The three meets below are a timeline of evolved techniques
First National Meet. (I am a few lifters in) No body contact. Classic pull. etc
Qualified for Nationals for the first time. Slightly more superman pull, lower start, low thigh contact.
The song I wrote this blog to
The swoosh of the bar passed my body like a train to a nearby landmark. Fast and furious, loud and violent, triple with extension. A no wrong way to lift hill, grassy and tall, as millions of paths of different ways climb the rocky banks, and the sharp corners of doom. I pull like the wind, with a whistle from my coach and a buzz from the buzzer, the athlete must react like a horse out of gate, or better yet, like creasy bear shooting the gun to go, swim and fast, with proper training and believing she will win her first race, while his black shades and his alcoholic lips wait at the finish line. Proud and stubborn, egotistic and cocky a weightlifter must be, that's how I was at my first American Open.....my second meet ever. The break through of who is this, and why is he so crazy. The golf clap turned oddly shaped as critics type on the forums of hate. I slam the bar with my old style of technique, to show the world that Coach Jackie Mah might coach different than I do now, but her methods work while others fail. I lift blindly for that's how I should, listen to your coach young athlete, for then you will be good. There is no such thing as technique young lad, just who will lift the most weight, and who will be the one holding the gold. A lever system of different, a melting pot of hers, that I took from her to only mold my own later down the road. I am a thief, this is what I am. I have stolen different techniques for years I have, a thief in the night my hands have meshed those who have stolen techniques of their own. Accused of the same crime, we are all walking this jail house line, melting pots of hot, mixed with our own thoughts that leak to others in passing or plot. You stole from him, and I stole from her, we create what we think works the best, while the athletes we teach end up winning the golds, reaping all the benefits of these stolen concepts. Fights rage, as N.O. Explode gets drunk, somewhat like my farther, but mostly like my strut. Walk with energy, lift with passion, my triple extension technique is the best thing that has ever happened. No wrong, and no right, my way now is just as right as the train passes my body in the midnight night. My way of under is just as right as pull 'til you see the thunder. A shrug under is what I coach, but back in this video a shrug high is what got gave me a great meet, PR's over my feet, and a crying coach of joy, as we hug with a mission accomplished by a young rookie and her ideas of long. Who can lift the most weight? Who can get under what seems to be impossible by marching sheep of white, as they live in their comfort zones tucked in all so tight. A million ways to lift, my way is only one, is my way the best? Abso-fucken-lutely you son of a gun.
I catch and stand, slam and cheer, a fist pump follows as my future is clear. A young rookie I was, and now I coach, just like Jackie Mah, my very first coach. Great success, in many other methods, lever systems that turn, and bodies that deliver a simple message. Win, fight, and keep the gold PR's in sight. I was skinny but boy was I right....for dropping out of school and giving this sport all of my might was the correct path to go down, even though others said different. Thank you Matt for sending me this song, as I listen I can remember the feelings I had, at my first national meet with a corner full of support. Butch Curry helping, as Paul Doherty was cheering. The audience clapping, as I yelled Arnold and smashed my meth pipe. Watching the smoke circle up my skinny shaved legs, no more drugs will I be your slave. I have found Arnold and this Asian coach named Jackie, this sport is my new life and you my friend are a smoke filled mirror that will live in my past. I will put you in a closet and write about you here, in the Dark Orchestra where tears fill the stage full of many that lay near. You the reader, what style do you use? I know you have smashed something on that stage of might, your chest out proud as you crush the demons that bite. We are new, we are fresh, lifting young with many blood stains on our chests. We must lift, we must coach, no matter how we get the bar above our heads we must lift more weight than ever before. Beat the man next to you and breathe in success, for handwork got you here, and this style of technique is the best.
