A Middle Aged Adolescent  (who cannot possibly be the only one) A Middle Aged Adolescent (who cannot possibly be the only one) - Page 29

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  1. #281
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    • wichita falls texas december seminar 2020
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    The body count is probably not much different from that of previous years, but when a big star like the Giants’ Saquon Barkley goes down with a season ending knee injury, sportscasters and fans take notice. This is Saquon (SAY kwon) - with the 405 power clean video that every high school football player has on his cell phone, Saquon with the massively muscular thighs and other ‘insane!’ off season training videos around the net. Nick Bosa, another star, one of the two dominant, monsters-of-the-weight-room, defensive line playing Bosa bothers, was also lost in the second week of the season. I saw the game in which Pittsburgh Steeler tackle Zach Banner went down, as well as the moment when Dallas tight end Blake Jarwin collapsed in a heap.
    ‘What is going on with ACL injuries?’ sportscasters wondered. Other stars like Christian McCaffrey and Jimmy Garappolo are out with different injuries, which has made the on-air conversations turn to whether a lack of a preseason meant players were not conditioned or ‘hardened’ for contact.
    I find myself intrigued by the ACL injuries, especially those of Barkley, Bosa, and Jarwin. I have some suspicions.

    Deep within the knee, the anterior cruciate ligament attaches inside the lateral notch of the distal femur. At the other end of an inward, downward slant, it blends with part of the medial meniscus at the top front of the tibia. The ACL is intended to resist anterior tibial translation - which is the shinbone moving forward relative to the thighbone - as well as internal tibial rotation, all for the sake of stability. The anterior cruciate ligament also has mechanoreceptors that sense movement, position, speed, acceleration, and tension. Damage to an ACL can be a catastrophic crack in the foundation of an athletic career.
    Try this if you’re at your desk: stand up, spread out your feet beyond shoulder width, and jump down into a linebacker’s ready stance. Looking down, if you see your big toes inside your knees, then you’re all set. While you’re there, let one of your legs roll inward, so that your knee cap appears to be inside your big toe. You’ll feel a bit of the twist, but this is the position in which anterior cruciate ligament tears most often happen.
    Blake Jarwin of the Cowboys was all by himself, running a pass route. He faked to the right, which meant that his right foot turned fairly far outward, yet he went left - planting hard on his right leg to change direction with that misalignment in his knee. When his femur turned as his shinbone stayed in place, the planting force attacked the ligament at the worst possible angle. Jarwin dropped like he was shot. 70 percent of ACL injuries do not involve contact.

    So wait: all you have to do is have your foot turned way out, or be in a knock-kneed position, plant and turn, and you’ll shred your ACL? How does this not happen more often? How did I go through a lifetime of backyard or schoolyard football and basketball, with all kinds of clumsy, careless leaping around, years of Judo - or even busting moves on the dance floor - and not have to get carted off at some point?
    Also, while I’m being irresponsible: Saquon Barkley is in numerous strength training videos on the net. At Penn State, he power cleaned 405 and had reasonably deep, free standing squat sets with 500-plus pounds. In more recent months, however, he’s been doing box squats and NOT getting below parallel. He’s neglecting his hamstrings, and ‘Sa-Quads’ has also decided that hex bar deadlifts are among his favorite exercises. He’s training partial ranges of motion.
    You can find videos of Saquon or other NFL stars ‘crushing’ their training, ‘preparing to dominate’ by partially squatting 585 to a bench with pads on it. I’d imagine that half the guys on this website could do that as well. I can see the MEN’S JOURNAL Instagram post: ‘Goofy Dads match NFL stars in lower body workout.’ Below that: ‘They’re probably making a point here, but experts don’t know what it is.’
    Nick Bosa, the 49’er defensive lineman, is a 265-plus pound muscular beast who squatted 500 pounds while still in high school. However, he elected to skip his final year at Ohio State in order to get ‘core surgery,’ and then prepare for an NFL career. If a guy had surgery somewhere deep in his gut or pelvis, what’s the first exercise he’s going to bag?
    Bosa tore his knee up as he was planted where he stood by an offensive lineman. His left leg, bent at the knee, was pinned beneath him. Dude, you haven’t been doing your squats.
    Football is a brutal game with infinite possible combinations of violent forces and awkward positions. Maybe these guys just got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Still, blowing off their squats is where the line of questioning would begin if we could wheel them into an interrogation room.

    For the sake of comparison, I decided to check out some videos of stars whose Hall of Fame careers depended upon their resilience. Barry Sanders, the great Detroit Lions running back, who also won the Heisman at Oklahoma State, was a master at bouncing off of hits, making jump cuts, spins, and feints as one of the greatest ever to play the game. In the highlight videos, as he changes directions in an instant, his feet never get out from underneath him. If he wants to fake right and go left, he won’t plant his right foot out and away as a brace. Instead, he’ll make a small jump with both feet and his hips to the right while his upper body leans left. As he weaves among defenders, he actually resembles a hockey player leaning to turn as he skates, his feet directly in line with his backbone and hips.
    Mike Webster, the Steeler center and Biblical figure, tended to run his opponents out of each play. He’d stay low and chug with his legs. If he decked them, he’d be happy to land right on top, or he’d keep on going, the logic being to get away from the flying bodies that could hit his knees in the chaos.
    Randy White, the great Dallas Cowboy defensive lineman, had strength to match Webster’s. He’s a martial arts guy as well, and in a video he demonstrates a ‘wax-on, wax-off’ maneuver to get a blocker’s hands away - but he goes on to say, ‘Turn your hips,’ in order to operate from a powerful - and safe - leverage.

    Saquon didn’t turn his hips. On a run to the right, having threaded through the line of scrimmage, he’s heading about 45 degrees away from straight upfield. A moment after breaking into daylight, he’s met by a Chicago defensive back who has an advantageous angle, if not overwhelming force. The Chicago guy’s plan is to run him out of bounds, but Saquon, wanting to sling him aside, plants his right foot as an outrigger. You can see it’s turned out too much. His knee caves inward, and he’s done.
    Saquon Barkley Torn ACL Injury vs. Bears | NFL Week 2 - YouTube

    According to THE JOURNAL OF ATHLETIC TRAINING, anterior cruciate ligament injuries number close to 200,000 every year. Surgery to repair them has become a billion dollar industry. Football is the leading cause for males; soccer, followed closely by basketball, creates the most injuries in females. ACL tears are a particular worry for female athletes. In the years following puberty, as leg bones get longer and hips wider - without the accompanying development of stabilizing muscle, the resulting ‘Q angle’ lends itself to an inward collapse of the knee.
    If surgery is a billion dollar industry, then rehabilitation and prevention have become so as well. A few pediatric or scientific foundations have published prevention protocols, which these sports training places are following, broadly - but lots of folks are getting in on the act, and this explains some of the nutty things seen on websites: kids crab-walking sideways with bands around their knees, the idea being to get them flexing anywhere but inward. Videos of the full protocol on YouTube are dull to the point of anesthetizing, but also almost comedically basic. Athletes jog a bit; they do lunges, ‘airplanes’ where they spread out their arms and balance on alternating legs, and sideways shuffles. Eventually they work up to sort of a ‘speed skater’ drill, where they leap sideways from one leg to the other, freezing in place in a sort of epic looking stride. In fairness, they do get to change of direction training, and I have to remind myself that this is a sign of the times, that coaches and trainers nowadays have to make up for a childhood of not playing hard outdoors the way their parents and grandparents did. That would mean that we taught ourselves, purely by chance and repetition, playing driveway hoop, ultimate frisbee, and army, to run our knees along the outer edges of our feet, the way that young athletes are being guided today - for 100 dollars an hour.
    In its extreme form, this neurological training can be seen in a video in which New Orleans Saints back Alvin Kamara balances on a bosu ball and on command catches particular colored ends of flying three-spoked batons. With a great number of ‘unanticipated reactions and movement perturbations,’ a trainer says, ‘the athlete is forced to react quickly to maintain joint stability.’ Hmmm: his proprioception programmed thoroughly, Alvin Kamara would never wind up in an ungainly position the way Saquon did.

