about Afghanistan?"
But you can easily substitute Crossfit for powerlifting, bodybuilding, physique, bikini, mens physique, and strongman.
Find a message board dedicated to each endeavour and it won't take long until you find pages and pages dedicated to tearing people apart both in regards to their performance, and them personally. Nevermind that 99% of the posting in such places don't really know the people they are talking shit about. That isn't relevant. It's the net. I know you because, well, I read some shit you wrote, and disagreed. And "I disagree" just isn't enough to get attention anymore. No, that's very sophomoric.
"I hate that fucking asshole so much. And I hope he gets torn limb from limb by a hippo that has gone crazy from hepatitis Z, but doesn't actually die from it. He gets saved by some African tribe that manages to sew his arms to his ass....you know, so he can finally find it because he's so fucking stupid, and that they shove his penis in his mouth and glue his lips shut with poison dart frog secretion."
Of course, the venom spewed like that was over a comment laden with vileness, such as.....
"I thought your squat was a little high on that third attempt."
Such a comment cannot be tolerated, and must be met with enough hatred that would make Pol Pot back away saying...."God damn, son!"
For a culture that is supposedly filled with a bunch of strong and capable people, I see a lot of hatred over a lot of nonsense. Admittedly, I used to be game to this. But that's been quite a while ago, and I publicly want no part of slamming people like that. It literally serves no purpose.
But I don't think this just an American thing either.
When I was hanging with Dmitry he said that over in Russia there is a lot of discord between Oly guys, bodybuilders, and powerlifters. That they don't associate with each other, and don't have a lot of love for each other.
"I don't know why. We all do similar things. You know? We pick up weights. It's good."
Yeah, Klokov basically said "I pick things up and put them down. So do you. So it's all good."
Perceptions gone wrong -
I remember when I used to see this dude doing deadlifts on his videos, and then acting completely ridiculous for every set, and carrying on like a complete assclown. At the time, I thought he was stupid for carrying on over something as trivial as deadlifting. I would still watch his videos and say to myself "this dude is so stupid."
Today, I love Pete Rubish like a little brother.
What's the lesson learned there? Your perceptions of someone on the net could be very wrong. Your perceptions of someone based on what they lift, how they lift, and/or what they write may not be indicative of the kind of person they are, or aren't.
To used a tired and old cliche, lifting is something we do; not who we are. That is, unless we decide to make lifting "who we are". But I honestly believe that's rarely the truth.
But most of us do this anyway. We love or hate people based on perceptions that may not be reality. And from top to bottom, what we see is a barrage of insults hurled at every facet of lifting.
If a chick does bikini, she's an idiot. Doesn't know how to train.
Mens physique competitors have no legs. Apparently they all served alongside Lt. Dan in The Nam and fell to a similar fate that he did.
Powerlifters are fat.
Bodybuilders are weak and narcissistic.
This woman is too manly.
That dude is too weak to talk about training and has never totalled X amount.
Show me someone that lifts, and I will show you a million people on the net read to tear them down.
Show me a facet of lifting, and I will show you a whole group ready to tear it to bits.
It's like we're all in prison ready to kill each other, and everyone in the free world is looking in from the outside going "ewwww, it sucks in there. Remind me never to do that....lifting thing."
Judgement is inescapable in this world. That's a harsh reality of life. And the net gives everyone who is on it a medium to judge, and judge unfairly if they choose to.
Now let me be clear, I'm not advocating we all participate in sucking each other's e-dicks all the time. It's not that at all. I just don't get the personal bullshit I see going on all the time now.
People should be open to criticism, but they should also be able to HANDLE criticism appropriately even if they deem it to be unfair. Let me give everyone a piece of advice here. If you put up a video on the net, you absolutely should not expect that everyone is going to love it, and tell you what a beast you are, and how hardcore you are, and that you had "9 more in you" when that last rep was a grinder.
There may indeed be criticism. I know, such is life. It's awful. I don't even say that sarcastically. I think I get a lot of unfair criticism fairly often. It's up to me what I decide to do with that. You know why? Because that's all that I have control over. So long as I write, lift, and/or make a video I have to acknowledge that there may be criticism associated with it. Even unfair, inappropriate, and unfounded criticisms. But hey, you gotta take the hate with the great.
More important than that though, is that I don't understand why as a whole, the lifting community can't just say "cool, that person is lifting." Isn't that AT LEAST something? I suppose it's not. I see this same human behavior regardless of what the association is.
"You're not a Christian! You don't worship Christ like I do!"
Sad, but true.
Maybe it's in our DNA to argue incessantly over nonsense. But isn't that what dating is for?
I just think it'd be cool if we could all just go "hey....they lift. Awesome."
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