Move on I did, after punching a man in the face, I was kicked out of my old club, and now training in a new space. By myself, at the Rock House Gym, no coach but the YouTube videos in the background. I felt the bar brush one evening day, I looked at my wife, and she asked me if I was ok. I laughed and smiled with confusion on my face, a new way of lifting must have made its way. A slice from the thigh, as skin pealed like an orange, still very triple extension, as the bar never made a noise. Coaches approved, as I shrugged high, the older more classic way of lifting was still in full effect. Homeless and coach-less, living in a car, to bar slamming hopeless dreams at times. One day become a National Champion was a dream filled with steam. The Bulgarians entered my life with their catapult ways, the bar made so much noise that my ears rang for days. What is this odd creature I asked, for these men had a weird bar path. My technique before this was changing by the day, morphing into its own before even this day. But this was something new, fresh and alien, the way the bar met the body made me think again. Max Aita and Martin, Shankle and Dave, these lifters made my melting pot stir for days. My mind thought and discovered, evaluated and soon surrendered. My brush over time was met by a hit, above my ouch bone was bruised like a son of a bitch. To peak the bar in this way, the bar path moved in a whole different way. The start was funny for the ass was low, the shoulders moved in a line that threw me for a loop, the double knee bend was more delayed than my career getting started, if it wasn't for the meth pipe I've might already been a champion, now I just watched and learned at this odd looking finish, was she arched not straight, and why was this? These Cal Strength guys are so different than most, a fight club of some sort that makes me want to join. Run the streets at night steeling fat to make soap, human bodies moving around the bar like we weren't supposed to talk about it. The leader Dave, stood tall by Shankle, for the arm bend on this man while lifted I have never read in an article. I began to lift, like these athletes I followed. I peed blood for months, as a clean athlete on a Bulgarian training system was buried deep six feet down, and so were they. Dead and tired, no rest days and max out sessions that never seemed to end. I was still a young rookie that was hoping for rest around the bend. I kept my mouth shut, and my eyes wide open, for in the dark I stole from them, when they were not looking. Now I have multiple coaching techniques, Jackie Mah's hand book, mixed with Paul Doherty's philosophies. A Bulgarian system with catapult technique, laying in front of me I could hardly sleep. Like legos they laid, a puzzle to solve, a concept to build and a technique to stand tall. How and what, when and how, which lever goes where, and for how long? Silly putty I played, as water made my thoughts move, dreams to achieve, and past memories that won't remove. The start of something new and great, that started from the Jackie Mah's lift. Technique doesn't matter nor exist, only who is going to lift the most weight.
What is your melting pot like? And how will it morph? Will you steal from mine or keep it all? I hope you steal from mine to build your own. Create your ship and sail home. Salute.
Ripped overalls with pockets full of broke.
Brown bag full of sorrows, and hopes full of let downs. Banned from
society, outcast from the world. You the dreamer no longer dream, but
only hope to find where this old dirt road leads. You walk with pride, as
your knees fucken scream with pain. Holes in your shoes like holes in
your heart, shot from the gun of loved ones and sprayed by the machine gun of
life. You still stand, I still write, we still walk, we still carry on as
our blood shot eyes fill with dirt and our hair with exhaust from passing
trucks. The smell from the black fumes reminds us of home. It reminds us of
hiding spots while parents fought, closets full of coats and umbrellas that
came alive and comforted us as a crying child. The dark is safe, the
light is open. A cigarette brings back James Dean, as the 3 legged dog
morphs into a strutting cheetah. Messy hair from falling fast, soon combs
back like a wet comb as we fall forward. A chip off the old black that
could get a cargo ship lost in its depth. A middle finger cold and
frozen, stuck high from seeing so many stuck up. Red knuckles and
permanent damage from fist to wall, hate to self-pain, and frustration to must
figure something out or else. No money to spend, but a fuck load to gain.
No future, but a hope to one day look back at the past. A dying
want, with nothing to feel, a fight deep down, that seems to only roll in the
belly of hunger and a mind of dizzy as the lack of sleep drains your thoughts.
Homeless with no home, loneliness with no one, empty and ready to fill
the void that is restless within you.
An old abandoned warehouse lies in ruins at the end
of this dirt road. The green grass slowly turned into burnt rubber, while
the smell rose dark and the backward town seemed hidden but visible from where
he was standing. The once blue sky turned yellow, as black clouds traced
through like arrows being shot by a thousand gladiators. The graffiti on
the walls of the broken warehouse dripped like tears, while the windows closed
like fear. A street sign that reads welcome, as the five-story warehouse
quietly whispers turn around. Wind that talked, and weeds that grew so
high they wrapped around the man's ankles. His cigarette burnt his
fingers, making him jump and say, "ouch!" a necessary reaction.
