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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"The old show "

     I need a coffee like I need to win the Olympics.  I need a coffee like I need to break the American records. I need a coffee like I need coach to call in sick one day so I can finally rest.  Damn I need a coffee.  Training has been hell, is always hell.  I remember in College there would be days that I would just lay around all day and play video games...heaven.   Now its barbell in front of my face, barbell in my hands, barbell on my back and even in my head.  This fucken barbell follows me around everywhere, now that I found my bar I am almost wishing it would float away from me again.  Maybe I shouldn't have wrote the "red Balloon". 
     Train train, that's all I know these days.  It's almost like I have forgotten who I am.  I sometimes sit in the gym watching other people come and go thinking I am missing out on life.   Am I?   Then I am woken up from  coach telling me to lift the barbell, that fucken barbell.  I don't know if that barbell is my friend or my enemy, Sometimes I don't want to lift, sometimes I want to go play outside.  I slammed the bar down at nationals winning me the national tittle, and making the Pan Am games all in one lift, but for some reason I didn't feel the same joy and accomplishment that I did last year at the Arnold.  If you youtube my name you will find me winning the 2010 Arnold and putting me on the USA team for the Pan Am Championships.  That moment was the best moment in my whole career, possibly life.  But why not this year, you would think that this years nationals would have brought me much more happiness.  I kept looking for the rush of joy, I thought it would come any minute.  It never did.  Maybe my first coach Jackie Mah was right, she always said that "its the climb up that will be your best moments in this sport, the top will never feel the same."  I now understand what she means. 
     I have a long ways to go in this journey, but the higher I climb the more dark it gets, the less excitement I have, the less I yell, slam bars and call weightlifters names out before lifting.  Maybe I have let people's negative comments get to me without me even knowing.  Maybe The bar is just set higher, or maybe reality has kicked in, that I could make an Olympic team.  Its weird how you want something so bad, and you fight for it  for so long, but once it is in reach you hesitate to grab it.  I am like an act that is getting old.  The show is dying and the people are leaving.  You are once a breath of fresh air, you are the crowd favorite, you are the talk of the group.  Intel  time goes by and you succeed, the hype goes way down, the bets start to turn else where and you are just another top weightlifter sat next to by the other top weightlifters.  Now I am categorized, jumping Jonathan North is dead, UN original, just another.  Maybe this is why I was not more excited lately.  I will watch others laugh and fool around in the gym all day, while I am leashed to the platform.  I am fine with that, they can do what they want.  I have coach to talk to and my team mates who seem to come and go over the years.  I will still be here, training away, in my corner.  If you want to find the old race horse, the old act, the old show,  I will be in the back of the gym with coach Pendlay.    see you there someday.   Champ 2012


  1. Dammit Jon, I come to this site to be inspired, so coffee up and rekindle that fire! And trust me, your not missing anything outside. I played outside a couple of years ago, and nothing great came of it.

  2. I know how you feel. I spent 4 years training, training, training, getting up at 5AM to drive to the rink, practicing 3-4 times a day at usually 2 hours each session. Sprinting the lines. Skating laps. Dumping out milk crates full of pucks and shooting till my hands literally bled. Wondering if I was missing life. My friends were out drinking and getting laid.

    The grind of training. As the PRs become less and less frequent and the high points have more and more time between them, most people will become discouraged and quit. It is a select few who have the fire burning so deep inside their soul that they keep going.

    It's like relationships. Everything is so new and exciting in the beginning, but then time begins to take its toll. That person you were once so excited to see isn't so interesting anymore. It becomes just part of your constant daily routine rather than something fun and new. It's like an old marriage.

    Find something that ignites you. And grab hold of it everyday. For me, it was a purple heart that I looked at every single day. Pick a guy you hate, and try to beat him every single day. And when he quits, pick a new guy to hate, and beat him every day.

    Turn the afterburners back on!

  3. Some thoughts:

    Sometimes athletes can let their minds get the best of them when it comes to goal setting. You aim for something so high that in a way you think to yourself it's something you'll ALWAYS be struggling to reach. With the right dedication and guidance though even a goal which might have seemed impossibly distant a couple years ago can (is!) now coming into sight. It's an opportunity to think of how you were conceptualizing the goal before. Yeah it's true we (humans) sometimes enjoy wanting something more than having something. But you have to always tell yourself that no matter how big you dream or how lofty a goal you set, the goal is something you plan to REACH eventually. So dream big but don't let yourself think of goals as an endgame you'll never reach. Know you'll make it eventually and know what you want afterwards.

    Second about the way you've come to see how people see you as a lifter. I know you talked in another blog post about how you 'decided' you maybe wanted to become the quiet guy in the corner who just puts up huge weight and lets that speak for him. In my experience it's not so much something you decide to do as something that just happens when you realize that what to you was having fun and getting pumped up was coming across completely differently to other people and you're not OK with the way they see it, with having them judge you based on it. Maybe some people realize this and don't mind it but some don't like the way it makes them feel and if you're in the second category the change will come itself pretty much.

    Also: Mike Tyson once said "The life of a champion is very monotonous"

  4. You rock man, that was actually profoundly inspiring. Thanks man.

  5. This is a really great piece of writing, my brother. I'm in your corner. Myself, and my lifters, are still big fans, and we will always be.

    It isn't the "crazy" Jon North who jumps around and screams other names on the platform that is inspiring (though that IS fun, and we dig it), it is the consistent Jon North, year in year out, who keeps fighting the good fight, who doesn't let go, and understands that hard work is THE payoff. THAT is the Jon we respect and admire.

    Keep it going, my man.