    (Continued below)

  2. #282
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    (from above)

    Let’s just tie these joints together with strong friggin’ muscles, you’re saying. Hurry up, dude. Let’s get back to squats.
    I hear you. My casual internet scan on the subject reveals varying levels of sophistication. One idea that pops up, often without explanation, is that injuries frequently occur in athletes whose quad muscles are stronger than their hamstrings. Strengthen your hams, they say, but it appears that experts arrived at this recommendation in backwards fashion, noticing comparatively weak hams among surgery patients. Only some of them explain that hamstrings are immensely powerful muscles that tie into the back of the tibia and reinforce the role of the ACL.
    Now we’re back in familiar territory. Legend has it that Barry Sanders, who only made it to 5’8” and 200 pounds, was a very unimpressive high school freshman at 5 feet and 105 pounds, benching 95 when he first headed to the weight room. As a Detroit Lion, he was a cannonball, squatting 565, benching 360, and power cleaning 365. His deadlift was not listed, but 565 and 365 would suggest at least a 650 dead and hamstrings that were probably pretty useful. All that power went into changes of direction that flouted physics, or it laid shots on the defenders who did bring him down.
    Some coaches on the net are pretty good. One guy, pulling at blockers with bands around their waists, instructs, ‘When you’re getting bent over sideways, out of position, get your ass down and behind you again, so you can take on his force.’
    Exactly, Webster and White would agree. That’s an orientation Saquon Barkley and Nick Bosa would seem to have forgotten, as well as a strength they’ve lost.
    Barry Sanders never spiked the ball or did a touchdown dance. He’d just toss the ball to the referee. ‘This isn’t my first time in the end zone,’ was the message, ‘and it won’t be the last.’

    (5, 3, & 2 and 3, 2, 1 rotation)
    Week of: 10/5/20 3 and 2 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat: 4 sets of 3 Tom 402.5
    2. Romanian deadlifts: 2x5; 2x2 365, 405
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) light JC 75 - 95
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Inclined bench press: 3 sets of 5 Tom 205
    2. Bench press: 4 sets; 2x 5, 225, add 50#: 2 sets of 2
    3. 5 sets of 10 Hanging rows
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 8
    Conditioning (second session)
    sled pull 2 miles; 20, 0 (and six 50-yard runs)

    THURSDAY
    1. Deadlift: work up to a set of 2* reps Tom 505
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 450
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 2 sets of 5, 350; 2 sets of 3 with chains 360
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Inclined Bench Press: (10 sets of 3) Tom 162.5, mini bands
    2. Press: 4 sets Tom 162.5 - 182.5
    3. Pull ups (5x10)
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 8
    5. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    swim 1 mile `

  3. #283
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    ‘Did you see that guy who stopped to watch you?’ my wife asked the other night. ‘When you and Mick were practicing, he stood next to his car and was watching for a while. He had never seen that before.’
    I did notice a guy who had come to our neighbor’s house to pick up a bike, which he snapped onto a rack on the back of his SUV. A buddy and I were practicing our combatives. We had some mats out on the grass and were too busy trying to tear each other’s heads off to notice much else.

    A few months ago I wrote about our little combatives group. We had met during a seminar put on by a big shot in the business, and since then we’d get together on weekends to work on various skills. If we’re doing anything right, it’s that we’re pressure testing ideas all the time by way of actual fighting, either boxing or grappling, often in armor, since the collisions and the sheer power of the elbows and knees involved gets pretty dangerous.
    We had identified a progression fights tend to follow, which we study as phases, each with its own set of particular skills:
    1. Fisticuffs - at a distance
    2. The Collision
    3. Flanking, or moving into a position of advantage
    4. Takedown
    5. Ground work
    Ideally, as I learned from the Sambo guys, a fight should be a process of constantly gaining advantage, not just engaging on equal terms. It might start that way, if someone starts taking swings at you in a parking lot. At the very least, you should hold your own. Maybe you’ll get a shot in and press the advantage from there.
    If not, and the boxing’s not going your way, a crash, which is an elbow intensive, full bodyweight battering ram, can overpower his punching. Maybe then you’ve got him staggered and have turned the tables - or if that didn’t work, and you’ve managed to gain some separation, it’s time to go running.

    A well executed crash, which is a powerful drop step lunge with a roundhouse clubbing forearm or a driving, pointed elbow - as if you’ve just racked a power clean, although you’re protecting your head - usually has a dramatic effect. The other day, in front of our audience, we were exploring what happens when a crash doesn’t go so well. The short answer is that you’re in another stalemate, a stand-up grapple where whoever is faster, meaner, stronger, or luckier will win.
    Yes, there are elbows, hooks, and knees to be thrown, and maybe even a throw or a duck-under, but nothing is very effective if you’re not controlling the other guy’s center of gravity, which is nearly impossible to achieve in an all-out struggle.
    You have to be constantly gaining advantage. Fights have to be asymmetrical.
    What that guy saw us doing was grappling a bit with honest effort before slowing down to consider the dirtier options, and then strapping up with armor to whale the crap out of one another like Rock-‘Em-Sock-‘Em Robots, which is what happens to the best laid plans.

    I’m flattered that this guy was intrigued enough to watch. Hopefully, what he saw was that we were engrossed in what we were doing, laughing and trading insults as we rassled, or stopping to consider ideas here and there. What intrigues a man more, knowing how to thrash an enemy or embrace a friend?

    (5, 3, & 2 and 3, 2, 1 rotation)
    Week of: 10/12/20 2 and 1 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat: 3 sets of 2: Tom 432.5
    2. Romanian deadlifts: 4 sets of 5 reps 365
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) light JC 75 - 95
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Inclined bench press: 3 sets of 2 Tom 225
    2. Bench press: 2 sets of 8 Tom 227.5, then add 50# 2 sets of 1-2 chains
    3. 5 sets of 10 Hanging rows
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 8
    Conditioning (second session)
    sled pull 2 miles; 20, 0 (and six 50-yard runs)

    THURSDAY
    1. Deadlift: work up to a set of 1* reps Tom 522.5
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 470
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 2x5 350; 2x2 387.5
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Inclined Bench Press: (10 sets of 2) Tom 165, mini bands
    2. Press: 4 sets: Tom 165-185
    3. Pull ups (5x10)
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 5
    5. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    swim 1 mile

  4. #284
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    When I was in high school, the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED writer E.M. Swift came to speak to a journalism class I was in. I’m sure it was an hour long presentation, but through the years only one moment has stuck with me, though very strongly. In fact, I can picture exactly where he was standing as he said this.
    ‘These people are not normal,’ he explained about the stars he profiled or interviewed week after week. ‘They’re not regular folks like you and me. They are driven, to the exclusion of other things in their lives. Did you guys read that piece on Wayne Gretzky I did a few months ago?’
    Of course we all did. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED was an institution, the preeminent, definitive weekly sports magazine, to which we all had a subscription. Really, it was the only weekly sports magazine of that era, the third pillar of the then TIME-LIFE publishing empire. Its articles wrapped up events in all the major sports, and its extended features detailed the stars or issues of the day.
    On another occasion we met Douglas Looney, who described his writing process: pulling an all nighter in his hotel room after the NBA game he just saw, and then phoning the office in New York in the morning to dictate his story to a secretary. Obviously, somebody’s Dad was a big shot at TIME-LIFE to get these guys to come in, but this was like having Howard Cosell or Muhammad Ali visit. They were heavyweights in American culture, shaping the narrative that formed our view of the world.
    ‘OK, so here’s the thing,’ Swift confided. ‘I had to massage that piece [on Gretzky] a little. There really wasn’t much to him. This is a kid whose father fired pucks around the boards during drills in their backyard rink everyday - for years. He’s a hockey machine, though at the expense of his personality. I had to spice the story up a bit.’