He whipped his hands against his orphaned overalls, while his head turned
like a spinning top trying to figure out what and where his windy dirt path had
taken him. A small child appeared randomly by the front door of the
warehouse entrance. Probably 4'9 and 180 pounds of muscle. She was
strong and confident, wide-eyed and alive. A tall and skinny man walked
up behind her with his eyes never unlocking from the overall scavenger that
found himself now surrounded by at least two dozen men, women and children.
A complete circle was formed, smooth and fast, out of the dark shadows
they appeared. A few more from the warehouse, even a handful climbing
down the black trees that were bent and fallen but perfect for climbing and
tree forts. The dirt below his feet was grey ash that slowly fell from
the sky as if winter time during Christmas. Memories of the once good
times in his life passed over his face, before realizing they were and have
been dead for many years. His overalls slapped back and forth from the
wind that swooped up and over the cliff in front of him. It seemed as if
the world literally ended 100 feet from the broken warehouse. He started
to lean his head up and to the side as if he was a kid in a car seat trying to
see out the windshield in front of him. He was suddenly awakened from his
thoughts and curious adventure, a mental adventure on top of a real life
adventure. It was hard to faze the man that walked the dirt road with
torn cloths and eyes filled with abandonment. His chip held a lack of
surprise, while a tender and sensitive feeling of sadness created a shock wave
of constant depression. But this......this gingerbread house in the
middle of the black forest made his heart beat for the first time in years.
His lungs filled back up with air, and then the silence broke.
A little girl broke the circle and sprinted towards
the man's leg. Her mother ran after her with her arms out as if trying to
catch a chicken. A panic took over the mother, but soon came to ease as
she saw the little girl and the man talking to each other in a safe an ancient
whisper. The little girl said, "Hello", and the man said,
"Well, hi". He looked down at her glassy brown eyes and asked
what her name was. She responded by not answering the question, but
instead saying "Their are many bad days in this forest where the dirt path
meets, but my mom says that if we keep training hard we can make it to the
promise land". He looked up to the mother who stood a respectable
distance away, while still being motherly. She looked back at the man
with no emotion, only her hair in the wind, and the men behind her who looked
like monsters with beards of strength and legs of trees. The women looked
like lions, fast and furious, strong and hard working. These people
didn't look like the normal folk, they looked as if they.......well........they
looked like him. Holey clothes with ripped hands. Sad faces with
hungry souls. Dry marks from tears, under a brain full of motivation.
The only difference from the man in the middle of the circle in the burnt
black forest on the edge of the world and the strong people is that they looked
like they had found something to be motivated for, while he stood empty handed.
He looked down at his hands with his forehead crinkled tight, while his
eyes pierced down looking for something that should be resting like home in the
palms of his hands. But nothing, for the people around them had
something. The little girl tugged on his overalls that looked as if they
were going to rip at any minute. She said, "Follow me sir, I want to show
you something". They started to walk to the front door of the
abandoned warehouse where the tall man with the red beard still stood, eyes
locked like an eye to a target. He seemed like the leader, but then
again... they all seemed like the leader. The man looked back at the
mother to see if she had any problem with the new plot of the situation.
The mother nodded her head, walked fast and then joined them by grabbing
her little girl's hand.
Inside the warehouse laid 30 to 40 medal cots.
