Monday marked the beginning of a new school year, new training cycle and new friendships.  Change can be welcomed, tolerated or embraced.  Which way we approach change says a good deal about ourselves.  Much like many other people, I embrace change differently.  I eat my grapes in even numbers and take specific routes to each destination I drive to,  I an on the fence when it comes to new clothes and I’m a fan of anonymous gifts of cash I receive.  We are a spectrum of possibilities. It should then come as no surprise that each of these beginnings lightens my eyes in different manners.

I am beginning my seventh year as a graduate student in mathematics at the University of Georgia, stay with me Yellow Jackets and War Eagles, and have struggled most of the way.  The easiest part of graduate school for me has always been the departmental picnic and departmental Christmas party.  Although socially awkward, it is hard to be wrong at these events.  Math is a bit more of a cruel mistress. While I enjoy math, my acumen could use some enhancement. This year I begin anew my old pursuits and work to move forward in confidence.  The new school year, however, does not only usher in new work on my research and new classes for myself, but also a new class of students to teach.

Teaching is my bulwark and, in as much, becomes my passion when the other components of my annus mirabilis is a bit less miracle than I would like. I enjoy teaching. I revel in the opportunity to be a guide to new students, but this comes with a heavy burden, how best to accomplish the task of keeping all the kids in the boat.  A teacher can’t be the teacher every student wants, nor often the teacher every student needs.  This is the fallacy of programs such as No Child Left Behind.  It is hard enough to get everyone to put there names on there papers. In any moment of my lecture I am sure there are students who follow, students who have a question and students who can’t figure out why one window blind is down and all the others are not. My challenge is to find the latter two groups and engage them.  While my course may only be a hurdle in their college lives, it can become a catalyst for curiosity.  At the end of the semester I hope to have been seen as a teacher and not a lecturer and a guide not a task master.  With each new beginning we encounter people which may grow into friends and confidants.  I have had past students which I deem this to have happened with and new friends add facets to ourselves which allow us to shine in new ways.

Monday also marked the beginning of new friendships.  During my training session I had a new partner, Darryl Connors, join me for my squat technique day. It was the first day of a ten week cycle leading up to my next powerlifting competition, the Night of the Living Dead, or NOTLD.  This is my first invite/application only meet and is limited to only 30 lifters.  Each year it takes place in Elizabethton, TN, the birtplace of Bob Peoples.  Bob Peoples could be called the father of the dead lift, he was the first man to dead lift officially in a competition, and was the first man to dead lift over 700 pounds in the mid 1930s.  This years competition will be featured on Fox Sports on October 23rd and marks the 100 anniversary of Mr. Peoples birth.  As a testament to the date lifters of world renown will be coming to this little town to lift big.  I am honored to be part of such an event.  If you are curious, check out the link in the sidebar. On my first cycle day:

NOTLD D1 Squat

I was displeased with today’s session.  My technique was flawed.  The major problem I saw was my knees not getting out which exacerbates my problem with the bar drifting forward on descent.  I would also like to make smaller jumps to ensure I get more practice in next Monday. All squatting dome beltless. Front squat went poorly.  I may have been overly zealous bout my front squatting plans.  Lying leg raises were fine, although I certainly could have put my ankle weights on and done more.  Next week I still have to make a decision on whether, or not, to add some sumo pulling into the mix. Video of the last four sets of squats and the sessions set write up:

Squat 44 x 20 132 x 6 198 x 3
220x  3 264 x 3 308 x 3
331 x 3
Front squat 154 x 3 198 x 3 264 x 1
Lying leg raises –          X 8 –          X 8 –          X 8

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