    I found that October 12, 1981 piece online, in the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Vault. Swift walks a very fine line, putting the best possible face on an unsophisticated teenager catapulted to fame as the star of the Edmonton Oilers. He’s under the protection of his agent, as well as his visiting mother and sister. “‘I’m not big on independency,’ he says.’’
    In Gretzky’s defense, he was SO young that he did his growing up in the years he was considered a national hero. Swift does drop a few hints regarding immaturity: not only Gretzky’s lack of size but a lack of worldliness despite being famous for some time already; a girlfriend who craves attention, and an overriding desire to please his father, who prepared him for this opportunity.
    I always remembered Swift’s point, however: elite athletes are bent, driven, and not normal people.

    Most of us understand this as we plan our lives around workouts or have to explain ourselves to acquaintances who fail to see the appeal of heavy iron. A definitive sense of purpose is pretty deep stuff, however, especially if we haven’t put our finger on exactly what ours is. We lift to . . . be, to achieve, to experience, to become . . . . something. We should probably take stock of this once in a while.

    It’s easier to see purpose - or lack thereof - in others. NFL quarterback Tom Brady has gathered his receivers for extra workouts throughout his career. Upon his move to Tampa Bay in the Spring, he and a few of his new teammates headed to the park but were soon rounded up by the cops for violating coronavirus restrictions. Brady went home and picked up the phone to call a nearby private school, happily renting time on one of their fields, which is private property.
    When positive coronavirus tests mandated a shutdown of operations for the Tennessee Titans, quarterback Ryan Tannehill and a handful of receivers similarly started working out at a private school field. They had no choice, they felt.
    In Washington, the young, starting quarterback Dwayne Haskins has not only been benched but given an express pass to third string status. A few days after the initial story broke, a small article appeared in THE WASHINGTON POST with an apparent scoop: the team was not pleased by his lack of effort in or out of practice. He had been approached and urged along by at least one veteran player, to no avail. The results in games have spoken for themselves. This is not college ball anymore, Brady and Tannehill would tell him. You can’t just throw rainbows and let your receivers run underneath them. NFL ball is a precise, split-second business, and if you don’t keep those skills sharp, you’re done.

    This is all a long way of backing into the thought that crossed my mind as I read about Haskins. I’m just speculating, of course - but - if he’s not just young and dumb, thinking he’s hot stuff, then maybe he is done. Maybe he’s seen enough of the game to decide he doesn’t have the stomach for the fight. If he doesn’t have a purpose, a personal sense of ‘Why’ he’s playing this game, then he can’t be driven in his pursuit.
    The day Wayne Gretzky shed his father’s ambitions for his own was the day he had done most of his growing up. Similarly, each one of us getting under the bar should be able to say why. What is your purpose in getting strong?

    I’ve had to back into this answer as well. Being strong is my way to be capable and healthy, but this ain’t easy: whether it’s old age or being at the top of the slope of my potential, progress has slowed. Physically, I have to gut out limit sets, since anything else is wasting time, and mentally, I have to figure out the programming that will work best.
    That meets the criteria for being driven, which then I can turn around to identify my purpose by filling in this sentence: ‘I’m knocking myself out because ______________.’
    I’m knocking myself out because I want to be a living example and subject matter expert in elite performance. (You should be able to say it in a single sentence.)
    I want to know that I’ve topped the Everest of my potential in an activity that has defined my identity since I was 14. This is also an important metaphor for excellence in other aspects of my life, personal and professional.
    That’s the lesson in the stories about Wayne Gretzky and Dawyne Haskins. It’s OK to be bent, driven, and not normal, as long as you have a good reason for it.

    (5, 3, & 2 and 3, 2, 1 rotation)
    Week of: 10/19/20 5 and 3 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat: 5, 5, 1, 1; with 80, 90% 377.5, 435
    2. Romanian deadlifts: 2x5 reps; 2x2; 365, 405
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) light JC 75 - 95
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Inclined bench press: 3 sets of 8 Tom 187.5
    2. Bench press: 2 sets of 5 Tom 230; add 50 lbs - 2x1 or 2
    3. 5 sets of 10 Hanging rows
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 8
    Conditioning (second session)
    sled pull 2 miles; 20, 0 (and six 50-yard runs)

    THURSDAY
    1. Deadlift: work up to a set of 3* reps Tom 477.5
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 430
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 4 sets of 5 Tom 340 chains
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Inclined Bench Press: (10 sets of 2-3) Tom 165, including chains
    2. Press: 2 x 5 reps; 2x2 167.5, 187.5
    3. Pull ups (5x10)
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 5
    6. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    swim 1 mile

  5. #285
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    IN THE NEWS: The original Santa and Rudolph puppets from the 1964 classic Christmas show RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER are going up for auction. Created by a master puppet maker and used in the stop-motion production made in Japan, they’ve passed through a number of owners over the years but are still expected to fetch somewhere between 150 and 250 thousand dollars.
    These are American icons. I had to explain to my spoiled kids that they’re privileged to have the show on DVD. When I was their age, the world simply stopped the night ‘Rudolph’ came on TV, as every year America’s youth - from Kindergarten through high school - rejoined these old friends for their lessons on friendship, growing up, and the spirit of Christmas.
    In a masterstroke of emotional, dramatic irony, ‘Rudolph’ also managed probably the greatest cutaway shot in the history of film. On the Island of Misfit Toys, it’s Christmas Eve, yet even after the chance visit from Rudolph, Herbie, and Yukon Cornelius had raised everyone’s hopes, the prospect for finding real homes looks bleak once more. The Charlie-in-the-Box, Spotted Elephant, and Dolly for Sue, completely oblivious to all the crazy miracles that went Rudolph’s way, are gathered around a fire in the cold. The snow falls. Despair hangs in the silence.
    ‘Well, it’s Christmas Eve, but . . . ‘
    ‘Looks like we’re forgotten again.’
    ‘But Rudolph promised we’d go this time.’
    Charlie laments, his voice breaking, ‘Oh, I guess the storm was too much for them.’
    We cut to a view of the night sky, a fast moving light, and the faintest shaking of bells: Santa’s sleigh! - inbound, 30 seconds from their joyous rescue - but still too far away for them to realize it.
    The fate of these national treasures is now another thing we have to worry about over these next two weeks. If ever there were a time for someone like Tom Hanks or Oprah Winfrey to stroke a check and have these two sent to the Smithsonian, this is it.

