Written by: Kevin Cann
I have a lot of work this week to catch up on so I felt a nice little rant was appropriate for the blog. It has been 90 degrees for 5 straight days here in Boston and I am uncomfortable and grumpy, so maybe this will make me feel better?
Seriously, moving on. Earlier this week I saw a post of an athlete and an athlete’s friends bashing an old coach on the internet. I have had this happen to me in the past and I have done my fair share of getting into it with other people on the internet after they had said something about me. Something I should not have done for sure.
One of the people making comments is an elite lifter and a coach. This is unacceptable behavior for both an elite lifter and a coach. Just because you have a big total doesn’t mean you can go swinging your big hypothetical dick around.
Strength is not just about the weight on the bar, but also strength in your character. If you have a big total, and have a weak character, you are still a weak human being. You are good at a niche sport, that does not require the world to respect you.
10 years in combat sports taught me a lot about respect and checking my ego at the door. I am grateful for that. I was surrounded by some very tough guys that never had anything to prove to anyone else. They were respectful and exhibited strong character.
I walked into the gym one day thinking I was the toughest kid on the planet. I got my ass kicked and continued to get my ass kicked for a couple of years until I began to develop a better skill set. This had a way of knocking my arrogance out of me and bringing me to reality.
Unfortunately, powerlifting is not quite the same. It is a testosterone filled sport with a bunch of dudes yelling and puffing out their chests. The problem with that is you aren’t allowed to hit them in the face. Society frowns upon those actions.
There is no way to teach respect other than trying to lead by example. The elite lifters and the coaches out there should be these examples. This sport has some great ones. Jen Thompson, LS McClain, and Ray Williams are great ambassadors of the sport. There are many others too.
There are also ones, that I will not name, that are the exact opposite. I emphasize with my team that we respect our gym, we respect the equipment, and we respect each other. We help people out at meets when we can, and we try to bring a positive and welcoming environment with us.
This has been confirmed to me by other people. I have been thanked many times and told how nice and helpful my team is. This is because the captains I have selected carry the torch well and lead by example.
This doesn’t mean we don’t compete. We fucking compete. We have a lot of strong lifters that when it is go time they get after. They are confident and aggressive when they have to be. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to be an asshole the rest of the time.
I have been told constantly to ignore this poor behavior. However, I do not think ignoring it is the answer. I will not get into online with anyone anymore. I would not coach an elite lifter with this kind of attitude. Character matters that much to me.
I would rather compete with a group of hardworking, average lifters, that promote the growth of the sport in a positive manner. These are strong human beings. When selecting a coach, I hope people take into consideration the coach’s character as well as their experience level and credentials.
If you are reading this and you think it is about you, it probably is. Hopefully it elicits some self-reflection, but if not I am sure I will see you complaining about it on the internet. If you still have a problem and want to try another niche sport just let me know I got all of the equipment.