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Sunday, May 27, 2012

My Black Hat

A week in a small and far away Country called Siskiyou County.  A local bar is where I sit, writing to you while I occasionally ask the bar tender for more coffee......please of course.  Everyone is bent over the bar drinking their bud light, as I take out my ear piece from time to time to catch small parts of their “when I was a kid” stories.  They all know each other, and they all are probably wondering who the city guy in the corner is drinking coffee on his liberal Mac computer.  I smile and nod when we catch eyes, some nod back, and some just turn away.  A parking lot full of trucks outside surrounding my little black on black Audi, as if the trucks are about to kick my car's ass.  It’s almost embarrassing.  I love my car, but a truck is much needed right now.  I stick out like a sore thumb.  I envy them, I envy their lifestyle.  I wish I was a Country man, a farm owner, a bucking hay and riding horses guy,  a hard working man, a Cattle hand man who meets his buds up after work and grabs a beer or two man,  a go home to the wife after a long day man,  a do it yourself man, a kids these days man, a move boy I don’t have all day man. Wranglers, like it wasn’t even a choice. Camo hats and cowboy hats line up straight down the bar like music notes.......Awesome.  Chew spitting, unshaved face rocking country music dancing mother fucken bad asses.  Attitude Nation soldiers, and they don't even know it.  I think I might order a beer so I don’t look like such a pussy.  Some of the cowboys are quite, and some are loud.  Even though they are all mysteries to me, I would love to hear some story's from the quiet cowboys.  I bet I could learn a few things from them.  I guess in a way me and all these Cowboys are the same.  We both work hard in our own profession.  We both love the down time with friends after a hard day’s work.  They wear jeans, I wear adidas sweats.  They lift bales of hay, I lift bars.  Their hands are rough and callused, mine are as well.  They wear boots; Donny wore boots in the war.  Salute Donny, thank you for serving this great Country, in weightlifting and with a gun.  They dosey doe, I do the cat daddy.  They rope cattle, and I like to rope up Coach when he gets grumpy.  I love this place, I love these people.  But this is their world, not mine, and visiting their world makes me miss mine.  The air is crisp and clean. The stars at night are bright and loud.  The sea of rolling hills and flat land goes further than the eye can see.  No freeways, no buildings, no Starbucks, no Priuses, weightlifting for miles.... Heaven. 

Five hour drive to a whole new land.  Every hour that went by, my body seemed to become more and more weightless, my eyes lids drew like shads, my heart slowed down, and my worries and stresses seemed to catch the wind from the half rolled down window, taken away by the air never to be felt or seen again.  I have never been more relaxed.

I have been in a weird place lately, and you will soon figure out why.  That’s all I can say at this point.  It’s good to get away and visit my wife’s family for a while.  A place where we met, a place I played football at and graduated college from, (aka) my associates degree.  A great achievement for me.  How I got my AA, I still don’t know. Seeing my old football coaches and teachers is something that I needed to do for some time now. A place that brought me friends for life, and memories that will stick with me until the day I die.  Pause my life for a second and go back to what made me the man I am today.  Take a breath of fresh air, and try to figure out what has happened to me the last few years. I look in the mirror not recognizing the face looking back at me.  It seemed like yesterday I was just a punk college kid flipping burgers part time at McDonalds to pay off a high school DUI.  A kid who watched weightlifting videos and dreamed of becoming a National Champion.  Day dreams in class of representing my Country in this sport.  Dreams of meeting Coach Pendlay, and hopefully getting an autograph and picture with Donny Shankle.  Wow, now this has all happened and I have no idea how.  It still has not set in yet, and I have trouble comprehending it.  Now I write blogs with Donny and get hugs from coach if I do well in a meet or in training.  What?  This is crazy.  I need more coffee, one sec. 

Yes I will still train.  Don’t worry coach calls, texts and even seems to pop up in my dreams at night asking me how the workout went and what numbers I hit in training.  I swear I can still feel his presence all the way up the windy road of I-5.  I can still feel the famous Pendlay look staring through my soul wondering why I just missed the lift.  "Hey coach what happened?"  "You missed it".   "What do I need to do to make it"?  "Make it"  "Yes Coach"   

I will be training with the man who got me into this sport, the man who saved my life from going down hill, and down hill fast.  A man who was really my first coach before Jackie Mah.  A man who I look up to and admire.  He is Eagle football, he is the best football coach, strength coach, and linemen coach in the world.  His name is Coach Tim Frisbie.  I will be here training away with him in the football weight room.  Coach Frisbie is the mad scientist who invented the crazy, man in black, champ, most hated man in USA weightlifting, slamming bars, jumping Jonathan North, Attitude Nation soldier, me……Jon North.  Thank you Coach Friz for everything.  Thank you Siskiyou County for the peace you have brought me on this trip.

I bought a black Cowboy hat at the local thrift shop in Mt Shasta.  You ask why?  Why, I have no idea, I have no care in the world right now.  I just walk around wearing my funny hat with a smile over my face.  No cameras, no live feed, no one on one coaching, or weightlifting classes.  Just me and my black hat. 

Here is a video of yours truly performing a clean back in College at College of the Siskiyou’s under Coach Friz.  Go to 1:20 to see my clip.  I was even more crazy back then!  Arnold! 

Coach Friz 2016


  1. Your writing just keep getting better and better, Jon. Keep ut up! :)

  2. Hey, Jon. Gotta tell ya, man--When I first watched videos of you at Nationals, I said to myself "Who the hell is this jerk off saluting and tugging on his suit?" But after watching pretty much every CalStrength video from the last two years, I came to see you as a talented athlete, a chill guy and more importantly someone who loves his teammates, coach and his sport. If this blog is about Glenn and the new MD facility in South Carolina and the decision you face about your future, then as a fan I just wanted to let you know that you, Donny and Coach Pendlay have done more for weightlifting in the US than you will probably realize for many years; and people like me wouldn't be weightlifting to begin with if it weren't for you guys.

    Much love, brother.

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