Category: Family

In celebration of three snow days in Athens, GA and five continuous days off after a all too generous Christmas and New Years break I offer up these photos of my holiday festivities.

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Only a Man

I am a man.  Only a man.  I am built of passion, the sinews of muscle that bind these bones, and the blood that stirs, but passion is my master.

I will carry love through the battlegrounds of this world, through life and into death.  When hope is lost you will find my strength.

I am a force of rage.  I will cut through the family trees of my enemies, from the strongest root to the newest growth.

I am a man. Only a man. I am built of passion. I am a juggernaut, but fall without the embrace of others.

I cry fiery tears of despair when I imagine a world bereft of your presence. I sit alone on an island built on the rocks that are my fears.

My memory is built upon many things, but rage holds my hand to lead me forward. I embrace vengeance for past affronts and grow flush with anticipation.

I am a man. A broken man. My flaws are manifold and I see few solutions.

I cling to those that can carry my shattered heart in the wake of my actions.  Those whose flesh I would carry through the battles they lack the strength to wage alone.

Without passion I am neither the hero, nor the companion I must be.  I am only a shell. A man none-the-less, but only flesh.

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This Saturday I had the honor of not only meeting some of the best lifters in the World, but also competing against them. Many of the lifters would have remained unknown to me were it not for the vision of Alex Campbell and the affronts of a group of people who pulled the Night of the Living Dead from the clutches of the USAPL, though I call it home. The opening of these doors brought a group with greater depth than could have been hoped for from a single federation to lift against one another and forged friendships and camaraderie where monolifts, the number of plys a man, or woman, wears, and whether or not he, or she, is subject to OMTs.

From across the country, and indeed across the seas, lifters descended upon Elizabethton, TN to bend over, grab a piece of steel laden with steel discs, and pick it up all to the applause of hundreds of fans in an unlit high school gym with smoke effects and deafening music. We call it the dead lift, a lift forgotten in the era of lifting equipment. From the smallest, Haydin Spradlin at only 62 pounds and still bearing the load of childhood, to the largest, Andy Bolton weighing a staggering 335 pounds. There were many with world titles and world records to their credit across the diaspora of federations powerlifting now has the sadness of trying to piece together. Great lifts were made and great lifts were missed, but everyone brought only their best and received the cheers of a frenzied crowd as they strode to the stage and faced the PRs of yesterday and the aspirations of the day of competition.

For the women first place was taken by Natalie Freed with a pull of 352.7 pounds at a mere 119 pounds of body weight and second place went to Rhonda Clark who pulled 440.9 pounds missing her third attempt at 463. The men saw the much-anticipated battle of Mr. Andy Bolton and Mr Tom Eiseman. This year Andy Bolton took the win with a Schwartz score of 214.9 via a third attempt pull of 964.5 pounds, wearing a singlet, a belt, and enough chalk to coat a smaller mans body. Mr. Eiseman made a second pull of 755.1, giving him a Schwartz score of 213.38, missing a third attempt at 771.6 pounds, which would have given him the win with a Schwartz score of 218.05, had Mr. Bolton not pulled at least 979.05 pounds.

The other twenty-one competitors did not fail to impress either, and I am humbly including myself in the same group. The complete list of the results, in pounds, is given after the video of my meet and pictures of the competitors, their families,, friends, and some of the people who made this all run smoothly.

For my part I had the pleasure of pulling my first 600+ pull with 606. Although I was unhappy with my training for the last few weeks to a month, and there was a twinge on my last warm-up in my low back, I conquered the challenge that I had set for myself on the platform and look forward to something even greater next year. I would like to thank all the lifters, Alex Campbell, the fans cheering, and the Elizabethton high school powerlifting club for making it such a great experience. I would also like to thank the woman who not only carried my son while I was off chasing dragons, but carried him in her womb until the moment Elijah came into my life. You are my world and without you I have no purpose.

