American Whining

Joes Barbell
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Let me first say that I do appreciate Greg Everett’s work.  I have read his books, listened to his pod casts, and even tweeted him some video of myself and received fair criticism and useful cues.  Regarding his book, it was my most useful tool last year when I took eight weeks to program Weightlifting for myself and attempt to qualify for the American Open, which I did.    

Now, let me say this, I absolutely hated his documentary American Weightlifting.  I can’t recall ever being so let down by a film.  For months I have been following the trailers, checking the facebook page, and awaiting its release.  After watching the film, I literally couldn’t sleep (In fact, the lack of sleep is responsible for this –the missed jerk part, not the PR clean!).  Hated may be a strong word.  Truthfully, I did enjoy the stories of the individual coaches.  Hearing their stories regarding how they discovered the sport, participated, coached, and what their current efforts are regarding Weightlifting’s growth in this country was actually very much worth my time. 

It’s what was between those stories that I couldn’t tolerate.  Excuse, after whining crying excuse for why Americans aren’t currently competitive on the international Weightlifting scene.  We drug test our athletes year round, boo hoo.  No one watches us, insert tear here.  There isn’t any money behind the sport, wha whaa whaaa.  We have to train in garages, sniffle sniffle.  It’s a numbers game and we just don’t have the bodies.

The honest truth is that those are all pretty good reasons why we aren’t very good at Weightlifting compared to the best in the world.  Exposure is important in this country and the truth is that Weightlifting gets virtually none.  But, why would anyone watch a sport where the people running it don’t care enough about one of their premier events to ensure that the stage in which competitors compete remains intact.  Yeah, this past weekend’s American Open a platform fell apart (check out hookgrip’s instagram).  Coach Takano also hit it on the head when he said that American’s aren’t very good at things that don’t come with a big pay day.  Very true.  Maybe USAW needs to get to working on a sponsorship that benefits the competitors in the sport.  I know that is easier said than done but if people will pay to watch The Reebok CrossFit Games, why wouldn’t they check out Giant Shoe Company’s National Weightlifting Championship?  The CrossFit games have grown pretty quickly and I’m sure that has a lot to do with the purse. 

I just don’t like hearing excuses, especially in this country, where we are pretty much awesome at everything we put our full effort into.  American Weightlifting missed the mark 100% in my opinion because it mourned the fact that Weightlifting coaches in this country have pursued and accomplished what they have despite being at a disadvantage.  American Weightlifting 100% in my opinion could have been a completely different movie, using the same footage, if the stories of these coaches were celebrated rather than lamented.  Maybe they were.  Maybe it was the music.  Maybe it was the crying.  Maybe I’m just hyper critical but when I watched the movie I was sad and I have never been sad while Weightlifting.  My wife and kids don’t want to hear this but the best part of my day usually involves hooking up and moving fast, Weightlifting.     

So what is the answer to Americas Weightlifting problem?  In my opinion, which means nothing (my own wife doesn’t read this blog) it’s simple.  Let kids know that Weightlifting is out there.  Heck, if I had known I could have lifted weights and competed against people my own size, I probably would have tried it.  Instead, I was obsessed with football and spent my childhood beating my head against a wall and trying to get bigger for a sport I eventually would have to give up after college.  Don’t get me wrong I loved playing football during high school and college, but it’s not a life time pursuit for anyone, even the pros.  I didn’t know the sport of Weightlifting existed in this country until I was 27.  Well, my kiddos will grow up never not knowing what it is.  Mason, Charli even Luci may compete.  They may not, but, they’ll watch me compete, coach, and talk about it.  So all you Moms, dads, crossfitters who are hated by Weightlifting coaches (that’s another problem), whoever stands in front of kids and loves Weightlifting; it’s your duty to continue weightlifting, bring those kiddos with you, and just expose them to the sport.  I can’t say it’s a regret in my life, that I didn’t weightlift until my late 20’s, because I didn’t know it was an option.  I can say with supreme confidence it’s my biggest what if.  Make Weightlifting an option to kids by simply making it available and the numbers will come. 
The future of American Weightlifting.. charli and mason working with what’s at hand

Watch the film and make a call of your own.  Maybe I ate a bad piece of liver.  Maybe I missed something.  Maybe I’m over reacting.  You tell me.         

Don’t be a victim to your circumstances and continue building a better total