    This comes in conjunction with another news story, a WASHINGTON POST profile of Maryland resident Martin Goldsmith, who’s just gained possession of a 16th Century brass, bronze, and iron kettle which had once belonged to his family. As Jews in Oldenburg, Germany in the early 1930’s, they were forced to unload their home and possessions for next to nothing. Two children from that family managed to escape; the rest of the family were killed. Goldsmith, the son of one escapee, worked with an expert who specializes in returning property looted by the Nazis.
    For years, Goldsmith kept his heritage at arm’s length. When he changed his mind, he plunged into the subject, having his Bar Mitzvah at age 55, visiting Oldenburg, and writing two books about his family, one of which is being made into a documentary film. Still, the strongest connection to the grandparents he never met came in the form of that ancient kettle. Every night before bed he touches it - something they had touched - as if to say goodnight to his family.

    Apparently, it was quite the emotional moment when that kettle arrived on Goldsmith’s doorstep. That must be something, holding an object like that and imagining the lives, hands, and events that have swirled around it through the years. Artifacts can provide the crowning touches to defining one’s heritage. In learning history, we come to understand how we wound up where we are. Identity is then making an informed choice on whom we’re going to be. You could put on your father or grandfather’s shoulder boards once you make rank, or you can contemplate the shackles that enslaved your ancestors and decide to break free of the ones in your own life.

    Santa and Rudolph belong in a museum, so we can all remember those nights sitting crosslegged on the floor as we watched them. Our more private keepsakes should be where we can lay hands on them once in a while, to maintain connections to moments or people that are no longer with us. In my gym, this is a pair of 85-pound flywheels, weights from my high school weight room, which was not only a safe haven for growing up but also a surprisingly elite training center, I would later come to appreciate.
    As I load them on the bar, I think of all the greatness they’ve witnessed. I’m reminded: live in such a way that someone will want to keep a piece of you someday.

    (5, 3, & 2 and 3, 2, 1 rotation)
    Week of: 10/26/20 3 and 2 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat: 4 sets of 3 Tom 405
    2. Romanian deadlifts: 2x5; 2x2 365, 405
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) light JC 75 - 95
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Inclined bench press: 3 sets of 5 Tom 207.5
    2. Bench press: 4 sets; 2x 5, 232.5, add 50#: 2 sets of 2
    3. 5 sets of 10 Hanging rows
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 8
    Conditioning (second session)
    sled pull 2 miles; 20, 0 (and six 50-yard runs)

    THURSDAY
    1. Deadlift: work up to a set of 2* reps Tom 507.5
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 450
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 2 sets of 5, 350; 2 sets of 3 with chains 360
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Inclined Bench Press: (10 sets of 3) Tom 137.5 with chains
    2. Press: 4 sets Tom 167.5 - 187.5
    3. Pull ups (5x10)
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 8
    5. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    swim 1 mile

  6. #286
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    ‘A good friend will come bail you out of jail, but a best friend will be in there with you.’
    Even a bench clearing brawl, complete with ejections, suspensions, and fines would have been a win in one sense. Even if they lost the game, their fans would have been happy, provided they played with some vengeance. Neither happened. These guys are missing a hero, the leader around whom they could rally, and this past Sunday, when a critical ‘mobilizing event’ presented itself, they did not coalesce into a team.

    I’m talking about the Dallas Cowboys. In their glory years, they were ‘America’s Team,’ and usually they’re right in the thick of the playoff hunt, a quality organization that fans around the country either loved or loved to hate. Recent years, however, have spiraled from mediocrity to struggles for relevance, and all the way to plain awful this season. Sportscasters have been aghast at the poor effort put in by their defense. The offensive line is a patchwork of inexperienced back-up players and practice squad members replacing veterans that have been injured or taken their talents elsewhere. Consequently, they can’t block for the backs or protect the quarterback - where the news has been particularly bad. The much loved Dak Prescott, who turned in heroic efforts despite all the difficulties, had his season ended a few weeks ago by a grisly ankle fracture. His replacement was former Cincinnati Bengal Andy Dalton, which gets us to that transformative opportunity that was missed.
    It was the Third Quarter, as Dallas was being mauled 22-3 by the Blessed Sacrament Girls’ School for the Blind - or, hang on, the Washington Football Team, when Dalton and the offense were pinned against their own end zone. Finding no receivers open on a play, Dalton had to run for it. As defenders converged, Dalton elected to slide, an allowance in the rules that marks him down on the spot and spares him from being hit. This all happened very fast: Dalton’s sprint and slide as well as Washington linebacker Jon Bostic’s charge right at him. However, as Dalton dropped, so did Bostic, leading with a head and shoulder that caught Dalton right in the face mask.
    That was the first impact, followed a split second later by Dalton’s head hitting the ground - and then bouncing between Bostic and the ground yet again, vibrating like a trapped ball. Dalton’s helmet was torn off, and he lay crumpled, unconscious.
    No one on the Dallas team reacted, other than to look down at Dalton in shock.
    Anywhere else, an illegal shot on a quarterback would not go unpunished. Players - plural - would grab that linebacker and start swinging. The benches would empty as the brawl spills across the field, and the refs would have to throw the offender out of the game for his own safety as much as the rules violation. A team’s message would be clear: you do one of us wrong, we’re all coming.
    As surprised as the referees, entire Washington bench, and TV viewers across the country might have been, the lack of reaction makes perfect sense. The moment was a giant diffusion of responsibility. Each of those Dallas linemen, who barely knew the other guys on the team, quickly figured, ‘It’s not my place,’ to do anything.

    Why is this interesting? It’s because we’ve been here before. This isn’t so much about the Dallas Cowboys as it is the narratives we take for granted. The Cowboys - at best - are a work in progress, but more importantly, they represent a story in progress, one with elements that could conceivably make for a rippin’ yarn.
    Specifically, this would fall into the ‘Ragtag Bunch of Misfits’ template, according to the website TVTropes.org. You’ve seen this in tons of war movies like DEVIL’S BRIGADE or THE DIRTY DOZEN, though more interesting is the fact that the United States owes its existence to a pack of limping, frozen, malnourished losers who stuck with George Washington at Valley Forge.
    The Ragtag Bunch of Misfits is typically the best - though that’s not saying much - really, the only team that can be thrown together in difficult circumstances. ‘There simply isn’t anyone else;’ they’re expendable and expected to fail - mainly because they’re already considered defective; they’ve failed elsewhere or committed crimes. In fact, their impossible mission might guarantee them a pardon, but it doesn’t matter if they don’t come back. They won’t be missed.
    They’re not entirely condemned. In fact, they might even be The Chosen Ones who end up saving the day when no one else can. However, this would first require the emergence of a ‘Magnetic Hero,’ a leader with such personal magnetism that he can convince others to join him in his quest. This is at the core of the Arturian legends. Arthur is a hero with no deeds to his name, yet he gathers knights for his Round Table because of an implied power of ‘Heart’ - best described as a nobility of spirit or a clarity of purpose. Other heroes come with street cred.
    A ‘Mobilization Moment’ must occur. Henry V gave his ‘We few, we happy few, We band of brothers’ speech moments before the battle of Agincourt. This is the bar room brawl in DEVILS’ BRIGADE, where finally, despite their differences and general uselessness, the dysfunctional group transforms into a well oiled machine. Enemy asses start getting kicked. The final mission goes down, and it’s an improbable success.