Side by side, dream by dream, wall to wall they sat with medal feet,
bodies of blankets, and faces made of pillows. The little girl jumped on
one of the beds out of either excitement from a new visitor, or just because
she was a freak athlete, and that's what athletes do, they move, they jump, and
they test the limits. She was defiantly testing the limits of her mother,
because she was soon told to get down. The man entered the next room and
to his surprise found something that would change his life forever. It
was a large bar that stood 30 feet tall, and at least as round and wide as the
whole warehouse. How he didn't see the massive metal behind the house
seemed impossible. It was shinny and long, dense and strong, alien like
was an understatement. The overall man reached out and touched the bar as
if touching his first-born's face. There was a moment of complete silence
while he tried to gather his thoughts, and control his emotions. He had
so many questions, but stayed quiet. Besides the little girl, no one had
spoken yet. Just look, expressions, and gestures were being used thus
far. The only noises were coming from the wind that had now died down,
and the footsteps that had now stopped while admiring the pure shock this lost
man was in. Wings..........wings he thought, with his hand leaned against
the bar and his head down with thought. He looked up at the man with the
red beard and asked.....wings? The tall cold man who seemed to take the
leadership roll nodded his head as to say, "Yes". "Wings
to fly," the little girl said as excited as possible. "If we
lift the bar hard enough everyday, my daddy says the bar will someday fly us
away to the land of bright." She said this while pulling each finger
down as if she has rehearsed it a million times, and once finished she looked
back up and followed with a jump and a clap out of excitement for nailing the
plan the tribe had in front of them. The man looked fast to the bearded
man with a look of excitement as well. The beard of the man nodded up,
The wings on the bar spread at least 100 feet wide
on each side. On one side of the bar the wing hovered over the black
forest that covered the warehouse and the people who lived in it. The
other wing spread out past the end of the world, or what really was the cliff
that led to the land of bright, where the trees grew tall, grass grew green,
and the ash was replaced by rays of sun and wind of warmth. The mother of
the little girl finally spoke. Her voice was soft like an angel, as her
brown hair now fell straight down on the side of her face from the wind dying
down. "There is only one way to get to the land of gold and bright,
green and happy, cabins of wood and water of clear." She then looked
at the bar......he followed her eyes to the bar.......the quiet stood for a
while as he felt at home, as he felt alive for the first time, as he felt a
part of something, as he felt he finally had something to feel, grab and lay in
the palm of his hands. He looked back at the mother with a smile on his
face. The black ash started to fall from the sky, and the bad day started
to come to night. His eyes wide, his heart beating fast.
She looked at her bloody hands and then smiled at
her beautiful daughter looking up at the overall stranger. She then said
in the most calm and soothing voice he had ever heard in his whole life.
A grey sky on a cold day. The gym door closed, but unlocked and open for the world. The loading dock door rattles open as I use my body to pull, my butt as a lever, and my arms like cables. Watching the chain beside me slither like a snake, guiding the flexible door past my head and peaking high above the gym roof. A breeze from the outside fog falls to my feet, gasping its last swirl before falling to its death. My Adidas sweat suit acts as armor, keeping me safe and warm, focused and protected. A fanny pack full of the same dreams, just located in a new pocket. The zipper cold from the gym air. My hands shaky with nerves, as the smell from left over knee wraps causes pain to my nose, and a slight twitch to the face. A familiar smell in an all too familiar world. Standing with new shoes, on a path of old, leading to a platform of new. A cold gym is the best, for cold makes sweat dry, making the bar stick well on the athlete's throat, keeping the athlete's elbows raised for gold, and out of reach from injury. The cold gym makes the hot coffee fresh, cooling down yesterday's struggles, and focusing on today's goals. My sweatpants low on my waist, as I look forward to them rising higher and higher, as the years move on, and the time ticks round. Hopefully one day my pants will be covering my head, as I poke two holes to see my athlete's achieve more than I ever did.
Small chatter as the coffee machine in the front room drips, some stretch, while others sit. A room full of rookie athletes ready to bleed experience, some stretching and rolling, some doing nothing but drinking coffee while all are reflecting on the journey ahead. Reflecting is the best warm up an athlete can do. Leaving behind the past, and focusing on the future is a champion's best asset. A mental warm up is what comes in handy, when a hard training session lays quietly in front. Calm and collect, deadly and destructive, all while being necessary and life changing. I watch the minds of the young roll like hills. The grassy meadows they still have to climb, the burnt forests they will get to know. Side by side, platform by platform, resting bench to resting bench, coach's eye, to a weightlifter's feet, a rhythm lifter amongst a strength lifter, all fill the cold foggy gym with different philosophies amongst millions of ideas. One must choose why they are lifting before becoming a champion, once this is established, the athlete will grow and grow fast, running full sprint to the bar in front of them, ready to meet hell before achieving heaven.
I cross the gym floor with a limp, as I make my way to the fan, facing its wide circular back to the outside mist. A white world surrounding a dusty gym full of broken hearts, and broken bars. I turn the fan on even though the cold makes my finger tips numb. A fan must be turned on at all times no matter what the weather may be. The sound of the fan alone eases a person's mood, humming soft sounds of comfort, as the skeletons lay to sleep. A turning fan is water to skin, as the cold moves swiftly around your body, as the athlete moves fast around the bar. I turn the fan on for comfort, white noise, to feel the outside world as I live in the inside of a gym.
This gym is cold this morning, and first practice is always painful, but once the athletes get moving, everything makes complete sense.
