The Key to Progress
Summer 1994. Southern Ontario. It was the crack of noon and I was pumping out set after gruelling set of biceps curls. The garage door was open and a slight wind blew in. The breeze did nothing to comfort me in my sweaty Mike Tyson t-shirt. I looked down at my TIMEX watch wrapped around my sweaty and small wrist. Oh how i wished that narrow wrist and forearms would grow! So I determined myself to execute set after brutal set until they grew. That particular day I was just a young man of 14 years old when I was handed a warn yellow book filled with earmarks. The title in blue letters read "The Keys to Progress" and in red letters below "John McCallum". "If you ever want to actually get somewhere read this". I watched the man walk away. His upper back stretched his sweaty shirt horizontally and his forearms bulged as he left the garage. My father did not often waste his words. I regarded the book in my hands with skepticism and placed it beside the work bench where it stayed for several weeks.
Spring 2000. Calgary. I felt what i was later told was a massive collision only a little. I remember using the running backs body to get up. It was Dino May football camp weekend and my years of lifting were paying off. I was fast and explosive. Coming in as a 19 year old walk-on was tough as they put you with the vets but I was more then holding my own. I lined up my 214 lb body up for another play, confident that my armour would hold.
Winter 2010. Vancouver. The roar of the crowd was deafening. Marianne St-Gelais crossed the finish line in the women's 500 meter short track final. St-Gelais skated to the coaches side and was embraced by boyfriend Charles Hamelin . St-Gelais and Hamelin were the darlings of those Olympics and the CBC focused in on the private celebration. Canadians everywhere celebrated. But she didn't win, she came second. China's Wang Meng had crossed the finish line in a blistering 42.98, and a new Olympic record. I wasn't at the rink that day actually. I was at a bar in Richmond watching. My skin tone doesn't do well with red, but that day I was wearing my National Team red and yellow with the Chinese flag on the upper left side of my chest. I had worked and lived with the Chinese for 4 years leading up to that race as the speed and power coach. Everyone in the game knew before the Olympics even started that Wang Meng was going to win that race. Yes she was a better skater then the other competitors but she was also far more powerful.
Winter 2016. I looked over print out of the year on year comparison of my athlete Brynn. She had added 9 inches to her vertical jump in 8 months. The lanky frame was starting to fill out. Soon she would physically dominate her competition playing against grade 12 girls as a freshmen. Girls years older would only marvel at her strength.
Borrowing from the brilliant McCallum i have decided to write a strength and power series focused on my own evolution from a weak 115 lbs 13 year old to a 214 lb speed and power athlete to my ongoing evolution as a coach. I hope you enjoy.