    Burt Reynold’s gritty 1974 movie THE LONGEST YARD is by far the best football version of this story and should be appreciated for its phenomenal collection of genuine tough guys on screen - actors like the intimidating Robert Tessier alongside former NFL and collegiate players, including Ray Nitschke and Sonny Sixkiller, as well as actual Georgia State convicts who were used as players.
    People will be more familiar with Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman’s THE REPLACEMENTS, a lightweight affair in comparison, which aimed for easy laughs and a lower browed audience. In both cases, however, the writers knew what they were doing. In THE LONGEST YARD, the prisoners truly have nothing to lose in taking on the guards’ semi-pro team. Their existence otherwise is time, boredom, and subjugation. In THE REPLACEMENTS, as they filled in for striking NFL players, our misfits confess to a fear of having to go back to their regular lives: the mini-mart, the shipyard, and in one case, prison.

    The plight of the Dallas Cowboys reminds us that to appreciate the triumph of a band of misfits, we must first understand the truly wretched circumstances in which they begin. I’m a big fan of tales of awesomeness, probably because I have much of the progression already hard-wired: get a plan, and put in the work.
    These are hardly examples of derelicts overcoming stupendous odds, but just this week Special Boat Service commandos stormed a supertanker and captured a number of stowaways-turned-pirates who posed a threat to the southern English coast. The head of the Oxford University coronavirus vaccine program stated that medical personnel and high risk patients could be getting inoculations by Christmas. The people who win the victories we need are the ones who’ve put in the work.
    Even the most unlikely heroes have a shot at greatness. Sometimes, though, the process doesn’t get going. The elements come together, but there’s no spark to make them burn.

    (8, 5, & 2 and 3, 2, 1 rotation)
    Week of: 11/2/20 2 and 1 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat: 3 sets of 2: Tom 435
    2. Romanian deadlifts: 4 sets of 5 reps 365
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) light JC 75 - 95
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Inclined bench press: 3 sets of 2 Tom 227.5
    2. Bench press: 2 sets of 8 Tom 227.5, then add 50# 2 sets of 1-2 chains
    3. 5 sets of 10 Hanging rows
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 8
    Conditioning (second session)
    sled pull 2 miles; 20, 0 (and six 50-yard runs)

    THURSDAY
    1. Deadlift: work up to a set of 1* reps Tom 522.5
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 470
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 2x5 350; 2x2 392.5
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Inclined Bench Press: (10 sets of 2) Tom 140, chains
    2. Press: 4 sets: Tom 170-190
    3. Pull ups (5x10)
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 5
    5. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    swim 1 mile

  7. #287
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    Dec 2015
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    Washington, DC
    Posts
    275

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    I am in receipt of two items from my old Prep school. One’s the quarterly alumni magazine, and the other is a letter from the new president. The combination has me worried.
    The emailed letter from the president is an announcement that the Principal will be leaving next June, after only three years, returning to the school from which he came. This has traumatized the president: ‘I know many of you will share the same initial desolation that I felt when I received this news. However, I also know that, in time, our tears of sadness will turn to tears of consolation for [this guy and his family] as they return home to [Southtown, U.S.A.]’
    Desolation? Tears? What in the world are ‘tears of consolation?’
    He goes on: ‘It is a hallmark of Jesuit education to form leaders who serve, not for themselves, but for the greater glory of God. It is also a tenet of Ignatian discernment to follow the movements of the heart with great care and detachment, and ultimately to act in spiritual freedom. I know [our guy] made his decision with great difficulty as he has come to love [our school] as much as we have come to love him for his shining example of servant leadership. [He] is a true man for and with others.’
    Oh, barf. This is laying it on pretty thick.
    ‘[His] contributions . . . in three short years are legion.’ The president lists a bunch of them, which sound largely like nonsense and filler, including the idea that he ‘has renewed our beloved faculty and cheered them on.’ At best, ‘renewed’ is a spiritual buzzword that happens to be weak in that sentence. At worst, it’s disingenuous. One beloved faculty member died recently, which was indeed a big deal, and another just retired, the latest in a list of legendary old teachers - including my weight lifting coach - whose salaries had started getting a little large over the years.
    The correct phrase should be, ‘He has replaced our beloved faculty . . . ‘
    ‘I also know that as a man of highest integrity and character, [Dude] will lead [the ol’ Alma Mater] as our passionate principal to the last hour of his last day.’
    ‘Our passionate principal?’ Mr. President, one of your passionate predecessors has been retired to a community home for priests found guilty of sexual abuse, by way of allegations tied to years prior to his coming to our school. ‘Passionate?’ Hit the thesaurus.

    It might not seem like it, but I do have enough of an Ignatian trained soul to understand that the departure of a colleague can be difficult and even tearful. I don’t begrudge the president his personal reaction at all. My issue is that with all this overwrought language, he’s trying to narrate our reaction to this news, which is manipulative and untrustworthy.
    He’s tampering with the basis of our transaction with the school, which is how we understand the events that formed us - emotionally and otherwise. He’s also revealing some disturbing things about how he’ll run the place in the future. Is he really fooling anyone with all this carrying on? My worst fear is that he’s playing to an overly anxious generation of helicopter parents, making the the school a ‘safe space.’ This risks spawning a generation of wussies who rely on praise and reassurance in order to succeed. The opposite risk is that if these kids happen to be red-blooded, normal teenagers, they’re not going to buy into this tone at all, and the common ground between students and staff will be severely diminished. Also, Dude, you’ve been here four months, and you’re bursting into tears over colleagues’ professional plans?

    It would be naive of me to think that the alumni don’t have to be handled in some way. A recent capital campaign has just built a gigantic, state of the art science center, so as much as the gang in the development office might roll their eyes from time to time, they really can’t complain. The facilities for academics, athletics, and the arts are all top-tier, and from what I read in the magazine, we’re doing a pretty good job sporting scholarships for underprivileged students.
    This should indicate to the president that this is not a bunch of cupcakes he’s dealing with. The school made us semi-capable members of society - precisely because it was NEVER a safe space or an actively - ‘passionately’ - nurturing environment. Decades ago, the billing that it was a Catholic boys’ prep school was all parents needed to know. When we showed up as wide eyed children, we quickly grasped that we had to measure up somehow to everything taking place around us. The sports teams were legendary. Parents and alumni were captains of industry. One classmate’s father was a Congressman. The seniors, who had cars and girlfriends, got into top colleges, and visited places like the Stock Market and the White House, were farmed out to teach in schools in a nearby depressed city, a requirement for social service hours. They - and later we - were great at it.
    Even the crimes were epic. One day a freshman classmate was in a bathroom negotiating a drug deal with a pair of upperclassmen. Little did they know that in a stall, taking care of business, was one of those legendary teachers, the Bear Bryant figure of a football coach. He stood up, put himself back together quietly, flushed the toilet, and hauled these kids down to the front office, where they were immediately expelled. In the late 70’s, the era of a blue haze rising over campus everyday anyway, they had to be working out something on the level of the Lufthansa heist to earn that swift judgment.
    Also freshman year, the door to my Algebra class flew open one afternoon, and a kid announced, ‘Hey, there’s a fire,’ while behind him we could see the reflection of flames in the varnish of the wooden door. Somebody had thrown a cigarette into locker full of trash. As we all bailed out a side door onto the lawn, he turned around, pulled the paper out of the locker, and stomped it out shortly before every fire truck in New England arrived.
    The events seared into memory seemed to shake the Earth around us. There were fights. Freshmen got wedgies. A friend used to keep a PLAYBOY magazine in his binder, and as he sat in the front row of class, every time the teacher turned toward the board, he’d hoist the centerfold overhead for the benefit of everyone behind him. Two Popes died in rapid succession, though we couldn’t care less. We got the days off. Every year, the school would hold a fundraising bash and hit up the parents for contributions to be auctioned off. The parents of one kid offered a fancy bottle of special reserve Canadian Club Whisky. Sensibly, they gave it to the kid to deliver to school. At lunchtime, he pulled it out of his backpack, passed it around, and then polished off the remainder. We had all gone inside for Fifth Period, when one of the teachers happened to glance out the window and see him weaving around the front lawn and collapsing into a heap in the falling snow. They called an ambulance; he had to go to the hospital and get his stomach pumped. It was awesome. Kids flunked out and disappeared all year long, every year. I nearly did at one point. There was no safety net. You had tremendous opportunity to succeed in one area or another, but if you couldn’t cut it, you just weren’t made to run in fast company.
    In the magazine that arrived a week or two ago was a retrospective of the school’s basketball program, which every so often gave rise to a championship team. In the 40’s and 50’s, long before the school had a gym, the team played at a nearby Knights of Columbus hall, where they shared the locker room with a ‘bunch of cigar smoking professional wrestlers.’ I’d wager that this wouldn’t meet the criteria for a ‘safe space’ nowadays. These kids either had to tread carefully, or this was where they were treated to their first experiences with cigars and Canadian Club, under proper supervision.

