Opposition Is The Touchstone To Appreciation | Lift Heavy Run Long

When I was in a freshman in high school I received the news that my brother Ted, who was active in the Fine Arts Program, had been awarded the lead role as Curly in the play “Oklahoma” for the spring musical I was devastated. That is so stupid! Here I am an aspiring meathead, trying to build a reputation for everything contrary to what he is doing, and he was doing THIS! I was #mortified. Why in the fu*k would anybody want to subject themselves to that? To dance and sing in front of hundreds of people, I mean who gives a sh*t? This is my attitude toward most everything to which I don’t participate or understand. I didn’t want to understand, I just wanted to knock it. Today they call people like me a “hater” and haters are EVERYWHERE. Depending on the topic, most of us are capable of quickly transforming into a hater with great subtlety and little warning. As the Spring Musical grew closer, I felt a mounting mix of pity, anxiety, and sympathy for  that which Ted was about to subject himself. I mean these guys worked their asses off, but I’m not sure there was going to be much of a payout. School started at 7am, and 11Pm-midnight was his usual arrival time home after play practice. The evening arrived for me to  watch my brother’s very public demise, as he would gaily prance around and sing ridiculously stupid songs as the role of Curly. As I sat in the audience, wishing that I had a fake mustache, a low brim hat, and an invisible cloak, I saw the crowd flock to their seats. There was a HUGE turnout of supporters from our church’s youth group. I also spotted many of the elder classman meatheads from the football team, whom I looked up to with such great regard. The lights went down, the auditorium fell silent, and out from the speakers came the perfectly pitched serenade of that character named Curly. The place went nuts. Teenage kids from the church, if only for a moment, acted as if he was one of The Beatles, their enthusiasm gave everyone else in the audience permission to let loose and applaud with whistles peppered throughout. With a chill running down my spine and goosebumps down my arms, if only briefly, I had THAT feeling. The feeling I get on a football field, or weightroom, or when doing whatever hobbies I REALLY enjoy. When I get this feeling, their is only two things that I want to do. Those two things are these: 1. Break sh*t. 2. Holler muther fu*ker. I did neither of these, but damn, did I leave their with a new appreciation and understanding of why he did some of the things that he did, which I so vehemently opposed.

Fast forward about 10 years, I go to visit my lifelong best friend Michael Shelton, who is living in Boston, MA. Michael and I do a lot of things together, but our constant companions have always been Bud Light and Marlboro Lights. There ain’t nothing that we are gonna do together that doesn’t involve drinking and smoking. Upon arrival to his home, I look in the corner of his kitchen and there is some strange contraption that looks to be engineered for some sort of torture or travel. I ask the obvious question, and the conversation goes as such:

Me: “what the fu*k is that?”

Shelton: “It’s a bike. I’m training for a triathlon”

Me: “What the fu*k is a tryattawhatever, and why the fu*k did you buy a bike that ain’t even got no pedals.”

Shelton: “I really enjoy it, and it makes me feel good.”

Me: (lights cigarette. Takes 30% pull from my beer.) “That’s fu*king stupid.”

Well, after a few tryattawhatever’s,  I have a new understanding of why he did some of those things, which I so vehemently opposed.

About 7-8 years ago, I was laying in bed scrolling through facebook. I come across another one of my closest friends, Doug Terry, doing some unbelievably stupid crap. “What the hell is that?” I ask my ipad. Why in the world is a guy allowing himself to be caught on video doing some ridiculous looking chin-ups and throwing weights around? That’s stupid, and he is gonna get hurt. The next time we get together for a weekend outing of drinking beer and eat chicken wings, I’m gonna to talk him about these potential health risks. Turns out he was doing a lesser known fitness style referred to as CrossFit. CrossFitters are obnoxious, and the fact that they enjoy doing it often and build relationships is proof that you should hate it. I don’t like anything that changes one’s life, and I don’t appreciate seeing someone be happy. It makes me roll my eyes, and  makes me physically ill. IYes, there is a part of me that WANTS for someone to get injured so that I might ride high on the “I-told-you-so train”. I can’t just simply look away and ignore it, I have to make passive aggressive comments about it, and degrade others’ to my friends. These are all very true things about my nature. Well, I joined that CrossFit cult with the stupid-ass chinups, the cult-like friendships, and people chasing happiness even at the risk of inury. I have a new understanding of why he did some of those things, which I so vehemently opposed.

