I once lived in Holland, Michigan, where, one summer’s day, a friend – Brooks Besjovec – asked if I’d like to see some…
Red Chinese Bats?
It wasn’t far, he said, located just off of Ottawa Beach Road along the north shore of Lake Macatawa, so I skeptically agreed and the journey ensued.
It was late afternoon when we arrived. We parked along the side of a road near a local wind-surfing shop which I was familiar with, and my friend pointed across the yard of a nearby house. There, roughly four feet off of the ground, I could see a large rectangular-shaped wooden box between two trees.
As we approached, Brooks cautioned me not to startle the bats, to approach the cage slowly, quietly. In so doing, I could see that the top of the cage was open, covered only with chicken wire.
A painted sign attached to the cage read, “Chinese Bats”, and, as I peered inside, I could see that my friend had indeed been telling the truth; there before my eyes were two red plastic Wiffle Bats – a.k.a., toy baseball bats (Made In China).
It was 1996 and I was 32 years old living in Kalamazoo, Michigan. My gym was American Fitness and I was working out 5 days per week (3-on-1-off, 2-on-1-off).
One day, I noticed a flyer posted on the bulletin board, advertising for a strong man contest to be held in 2 weeks – who could bench press their own weight the most times? This was my favorite exercise, so I decided to enter the competition.
The contest would be judged, and lifters had to adhere to the following rules:
- no bouncing weight off of ones chest
- no arched back – ones back must remain flat, in contact with bench
- to count, each repetition must be full and cleared as “good” by judge
- contestants would compete based on a weight class bracket
The event was to be held at an old, industrial building near the railroad tracks on the east side of town, used at that time for a bar known as The Warehouse. Based on my weight, I was in the 175-200 lbs. weight class bracket.
When it was time, I arrived to see that many others were also interested in competing, and a local news station had their camera set up to record the event. The first order of business entailed stepping on a scale to be weighed by an official. Each individual did so in private without clothing, and I weighed 190.5 lbs.
It was at that point that I learned another contest rule – that is, that weights would be rounded up in 5-lb. increments. Thus, I’d be lifting 195 lbs. instead of my actual weight. It was suggested that I run outside around the building a few times – hoping to lose 1/2 pound – and that a second weighing would be made available. I thought about it but wanted to conserve my energy, so I declined.
I waited for my turn back in the main room, stretching my muscles and warming-up on one of several bench presses made available.
When I was finally called, I walked up onto the stage, listened to a brief review of the rules by an official, and then got into position on the bench. Next, as with each competitor, a judge (a.k.a., the spotter) assisted in safely removing the weight from the rack, thereafter releasing contact for me to begin lifting.
I bench pressed 195 lbs. for 29 clean repetitions, good enough for second place in my weight class bracket. First place went to a 178 lb. competitor (from my gym!) who pressed 180 lbs. for 31 clean repetitions.
All told, I bench pressed 5655 lbs. during that series of lifts, which (in consolation only) was a total of 75 lbs. more then the winner. My 29 presses were also the 2nd most of any competitor across all weight class brackets at the event.
February 14, 2019
December 25, 2018
Today is the 50th anniversary of Bullitt – one of my favorites – a classic 1968 action film starring Steve McQueen, featuring what is considered to be the greatest car chase scene ever filmed! IMDb describes the movie as follows:
An all guts, no glory San Francisco cop becomes determined to find the underworld kingpin that killed the witness in his protection.
Co-starring: Jacqueline Bisset, Robert Vaugh, Don Gordon, Robert Duvall, Simon Oakland, Norman Fell and Georg Stanford Brown.
And, a 1968 390 V8 Ford Mustang GT Fastback!
It’s June 21st, today, and summer has officially arrived ~ welcome! This beachside picture is based on a free photograph from unsplash.com, wherein I’ve utilized both Adobe Photoshop and Filter Forge creative software. Enjoy the season…
While waiting in line today at the grocery store, the notion that January is just around the corner crossed my mind. I questioned whether or not I would make a resolution for the coming year, and, if so, would I fully commit to following through on that decision?
It seems that, each year, many people experience disappointment in failing to uphold their stated goals. I, too, of course, have shared such moments, though hope that the coming year may be different.
After some thought, I came to a conclusion: starting in 2018, I resolve to give up lettuce.