    I wouldn’t want to be a school administrator in the midst of a pandemic, especially at a private college charging 60 or 70 thousand dollars a year for online classes as parents get wise to the fact that their kids can get these credits through a state school for a tenth of the price. Private high schools must be well aware of a similar reality, and that the idea of a nurturing community is a fiction in a time of remote learning.
    Don’t worry, Mr. President. We all made it through, despite some epic flame-outs along the way. We built a solid house, and it’ll be fine. Give us a little more credit than that letter of yours might indicate. If you were a kid who whined to us like that 41 years ago as we passed around a bottle of Canadian Club, you would have gotten your ass kicked.

    (5, 3, & 2 and 3, 2, 1 rotation)
    Week of: 11/9/20 5 and 3 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat: 5, 5, 1, 1; with 80, 90% 380, 437.5
    2. Romanian deadlifts / rack pulls: 2x5 reps; 2x2; 365, 405
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) light JC 75 - 95
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Inclined bench press: 3 sets of 8 Tom 190
    2. Bench press: 2 sets of 5 Tom 197.5 chains; add 50, 2x1
    3. 5 sets of 10 Hanging rows
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 8
    Conditioning (second session)
    sled pull 2 miles; 20, 0 (and six 50-yard runs)

    THURSDAY
    1. Deadlift: work up to a set of 3* reps Tom 480
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 432.5
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 4 sets of 5 Tom 340 chains
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Inclined Bench Press: (10 sets of 2-3) Tom 140, including chains
    2. Press: 2 x 5 reps; 2x2 170; 190
    3. Pull ups (5x10)
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 5
    6. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    swim 1 mile
    Last edited by Nunedog; 11-06-2020 at 07:56 AM.

  8. #288
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    275

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    ‘[T]his is my son Brayden,’ the father says with his hand on the boy’s shoulder.
    ‘Hey, Brayden. How are you, man?’
    ‘We’re here because he stutters. He wanted to hear you speak.’
    This changes everything for candidate Joe Biden. The setting is New Hampshire in the days before the February primary. He’s no longer working the closely pressed crowd but putting his arm around the boy. ‘Aw, man. Come on,’ he says sympathetically.
    Biden switches his grip to the 13 year old’s shoulder so he can bend close and look at him. ‘I tell you what: don’t let it define you. You are smart as Hell; now, you really are. You can do this.’


    This was before a lot of voters appreciated how Joe Biden knows some things about personal difficulty. In 1972, he was greeted with the news that while out Christmas shopping his family had been broadsided by a tractor trailer. His wife, aged 30, and his 13-month old daughter were killed. His two little sons were in the hospital with multiple injuries.
    In 2015, one of those sons, Joe III, who went by ‘Beau’ and had become Delaware’s Attorney General as well as a Major in the National Guard, died of brain cancer, another crushing heartbreak at a time life had seemed so promising. Through some combination of religious faith, family support, and determination, Biden once again clawed his way out of the depths of despair.
    I’m putting my money on determination as the critical factor. When he was the age of Brayden Harrington, the boy in New Hampshire, he too was the victim of a dreadful stutter. He still has it; you can see him short circuit occasionally when he speaks, but as a kid, he put in the time to tackle it, studying poetry and teaching himself to find the structure and music of language.

    ‘Can I get a phone number for you, and I can tell you what I used to do - and how I would do it?’ Biden continues. He gestures quickly to a nearby aide. ‘Can you take his phone number - because there are about 25 stutterers I continue to work with . . . I can tell you the things that helped me.’

    This is getting ahead of the story, but these quotes are from a video shot at the rope line of a campaign stop. Biden evidently decided not to put things off; after the speeches were done, he invited Brayden to join him in the building’s conference room, where he produced a paperback of works by William Butler Yeats and explained that the whole ballgame is reading poetry aloud and learning how to mark the text to separate phrases and highlight stresses.
    Brayden gave away these secrets a few months later, as he found himself facing actress Julia Louise Dreyfus and a national television audience as he spoke LIVE during the virtual Democratic National Convention. He had to tough it out through a few words, but otherwise he was a changed man from that first video. Grinning, proud, with a mouthful of braces and a buzz cut, he turned over the paper in his hands to show us the lines, arrows, and select words in bold faced type.
    Brayden has become an even cooler customer since, with all the television interviews he’s given as the election approached and Biden was declared the winner.

    Biden speaks like a caring grandfather. ‘ . . I know, by the way, that the hardest thing is talking on the telephone, so I don’t expect you to be able to do it. When I stuttered, I used to t-t-t-talk like-like th-this.’ He acts it out in real time, and Brayden nods. ‘ . . It took a lot of practice, but I promise you - I promise you you can do it. I promise you - and don’t let it define you. You’re handsome. you’re smart. You’re a good guy. I really mean it.’ Biden took his hand off Brayden’s shoulder long enough to give him a little sock in the jaw. ‘ . . You know when I say I know about bullies; you know about bullies, the kids who make fun. It’s going to change, honey. I promise you.’ Brayden grows upset, and Biden presses his head against the boy’s with genuine affection.

    If Brayden was floundering in New Hampshire in February 2020, so was Joe Biden. He only placed fifth, after a fourth in the Iowa caucuses. Still, somehow this moment was prophetic: he would be the one chosen to defeat the bully. Things did change, and he did not let his early stumbles define him.
    This was an unplanned, unlikely moment that caught Joe Biden off guard but revealed the substance of his soul.
    A long, long way from victory, it was the moment he drew the Sword from the Stone.

    Yeah, I’m getting a little dramatic. English majors hang around dwelling on philosophical questions like, Which came first, the human psyche or the myths, legends, and literature by which we codify the world around us? Facts are facts; events unfold as they will, but we spot patterns, factor in the larger circumstances, and find meaning. With any luck, storytellers help people see a moment the same way and find common cause.
    At any rate, prattling happily onward: The darkness has been defeated. Arthur is gathering his knights. The swiftest riders have located the ruins of Camelot and begun hacking and burning away the vines choking the foundation.
    The young, unlikely Arthur drew the sword because somehow he possessed the personal qualities that made him the rightful king. In our story, Joe Biden had to develop resilience, if nothing else. After that terrible accident in 1972 and Beau’s death in 2015, he had to lie awake at night struggling with crushing grief and the absolute, terrifying truth that his loved ones were not coming back. Turning to his Catholic faith, he had to sort out the components that could offer comfort from those that could not.
    Notice also how fast and deep he struck with 13 year old Brayden in New Hampshire: ‘You’re a good guy. You’re smart. You’re handsome . . . ‘ Having been through it himself and worked with some 25 other stutterers, Biden knew that fear and self pity can take permanent hold.