Name BWt
Sch DL 1 DL 2 DL 3 Best DL Coeff Score Pl-
1F.Natalie Freed 119 0.911 314.2 336.2 352.7 352.7 145.78 1-F
2F.Rhonda Clark 165.4 0.664 413.4 440.9 -463.0 440.9 132.90 2-F
3F.Sarah Kapoor 111.6 0.982 253.5 -275.6 -275.6 253.5 113.00 3-F
4F.Jennifer Payne 157.8 0.689 286.6 308.6 336.2 336.2 105.19 4-F
5F.Ramona Patterson 153.2 0.707 275.6 308.6 -341.7 308.6 99.04 5-F
1M.Andy Bolton 334.5 0.491 837.7 0.0 964.5 964.5 214.90 1-M
2F.Thomas Eiseman 180.4 0.623 711.0 755.1 -771.6 755.1 213.38 2-M
3M.Orlando Green 223.2 0.551 749.6 804.7 815.7 815.7 203.98 3-M
4M.Ryan Snelling 153 0.708 567.7 622.8 -655.9 622.8 200.09 4-M
5M.Mike Hedlesky 229.8 0.545 749.6 -810.2 -815.7 749.6 185.37 5-M
6M.Derek Wilcox 194.6 0.592 633.8 677.9 -705.5 677.9 182.10 6-M
7M.Damon Meyers 191.2 0.599 639.3 666.9 -705.5 666.9 181.23 7-M
8M.David Cooper 250 0.532 694.4 738.5 -766.1 738.5 178.49 8-M
9M.”Drew” Sheffield 234.4 0.541 705.5 -804.7 -804.7 705.5 173.31 9-M
10M.Mike McCoy 242.8 0.536 644.8 677.9 705.5 705.5 171.65 10-M
11M.Carlos Rijos 199.6 0.583 611.8 644.8 -705.5 644.8 170.64 11-M
12M.Mark Ferris 249.4 0.533 700.0 -755.1 0.0 700.0 169.26 12-M
13M.Robert Dale 265.4 0.526 700.0 -738.5 -738.5 700.0 167.20 13-M
14M.Charlie Conner 177 0.631 529.1 573.2 -600.8 573.2 164.11 14-M
15M.Markcus Millner 326.8 0.494 617.3 -655.9 716.5 716.5 160.78 15-M
16M.Steven Winburn 216.4 0.558 540.1 573.2 606.3 606.3 153.62 16-M
17M.Paul Sutphin 197.8 0.586 512.6 540.1 0.0 540.1 143.69 17-M
18M.Zach Seymour 90 1.281 214.9 226.0 237.0 237.0 137.73 18-M
19M.Wayne Stover 188 0.605 468.5 -501.5 -501.5 468.5 128.67 19-M
20M.Hayden Spradlin 62 1.281 148.8 170.9 187.4 187.4 108.90 20-M

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Where I’ve Fallen

Today I came home early from work to hold my son. I sang to him and cried at how happy it made me to have him in my life. The thing is, he is already more than I am, or will be. He is the greatest gift his mother and I have ever received. He is God’s breath in my life, the buttress of my faith, the hope for a better tomorrow, and how I define love. My failures fade in the brilliance of his being.

Elijah tempers my faults. When my hands are clenched in rage he unfurls them with innocence. When I boil with frustration and contempt for the moments of my life I find unbearable, he calms. If I grab and hold steadfast to intolerance, he reaches with open arms to embrace the unknown. Every dream I carry each day in flights of fancy is replaced with the solid hope for his happiness and strong growth. He gives me reason to covet only he and his mothers comfort in times of need and fills my heart when it feels empty.

Elijah is my dreams growing each day. Each tomorrow is filled with a chance to carry him through the trials of his life. Whether it be helping him roll from his belly to his back and back to his belly again, or celebrating his first time catching a ball. Comforting him after a fall when all he needs is to know I am there, or sitting with him when he first falls in love and when he taste the sting of lost love.

It is only fitting to close this thought with humble appreciation for the wife who carried Elijah for nine months and birthed him into this world, with awe of a God who made it possible to spread joy in such a profound way, and with unyielding love for a son whom I hope will only taste the best of life, but should he face trials, that he face them squarely and rise above them.

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