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Sunday, November 1, 2015

A New Experience

First time I have written to no music.  First time I have written on a plane.  First time I have actually opened a window to write, usually clicking black keys in the darkest of the morning night. I guess what I am trying to say is there is a first for everything in life, this is why I pressure all my athletes and fans to compete, compete, and to compete some more.  Beginner or advanced, doesn't matter. Every meet is a different experience, every meet is a first.  New openers, new jumps, followed with new goals and the possibility to achieve new medals and better placements.  New Teams in new location.  New crowds cheering much louder than before, the next one might be dead silent, the next might be an elevated platform.  New adrenaline, more pressure, as you think to yourself, "I've done this before why am I so nervous and wanting to run for the door?" Reason being is you want it so damn bad, if you didn't your stomach wouldn't turn and your vomit wouldn't rise, your annoying yawn would go away and small little twitches and self chat mumbles would disappear like a dash of smokey magic. Wizam! But no... you want it so fucken bad it's even worse than the first.  Every meet gets so much more exciting and nerve racking that the feeling alone is worth months of training, blood, sweat and tears.  Sitting in the warm up room trying not to make eye contact with coaches, athletes nor peers. Focused and steady, your eyes stay down, ready and time-willing, your body is in full gear.  It's like a gambler sitting at the table, that's the true rush, poker comes next to such a feeling of intimacy and lust.  Just as a weightlifter getting ready for his or her opener, they are more alive before they even step on stage. Now it's time to react, nothing more.

New again after years of competing, this is why it's so important to keep competing, rising, and knocking off rankings.  Each new experience might camouflage itself in the world of Weightlifting, but it's the new feeling that you receive that makes Weightlifting so addicting. Not the weight but the anticipation, as I would chug monsters and yell, "Arnold" keeping my mind from thinking.  I would go to a different place when I trained that only brought in feelings, no thoughts, nothing.  This was always my secret in taking top spots.  I would let each meet take full control, moving with the rhythm of the meet like I was the meet director's soul.  Understanding each meet as an individual made me openly take in sights and sounds, allowing all feelings to bubble over and spill onto a platform surrounded by cheering crowds. I was not thinking about my lifting. I was not thinking at all. I was honestly just reacting to what had been happening all along.

"Why is he slamming bars and yelling Shankle on the stage?" They would whisper and ask, as I walked off stage more jacked than even before.  More alive than the meet before, and ready to lift bigger weight than ever before.  I sailed to the back room with yells and tears, so emotional and hyped all before my second attempt was even near. 5 out, no time for sitting, just pacing and breathing, feeling and never thinking.  I did what I had to do to keep fear away, that's my response to those that whisper from far away. When doubt and fear gets in the mind of a Weightlifter... missed lifts appear.  Faces of - "what if's" - and uncertainty cast upon your face. I would then need to pee and I would no longer pace. I would no longer yell, that's when you know it's bad, calm Jon North was a scared Jon North, leaving me with memories of bad.  

Emotions are not thought and they are extremely far from forced.  Emotions are driven from want and desire, long ago heartache and a chip on the shoulder. Emotion stem from the possibility of succeeding... believing in what you're doing and reacting on overwhelming feelings of self love, self happiness, and self worth. The hype to go out on stage is a life changing force, that forces your nervous body to lift weight that makes you feel sick, tired and down, only to stand up to spike all doubt to the ground.  Now calm palms chatter chalk crumbs from your hand, leaving the air cloudy and out of focused like an early morning flight in the AM.  This type of spark sets fire to others around you, a selfish thought now inspires others to clap chalk and slam bars, yell loud while shooting for the stars.  

Chasing dream in night time gyms, lonely and forgotten in the corner of the CrossFit Gym.  Classes move fast and high energy continues to dance, the lifter in the corner has to wait another two months until he or she gets another chance.  A weightlifter looks for feeling from a tired numb body in the deepest bottom of a chalk bowl, as if a kid looking for the magic plastic spoon in a cereal box, opened eyes and bushy tailed, sometimes, "Bingo!" sometimes nothing.  No feeling, only from your legs spiking pain up into your hips, achy and un-oiled your knees make sounds of "clicks".  Hands rough like a race horse's hooves, sharpening the ski and getting rid of the dead skin to new. Icy hot gets warm then cold like the last 5 meets you have competed in.  Asking a woman out on a date was better odds than this weightlifting thing.  Oh well, back to bloody chins and smelly shirts, gym bags that could tell a story of all sorts.  Knee wraps wrap tight and steady, taking you back to the meet when your emotions were brave, high and alive.  The knee wraps as your armor and the bar to survive.  Yep... in the corner of this gym, you are a weightlifter, one day alive, most other days disguised. Patiently waiting for the experience of your life. 

Your first meet or your last is a first.  Experience is knowledge, and knowledge is a choice. Take in your feelings and understand your past.  Embrace, react and most importantly, be you.  

#TeamDO 2016 


  1. Jon! Please don't EVER stop writing this blog!!!! Your words have such an impact! Even to those of us who aren't at a "competing level". Please continue to share your epiphany's, your ups your downs! You never know who's life could be completely changed by sharing your experiences!
    Thank you!

  2. Every kilo counts inspired me to pick up writing that I left behind after high school. Your an inspiration Jon