    The knights do not assemble for a nice guy. They respond to fear and awe. Biden fought the battle at night. We were too sleepy; we were done. On Election Night, the numbers were daunting. Trump was up by hundreds of thousands of votes in key states.
    The next morning, the numbers had changed. The morning after that, they had changed more. A duality flashed though people’s minds: Hey, those are our votes! We did that - and as we slept, spent, the Black Watch stood guard.
    Wait a second: good old Uncle Joe - solid dude, loyal second to a President who made it look easy, the guy we always took for granted, and whom the ONION satire magazine parodied magnificently: shirtless, washing his Trans Am in the White House driveway . . . THAT guy summoned forces to kill the Beast?
    On the third morning he was merely twisting the knife. On the fourth, people danced in the streets.

    Biden, more or less alone, had to overcome the agony of his private losses. Professionally, despite honing a knack for forming relationships and reaching compromises, he endured the disappointment of presidential primary campaigns stalling out in 1987 and 2008. On the verge of 78, he faces unprecedented difficulties: a pandemic, shattered economy, and bitterly divided nation. This time, however, he’s not alone. The knights of the realm, who know destiny when they see it, are suiting up.
    On Monday, the transition team ‘unveiled the members of his Covid-19 task force on Monday, a who’s-who of former government health officials, academics, and major figures in medicine.’ On Tuesday came word of ‘a list of 500 experts in federal policy, from diplomacy to space exploration, who will form the backbone of his preparations to lead the federal government in January, learning from the workforce what to expect at every agency on personnel, technology, policy and program matters.’
    Will it be Camelot? Judging from the sheer number of talented Americans coming forward to help their nation live up to its potential, there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic. Remember, Brayden Harrington did not transform because Saint Joe laid hands upon him. He got the book and put in the reps, an example the nation must follow.

    (5, 3, & 2 and 3, 2, 1 rotation)
    Week of: 11/16/20 3 and 2 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat: 4 sets of 3 Tom 407.5
    2. Romanian deadlifts, rack pulls: 2x5; 2x2 365, 405
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) light JC 75 - 95
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Inclined bench press: 3 sets of 5 Tom 207.5
    2. Bench press: 4 sets; 2x 5, 200, add 50#: 2 sets of 2 chains
    3. 5 sets of 10 Hanging rows
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets, 40’s, 50’s
    Conditioning (second session)
    sled pull 2 miles; 20, 0 (and six 50-yard runs)

    THURSDAY
    1. Deadlift: work up to a set of 2* reps Tom 510
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 460
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 2 sets of 5, 350; 2 sets of 3 with chains 360
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Inclined Bench Press: (10 sets of 3) Tom 140 with chains
    2. Press: 4 sets Tom 170-190
    3. Pull ups (5x10)
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets, 40’s, 50’s
    5. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    swim 1 mile

  9. #289
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    275

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    Saturday was a mixed picture. On the plus side, my wife and I got to celebrate current events by taking in the sunset on the Chesapeake while sipping 25 year old Yamazaki Whisky, 2014 Special Edition. Earlier, I walked into a rec center to swim a few laps, only to discover that I had been bumped from the reservations as if it were a crowded flight. New state coronavirus regulations had gone into effect in response to rising case counts, cutting the capacity of gyms to 25% of normal. This is a little frustrating: the pool is a county operation in a building the size of an airplane hangar, its doors always flung open and fans roaring. With the lane lines set up the place is nowhere near 25% of capacity, anyway. Meanwhile, restaurants have to stop serving meals at 10 p.m. now because . . . the virus in these limited spaces is contagious only late in the evening? This part of the country has been pretty quick to react to the threat, but it doesn’t seem as though the science is actually being observed.

    Yes, I wear my mask. After just five minutes it’s disgusting, dirtier than my underwear, with all the hot breath and snot that build up. I hate the symbolism, at first the sense of surrender and helplessness, and now having our noses rubbed in our servitude daily. I won’t wear a face-panty with the ear loops, especially the ones made out of medical material. I’m a bandanna, Wild West, Liberty Valance kind of guy.
    The minute I step out of a building, I yank it down, and I simply will not wear it during a workout - in my own garage, of course - but also during my Tuesday sled pulls on the trails near my house. The reactions I get are alternately amusing and horrifying. Some people don’t care. About three out of five will pull their masks up or take them out of a pocket and put them on. I wonder if they’d bother if a runner or biker were to zoom past; maybe I’m lurching along more grotesquely than I realize. One older woman, wrapped up like one of the Sand People in STAR WARS, stepped off the path and cowered in the bushes (plants give off oxygen, right?) until I passed. If people who never wear masks are ignoring the facts, then those strapping them on to hide in the bushes are, too.
    According to Canterbury Christ Church University, studies of both 25,000 COVID cases and the dynamics in play at ‘football matches, concerts, and protests,’ has yielded very few examples of outdoor transmission. People tend to spread out more when they’re outside, where presumably their exhaled breaths are rapidly diffused in the moving air. When people do not spread out, four risk factors come into play:
    1. the density of a gathering
    2. the amount of circulation by its participants
    3. the event’s duration
    4. its size
    The size of an event is the factor that ties most closely to the overall community and its rate of infection. The behaviors prompted by a mass gathering, say, a football game that spurs communal travel and packing into bars or cafes, are as much of a risk as the event itself.
    According to SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, the summer’s Black Lives Matter protests did not result in any significant virus transmission. Conversely, Stanford University researchers, in looking at 18 Trump political rallies between June 20 and September 22, found connections to 30,000 confirmed cases of COVID and ‘likely’ 700 deaths, though not necessarily among attendees.
    The difference is that people don’t spread out at the political rallies. All four factors work against them. The crowd presses in enthusiastically, and if you’ve ever been to a Presidential event, you’d know that people are gathered early and must wait, packed together for a long time, for the President to arrive.
    Another difference is that people at the BLM rallies wore masks. I’ve been down to the Georgetown waterfront to hop on a friend’s boat a few times, and in that kind of crowd I do strap on the bandanna. On the trail, where somebody comes along only every quarter or half mile, I don’t bother, even if they’re compelled to leap into the bushes or Rock Creek.
    ‘Pay attention to the science!’ they might snap.
    I will. So should they.

    (8, 5, & 2 and 3, 2, 1 rotation)
    Week of: 11/23/20 2 and 1 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat: 3x2 or 5x1: Tom 440
    2. Romanians, rack pulls 2 and 2 sets 365, 415
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) light JC 75 - 95
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Inclined bench press: 3 sets of 2 Tom 230
    2. Bench press: 2 sets of 5 Tom 202.5, then add 30+ 2 sets of 1-2 chains
    3. 5 sets of 10 Hanging rows
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 8
    Conditioning (second session)
    sled pull 2 miles; 20, 0 (and six 50-yard runs)

    THURSDAY
    1. Deadlift: work up to a set of 1* reps Tom 525
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 470
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 2x5 350; 2x2 395
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Inclined Bench Press: (10 sets of 2) Tom 140, chains
    2. Press: 4 sets: Tom 170-190
    3. Pull ups (5x10)
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 5
    5. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    swim 1 mile or row 6000 meters

  10. #290
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    275

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    starting strength coach development program
    It doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving for a lot of us. Some families are sharing pictures of empty chairs, the ones once filled by family members lost to COVID. Other families, like mine, are not getting together now or at Christmas, precisely because of the risk those pictures represent. Still others have little reason this year to celebrate the idea of abundance.
    Most of us should be thanking our lucky stars. This crapshoot of a pandemic has been pretty heavily weighted in our favor, since the disease is killing or crippling only the weakest among us. In fact, this whole crisis, with the masks, distancing, and economic slowdown, has been an attempt at shared social responsibility, weathering the storm together to protect our most vulnerable. People are growing tired of the burden, if the soaring hospitalizations are any indication.