I often speak of my wife Amanda, and I have mentioned that I am willing to follow her anywhere. We are thick as thieves, but enjoy doing things apart as well. We have separate lives outside of each other, but I am willing to try things with her that I would not normally do in exchange for just spending time with her. Two Christmas’ ago she got tickets to the symphony. Well this was gonna be stupid, but I’m willing to go, if for no other reason than to see her get formally dressed. No one would argue that when Amanda is elegantly dressed, there is not a room in the world that doesn’t momentarily stand still when she enters (that’s not a compliment…that’s a fact). I can’t understand why grown men and women would dedicate their lives and most all of their time to play an instrument, only to be drowned out by other instruments. It’s basically just a huge honking session, where no one sound is more distinguishable than the next, at least it has been every time that I have half-assed paid any attention. I have been wrong before, but I’m pretty sure I know how this is about to go down. Well once again, Beefcake’s expectations were a little bit off. I’m not sure if you have ever heard the “Carol of the Bells” played by a full symphony orchestra….but that sh*t will lift up your undergarments and twist em into a sailor’s hat. As the intensity of the number increased, I literally felt like I was going to fall forward, outta my chair and onto the people in front of me. My fists were clinched, my jaws were locked, and I only wanted to do two things: 1. Break sh*t. 2. Holler muther fu*ker. It was intense. It was powerful. It was moving. I had a new perspective. I am not saying that I want to tour the world and attend countless symphonies. I’m not saying that I get online and plan the different concerts that I would like to attend this year. I am saying that I have a new respect for the people who participate, produce, and attend these types of events.  I have a new understanding of why they did some of those things, which I so vehemently opposed.

Runners are the worst. The most obnoxious of obnoxious. All they do is run, and if they are not running, they are talking about running. They look like idiots with their stupid outfits, and stickers on their car. I wish they knew how stupid they look, and what a waste of time it is. I have made the jokes that are used UNBELIEVABLY often in retort to someone who mentions running, “I don’t like to drive that far… I only run if something is chasing me…you ran that far on purpose?”. I’ve been a card carrying member of the running Hater’s Club. I have thumbed my nose at every social media post, and every mention of people getting together to run, accomplishing goals, and achieving some level of enjoyment out of life. I felt this way….right up until the point where I didn’t. After putting together 4 miles in a row one day, I was excited. I later ran with a group for 6 Miles! And then 8! I couldn’t get enough. A 10 miler, 25K, 18miler, and then a 50K, after that I kept playing with it until accomplishing a 50miler. During all of this running, my thoughts about runners changed. I guess you could say  I have a new understanding of why they did some of those things, which I so vehemently opposed.

The fitness food chain does not have an order of dominance established, but there does seem to be a standard level of hatred for the differing styles. It also seems that each area of fitness MUST be mutually exclusive if you are going to generate enough hate to be happy. The runners must oppose CrossFitters, the CrossFitters have to hate runners, and the power lifters are to like no one, so naturally all must hate lifters. If it sounds silly, it’s because it is, but I understand it perfectly. Now, not everyone feels this way, much of this is exaggerated and meant to be tongue-in-cheek. I don’t want you to picture a scene from The Outsiders where woman in booty shorts and men in Rogue shirts gather at the park to crow hop anyone in sweat-wicking running shirts, all the while weight lifters flex at the both of them, each with their cell phones prepared to post the fight to Instagram and FB as soon as they get the first picture that doesn’t make their ass look fat. I’m just saying that often times, when you get comfortable in one area of fitness it can be viewed as a faux pas to try another. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to hate just about all of them, so that I can respect each of them the way that I do today.

I have learned that “my way” is not very consistent. My needs change, my feelings change, my goals change, and my physical capabilities change. I am blessed to have so strongly expressed my ridiculous opinions regarding the choices that other people make with their life. Today, I want to celebrate whatever an individual wants to do with their life, or how they choose to pursue it. I want to continue to try new things, learn new things, and experience as many things as possible. I don’t want to pretend to act like I should know what interests other people should pursue in an effort to make me feel better about myself. I want to see people try new things even at the risk of injury, defeat, or failure. Ego’s cause more injury than anything else, but there is risk involved in every aspect of life. I hope to keep an open heart and open mind towards finding my next obsession, I’m sure it will be something I previously hated. Have a good day, and don’t take yourself too seriously. We will all die soon enough and won’t have to worry about what we look like in a bathing suit.

Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,

Beefcake