Hand prints from my fist ever athlete Andrew
Jester after qualifying for school age Nationals, one of the biggest highlights
of my life. This was the moment that sparked my true love for coaching.
Andrew went on to become a National Bronze medalist a few months later.
I want to say thank you to my Attitude Nation family for all of
your love and support. I am excited to start a new chapter in my life as a full
time coach. I am eager to take my love and passion for the sport of
weightlifting and pass it on to others. Being a coach, I now have the unique
ability to win more medals and make more teams, than being an athlete alone.
The past 7 years, weightlifting has been my life as an athlete. Now it is time
for weightlifting to be my life as a coach. I am still hungry and more
passionate than ever. The journey is not over, it has just begun...
My hands lay locked together inside the front
pocket of my sweatshirt. Fingers passing one another as if pointing to a
new path that leads to uncharted territories. An orange sky covers my
morning walk, as the cold air creates a cloud of memories that start from my
gut, passing my stinging heart, touching my soul, and then escaping out of my
mouth for my eyes and ears to watch and hear replays of joy and cheers. A slide show of tears and hugs. A highlight reel of raised hands,
high fives and goals reached. My lips tingle from the taste of the weights I
have kissed, and the kilos that have kissed back. The bar that I have hugged a
million times plays over and over in the early morning fog, as the blood from
my callused hands welcome my face from disbelief, as I sit kneeled in a pond of
my own hard work, embracing the pain that has brought me so much love, so much
life. My knees against the wood, and my chest facing the ceiling makes my
arms swing back with great flexibility. My grip fully released, from
years of being hooked. Time stopped, while my fast paced
breathing calmly slowed, and the feeling of life laid upon my body, as I dipped my
head into a memory filled lake that I once swam in as a little kid. A cold
but awakening rush opened my eyes full of tears, while a reflection of my life
passed throughout the cheering and overwhelming feeling of achieving a goal, that
was staked back when my legs were skinny, and my hands were soft.
A time when Arnold ran down my arm, and the bodybuilding world swirled in
dust behind me. A time where innocence ran throughout me, and dreams of
weightlifting took complete control of me. My eyes opened, as the blurry
vision and the alien planet looked back at me. On top was heaven, but the
climb up was life changing.
A quiet walk with loud memories filled with
cheering crowds and Shankle yells. Steiner slams, and get off me bro
chest slaps. LeBron James chalk throws as USA pumps proudly against my
chest, while bleachers bang with stomping feet, as three story stadiums
chant... "USA". I walk under the orange glow of the rising sun,
as thoughts circle my mind full of number one fingers raised high for everyone
to see. Teachers who doubted me, and society who forgot about me.
Family members who were once worried about me, and friends that didn't
understand me. I raised my finger high in the air to let the world know I
was number one, coming from a place where alcohol reigned king, while dreams
were once drunk with gulps of constant regret. My eyes open wide, while
many doors I closed shut, leaving drugs buried low under my feet, as many
podiums took me higher than any crystal could have ever achieved. My love
will never die, and the feelings will never leave. Locked away forever,
in a place where only I can go. One day this vault will create dust,
while my old hands will wipe away the years with one smooth swoosh. Unlocking
thousands of memories to share with others, to share with my kids, and my kid's
kids. I will one day re-open this vault, and the memories alone will take
me back to the cocky in your face, Jon North, that once lived proudly in the
jungle of bars and plates, platforms and chalk, judges and critics, fans and
haters, coaches and competitors, bomb outs and victories, goals reached, and
goals lost. Tears of joy, and tears of sadness. The path I was on
will never be forgotten.
I fought for more than me, and I achieved much more
than 100 Gold medals. I achieved life, happiness, and a meaning. I
achieved hard work, and the opportunity to meet thousands of great people.
I have built great relationships, and built new friendships. I have
found myself, something I have been looking for my whole life. I have
achieved confidence, and an understanding on what it means to be a man.