    We’ve also largely given up on finding inspiration. Moments with the potential to lift our spirits never amounted to much. In early April, a police escort accompanied a New England Patriots tractor trailer delivering 300,000 N-95 masks to hospital personnel in New York City. Owner Robert Kraft had sent the team plane to China to pick up some 1.7 million masks, which were then offloaded by National Guard troops. The cops were clearly excited to be part of the spectacle rolling down Interstate 95, with their flashing lights and whooping sirens. It was much like the arrival of the USNS COMFORT, the hospital ship ordered by President Trump to New York Harbor. Crowds stood along the shore and waved in excitement. Fire boats shot streams of water high in the air as a sign of welcome. These moments represented hope: Hell, yeah! Finally, somebody’s doing something to fight back - but sadly we came to realize that all those masks were gone as quickly as leaves in a fire, and the COMFORT only saw 182 patients while tens of thousands of others died elsewhere in intensive care.

    Now, three vaccines stand ready to rid the world of this scourge. These are phenomenally impressive achievements, hijacking the virus’ messenger-RNA process and blunting the effect of its spike proteins, the weapon that’s made it so cruelly effective. We’re on the threshold of a seminal moment in world history.
    It’s one thing if your side has won the election, or that the Pittsburgh Steelers have started the season 10-0, or even that the Cleveland Browns are 7-3. The Browns 7-3? We’ve always imagined that was possible, but it’s happening now? For real?
    The vaccines are a victory for all of humanity. Whether we are together or apart, we should all be ripping our clothes off and partying this Thanksgiving.

    Speaking of that kind of delirium: in 1925, the nation hung on news from a drama unfolding in Alaska. An outbreak of diphtheria threatened the city of Nome, and a 20-team relay of dogsleds was poised to rush an antitoxin serum across the wilderness before time ran out. Updates were front page news in papers across the country, and those who had radios tuned in for the latest bulletins.
    In mid January, as two children presented symptoms and died quickly, Dr. Curtis Welch realized a diphtheria epidemic was imminent. Hastily, he and the mayor arranged a quarantine and sent radio telegrams all around the territory warning of the danger. To Washington, DC, he pleaded for antitoxin serum. Despite the quarantine, Nome quickly developed 20 cases. An epidemic would prove 100 percent fatal to the entire area, where the 1918 Spanish flu had already killed half the population.
    Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that begins with a sore throat and fever. Patches develop in the throat, which can block the airway, and from there, numerous complications ensue. The patches form a coating that blocks and damages tissues throughout the respiratory system. Cardiac and nerve problems develop afterward, all the result of a toxin released by the bacteria. It’s particularly dangerous to children.
    In Alaska, the authorities considered their options. The ocean near Nome was frozen solid, and a ship’s journey from Seattle would take too long, anyway. The only airplanes in Alaska had open cockpits and water cooled engines, and had long been dismantled for the winter. The only solution was dog teams. The Post Office Inspector agreed to arrange a relay. It was 675 miles from the train terminus at Nenana to Nome. A mail run was usually about 25 days.
    The serum will only last for six, he was told. What’s more, an Arctic high pressure system had blown in the most brutal weather in 25 years.

    Not one moment of the relay was anything but heroic. ‘Wild Bill’ Shannon left Nenana with an 11-dog team in temperatures of minus 50 degrees. He became hypothermic and had to run beside the sled to keep warm. He stopped to rest and drop off three dogs, who quickly died, and continued with eight, reaching his transfer point with a face blackened by frostbite. Another driver had to have water poured over his hands at an arrival point so he could release the sled’s handle. Still another had to pull his sled himself when two dogs collapsed. As he reached his transfer point, the dogs were dead.
    The Arctic storm had swept from Alaska to the continental States, bringing record lows, freezing the Hudson River in New York, and adding to the drama playing across newspapers and radios from coast to coast. In Alaska, authorities argued and second guessed their decision. A fifth victim had died in Nome, and the case count climbed to 27. The antitoxin supply would only treat 30.
    The sled drivers were mostly native Athabaskans. They crossed ice, climbed and descended mountains, and were sometimes hit by gusts ferocious enough to throw them through the air and off the trail. One team crashed into a reindeer.
    Eventually, the packet was handed to Norwegian born musher Gunnar Kassen, whose lead dog was named Balto. It was 70 below zero. Waiting for the storm to break only made it worse, so Kassen and his team headed out into a hellscape of chest-deep snow, pitch blackness, and hurricane force winds. He could hardly hear himself think as the wind slammed down from the mountains or shrieked through tunnels created by the landscape. At times he was so blinded by snow he couldn’t even see the two dogs closest to his sled, but somehow, at the head of the team, in front of six sets of dogs two abreast, Balto drove on. Kassen hung on - for dear life, and as the sled lurched left to right, up and down as it plunged through the blizzard, they were only a day away - and they could make it in time, if Balto held the trail.

    It’s been the stuff of movies and books for ages. This point is precisely where parents looking to build a little suspense into a rippin’ bedtime story would close the book and say, ‘It’s time for you to get some sleep.’
    ‘Wait! What happens? Does Balto save the children?’
    ‘I don’t know, sweetheart. We’ll have to see.’

    Siberian Huskies are the fastest mammals on land at covering distances over 10 miles. Bred to perfection by the Chukchi culture in Russia, they were introduced to this continent during the Yukon Gold Rush. Despite being half the size of malamutes, they pull faster, pound for pound. "Big dogs have longer gaits, covering more ground with each stride, but their mass makes them overheat," says Raymond Coppinger of Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, who is co-author of HOW DOGS WORK. "The smaller Siberian Husky generates less heat, and with the same skin area for dissipation, they maintain temperature." Their combination of pelvis angle, back length, and shoulder width allow for the longest possible stride as they lope, which means they have at least one paw in contact with the ground at all times. Other dogs that bound through the air as they sprint, like greyhounds, are far faster. However, those “dogs that have flights are known as floaters and are ineffective sled-pullers," says Coppinger.
    To handle the brutal cold, “Siberian Huskies have lots of very fine, highly twisted secondary hairs, compared to other breeds, says veterinary pathologist Kelly Credille. These hairs form a special layer of their coat that traps warm air against the body, like a down jacket. Huskies can also use their large fuzzy tails to ensure that they breathe warm air at night. Each dog curls up into a wall and covers its nose with the fur of its tail, which acts as a warm air filter.”
    What about that most incredible part of the story, that Balto held the trail despite the blizzard? It turns out that on the 1925 Serum Run the most impressive dog of all was actually Togo. With just two days before the serum expired, time was melting away, so sled driver Leonhard Seppala made the decision to take a short cut, crossing the unstable Norton Sound ice sheet as a blizzard closed in. Seppala found himself effectively blind in a whiteout. In the 20 miles of open ocean ahead, the ice was shifting, leaving areas of open water as well as jagged outcroppings where ice sheets had crashed together. Seppala had to rely on Togo completely to navigate around these hazards.

    (continued below)

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