Back in the green jungle high on coffee. The cold unforgiving road of weightlifting keeps winding on. The road can lead you to rays of sun, and then with a blink of an eye, it will throw you into the fires of hell. My view on top of the hill was beautiful. The view looking up isn't as lovely. National title to American Bronze, gold to dirt, Phil and I to young kids out of nowhere, smiles to let downs, sleep to staring at the ceiling. Cocky Jon North is dead for a little while, I am hidden away, trying to regain myself confidence. I am still trying to pull the dagger out of my stomach, I am still trying to figure out what happened.
This road of weightlifting led me to a wise man who gave me a map, and this map can lead back to the top of the hill. The old wise man said that this road map will have you seeing the beautiful sights again, and will take me out of my self-pity. The map was titled "what is a light day" The map had a picture of Ali with his hands raised, the map had a picture of Mike Tyson throwing a punch, a picture of Donny ripping a lion’s head off, and a giant elephant with working boots on. I guess it’s time to train again, I guess it’s time to do the only thing I know how, train. Back to the gym I go, back to work, back to the pain, the cold bar, chalky room, heavy weights, back to my home.
My hips hurt, my hands are falling off, my knees pop, my back kills, my shoulders burn, but worse of all my head hurts from the mental game this sport comes with. Thinking about your opener, about the what if's, about what you could be doing better. Do you go through all of this too? I try to close my eyes and shut my mind completely off from everything. The more I think the more I lose, the less I think the more I win. Why do you think I get so crazy before I lift, because if I didn't, I would Clark every lift I ever attempted. It’s a trick to get my mind off the weight, off what I have to do, and it works very well. My whole body hurts, I have been going strong for 4 years now with no end in sight. More training, more meets, more wins and more defeats, still training must happen, still you must pull on that bar every day. I limp to the gym with my Dimas lunch pale in my hands, eager to get back to work, hoping I have another day of training in me, fighting for every meet I go into. My shoes are falling apart and so are my straps. My belt has broken and the bars and plats in my gym are falling apart, and I feel like I am doing the same. How long can I fight this battle. These young kids keep coming out of know where like zombies, and my fighting arm is aching. Waves after waves of strong motivated athletes who have big dreams. I felt like it was yesterday I was one of those kids coming out of know where.
Phil, help me pick my sword up, I will help you put your armor on, if you help me with my shield. Let’s fight together as one, let’s show these young bucks what we still got, after we take our medicine and go on our walk. It was me and you for a while there. Best times of my life battling with you my friend, thank you for fighting with me. Losing to you was an honor, and beating you was life changing, so thank you. But a blue bird just landed on my shoulder out here in the half way house, and it whispered talk of sunshine and no end in sight, how there are many bright days ahead of our bumpy road. The weightlifting Gods have called in us to fight many moons more! Let’s take these white hospital outfits off, and break out of this bitch, and find a bar to lift!
Get the hell up Jon North, stop playing your violin and pick up the bar. Get cocky again, get crazy again, train heavy every day, keep fighting! Don’t give up, to many people are behind you to lose, get that Shankle blood pumping again, flip em off and tell em who the champ is. Drink your coffee and get back to the top. The Attitude Nation is made out of blood sweat and tears and nothing less than champions. Back to work I go, back to the sport I love and hate. I bet they loved it when I lost, I bet they love seeing me down, "down Jon North and stay down". You can say what you want, but don’t get to close or I will bite you, this dog might be limping, but I still have fight in me, I will still attack you. I might not win every meet, but I will be there looking straight in your eyes giving you everything I have, fighting with a broken leg, fighting with broken shoes and a bad back, I will still fight all you. Grab your sword Phil, and let’s get ready to fight another battle my friend. Phil Sabatini 2012