Weightlifting has made me a better husband, son, brother, friend, and
person. I have learned so much from being an athlete in the sport of
weightlifting. The greatest joy that weightlifting has brought me is the
platform to help others. I fight for the "room 2" kids that
stare out the windows while being horse fed ridalin. I lifted for the
forgotten college graduate that was once praised for attending, but now lost
and forgotten in the world beyond. I lifted for the society prisoners
that I was once a part of, the ones who slave a dead end job. The
unhappy. The misunderstood. The garage lifter who trains on their
own. The black sheep everywhere...... I lifted for them. I lifted
weights to tell parents ADD is good, not bad. Being yourself is better
than any gold medal. Finding yourself is the Olympics of life, and
achievement of a lifetime. I have won the Olympics twenty times and broke
every world record there is to break. I have a golden outlook, coming
from a dark narrow viewpoint I once looked through. I once lived under a
rock, and now I stand tall on a boulder.
You the reader are everything to me. Out of
everything, my biggest achievement is you. I have found my home, found my
family, found a shoulder to lean on and an audience to relate to. I have
found a keyboard to cry upon. Because of you, I have accepted my
skeletons and bettered my life. Accepting the past is what you have given
me, and I am forever grateful to you. I am forever grateful to
weightlifting for giving me the opportunity to meet you. This blog is
what made me a better athlete, by not hiding my skeletons...but getting to know
them. Your support has given me the confidence I needed in everyday life.
Your kind words have helped me become kinder to others and myself.
By you reading this blog gave me a voice, a voice that I didn't even know
I had. So thank you. Thank you skeleton, thank you for everything.
Thank you Weightlifting for introducing me to my Dark Orchestra family.
My coaches....... what can I say. I love you
all. Without you I am not me. Without your guiding light I am still
in the dark. Without you I am still addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Without you coach..... I am just a college drop out with empty dreams and
a path full of thorns. You gave me air to my lungs and a beating heart to
defeat the demons that pulled me down. I walk down this orange world
thinking about every coach I have ever had. The cold breeze makes my hot
forehead cold, as my tears dry like the chalk on my hands. My steps are
heavy as my emotions way me down. I look up to see the future, only
reminded of the past. The past that has created a small smile of fun and
out of control times we have shared together. I hope coach.... you are
smiling too. For the memories are with you. My shoulders sway, as
my eyes lay closed, in memory of all those who have taken time out of their
life to help with mine. I thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
My heart bleeds to only give back for the blood you have drawn for me.
I will be forever thankful to my ever-dying day.
I finally arrived from my morning reflection.
I watery walk on a clear crisp morning..... what a perfect morning it
was. I grabbed my back from the pain. My knees screamed to stop
moving. My right elbow clicking from bad lockouts and rusty joints.
My left hip higher than the other as my walk stings my right calf from
the lean my hip has given me. I walk into my house while my wife lies
still asleep, looking more beautiful than ever. I pass my long hallway
where my medals hang in their glass case, protected from harm's way, and proudly
in sight for all to see. They look beautiful and bright, happy as if the
moment we met each other was happening this very second. These medals
have no emotion but happy.... I could swear they are smiling. Only if
they knew how many medals I let die throughout my journey. I don't tell
them or show them that though, I smile and tell them I am proud of them and
that I love them. They of course smile back..... nestled comfortably in
their glass beds. I knew as I walked away the next part would be the hardest.
My head sunk low once I left sight of the medals. My heart rang
heavy. I must retire my shoes and singlet........ the pump to any
My shoes and my singlets stared back at me on the
bed, as if to say they didn't want to go to summer camp. They looked
defeated and let down, sad and lost. They looked as if their identity had
just been striped. Crusted chalk, crumpled numbers still pinned to the
singlets laid lifeless amongst bloodstains and coffee spills. Once on top
of the world, now dead. Once the fastest feet in the world, now slow and
old, dusty and forgotten. The USA slightly faded, as the rips down the
legs of the singlets spoke many stories, and told awesome adventures.
Each singlet told wise stories, different adventures, and not yet talked
about experiences. Each singlet has a life of its own, while each shoe
lifted miles and miles of platforms. I will hang you up high to never be
forgotten, I told them as I started to place them in their glass case. So
high that no one will forget about you. Your stories will live on forever
every time someone looks at you. Your impact could change a life.
Your view alone can spark a conversation that could lead a young kid down
the great path of weightlifting. You could one day change a
life......like the life you changed with me. And who knows, one day when
I have kids, I will take you out of your glass home.
I am officially retiring as a proud athlete of this
great sport. Go USA.
Most importantly Special thanks to my lovely Wife Jessica North. You were
there the very first time I touched the bar, and you are here for the very last time I touch the bar. Thank you for all your support over the many years. I love you.