Monday, September 30, 2013

Connected, Turned On, Cranked Up (not a fitness blog)

(As the training and atmosphere has evolved, so has the blog.  I apologize in advance for not writing about push ups and sprints all the time.)

The more I move along, I learn/accept/understand how important connections are to our state of mind and probably overall well being.  I guess it could be just me, but the more I write and share, the more people tell me how much they relate, so I use "we," and "our," and "us," much more often.  
And even in using those words, they're "connecting," adjectives... So that's where my mind is.
Which is ironic and difficult for me sometimes.  Because the thing I need most is the thing I actually avoid out of fear.  Why?  When I was younger, I struggled w keeping energy low and chill, so my instincts are to crank it up and look to maximize every opportunity and push the envelope, however possible.  Over time, I realized a few things, A) it's really annoying :) and B) not every moment has to explode through the sky the way I was always aiming.  Basically, I felt a little like an alien... So I pulled away and hid a bit.   I felt out of place. Like

I'd get invited out... I'd make up an excuse to stay home. (As I'm writing, our lady peace's live version of "innocent" came on the pod for everyone to hear -

But something crushed that this summer... A few things actually.  Like a giant came through and smashed all my little hiding places and  I somehow plugged back in... Through music, through training, through experiences, they were all sending me messages and signs.   Everywhere I went, I was reading "come back," and "get out of the damn house."  I mentioned a few blogs ago about my delay in deciding to coach and I've thought about quitting training many, many times... But it all settled and I realized something's that were very hard to realize younger.  I'm needed here.  
At first read, you may have read that like I'm being egotistical, but I'd say the same thing about you too.   You're needed here.  
I ignored that for a long, long time... I refused to believe it.  You may call it a "self worth," issue, I'm fine with that.  Exposing insecurities builds strength and I have zero issues exposing my flaws or insecurities.   

"Wrap it up!"
The connection... It's fresh air.  The more we talk, the more we share, the better we are.  I truly believe that.  Even on a weirdo, deep level that I love to dive to... Let's say the yoga world :) moving together, breathing and sweating... That's awesome :) Saying something that sparks a thought to ten people and they're all on this epic level... God, that's amazing to witness.  

I'm making more of an effort to get back to my true inner voice and further... No more caution lights, dive into what you fear and really feel it. 

Of course, my mind is all on this "primal theory," of who we are or what we are as humans, developing and evolving.  I referenced above "fresh air," and how refreshing conversations and connections are.  I believe that's so crucial to full fill our lives.... To talk and share thoughts and feelings... Eye contact... Body language... Breath... Open expressions of experiences... Empathy and sympathy... It's all needed, like air.

At the top I said "as I move along..."
Because it's a path, a journey, with so much to experience along the way.  If you keep your head down or cut yourself off from society and people, you're going to miss the fun.  
Where are you connecting?
Where are you avoiding connections?

If we were reaching, what could this have to do w fitness?
Maybe energy level would be higher, lower anxiety or stress levels.  Those three things right there could recenter your focus and get you headed in a better direction.

Shed the ego, expose yourself, and live freely.

Peace, love and empathy.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


(Writing this from my phone app.  Please excuse any typos.)

I recently shared my little back issue and the hurdles and issues it created, then the "rehab," process (acupuncture).  Since that day, a little over 1 week ago, I've run about 15 total miles.  Not a lot but it is considering I wasn't able to run one 14 days ago and had zero miles the previous 2 months.
Now... It's all I want to do.  Obviously I can't be a dummy, I need to ease back in, change form a little and be careful w the back/hips to not slide backwards.  I've shortened my "stride," and more careful of how I plant and push.  (Btw, I placed stride in quotes because when your run is more of a mediocre home run trot... It's not much of a stride.  I have stumpy legs.). 
Anyway... During my runs, listening to a podcast or the new (and awesome) John Mayer album, I'm noticing things.  I used to run w the intention of hitting x amount of miles.  Now, I'm just running for enjoyment and literally enjoying it, big time.  My moderate pace, feels like a nice jog.  I'm running around the city just to run down streets I've never been on.  I'm doing at night because... Well, that's when I get home, but also, it's just prettier and quiet.  There aren't as many cars out... The sun is down, the stars are out and there's a calm in the neighborhoods. I'm appreciating the experience much more for just being a calm, simple, relaxing experience and break from the day... To just breathe and move. 

That's what's kinda funny about injuries or catching a little flu bug... You appreciate your health more.  Feeling good now, I want to be smart and take advantage, to not slip back.   To not take health for granted... And that means time as well, we all know it's limited and valuable.  
I meet people, able bodies... And they're in some lala land thinking their diets and lifestyle is going to keep them strong into their 40's, 50's and beyond... They'll figure it out.  

If you're reading this and not quite tapped into your "you," not quite plugged into those thoughts you have but not put the action to...  Think about it.  Think about your life, your goals, things you want to achieve or experience.... Go for walk and think and feel.  
Ask yourself why. 
Ask yourself what needs to happen to get it rolling.
It might be health related, it might be going back the school or moving out of your parents or anything.   
Goals are inside and they want out, they want to live too.  Let them out and experience it all.  
Inside is the artist of your life... Paint your picture with no fear.  

One day, this back injury may creep back and I'll regret NOT running.  

**Addition - last night at football, we end w some brief position mtgs and talk for a moment, I'm w the linebackers.  
I say "the seasons half over... Counting summer ball, we've been together about 7 weeks... We have 6+ a playoff run left.  Use this home stretch as motivation to want to work harder for and w each other.   Seniors, your run is coming to a close soon and the time will fly... Don't regret NOT working hard.  Underclassmen, this is a great opportunity to work w a unit like this... Enjoy the ride and give everything you can to the moment, to the team, for yourself and yor friends."
That's one of the beauties of a season, you know when it's coming to an end.   It forces you to appreciate the subtleties that much more.  Every day is loaded w unique experiences that won't happen again.  
The leaves start to change... The air smells different.., the sun goes down a little earlier everyday.  
Soon, it'll be winter and we'll wonder where another season went...

Saturday, September 21, 2013


I don't think I really touched on the subject often, but up until about 6 days ago, I was having some pretty serious back issues.   Because of the type of pain I was feeling, I was sure it was a pinched nerve... you know, plus we all have x-ray vision and can diagnose ourselves?  Anyway, the pain was sharp, real sharp.  I had trouble standing from a seated position, body weight squats hurt and getting out of bed in the morning was very painful.  Running was impossible.  Planting the right foot with any force at all sent a lightening bolt into my back and hips.
I went to the chiropractor a couple times and it felt ok, but the pain never really faded.
One day I thought "Why the heck haven't I ran this past Jared???"

A few years ago, I was having similar pains plus some.  Doctors and pills and treatments weren't doing a thing, so I found Jared West and tried acupuncture.  Jared is by far, one of the most intelligent and interesting people I've ever had a conversation with.  I cant wait to get the podcasts rolling just so I can hang with him and ask 1,000,000 questions.   So we met a few years back and like magic, he fixed me up.  No meds, no back cracking, no massages, just these teeny tiny needles that I never really felt.  He poked them in, I chilled out for 20 minutes, he pulled them out and that was that.  (Through out talks, he sent me to my first yoga class and we know how that turned out).

So I emailed him a few weeks ago telling him whats going and he said "Come on in, we can probably fix that in one session."  One session?  I can barely move!  We'll see about this.
I went in, we ran a few "tests," I guess you can call them, he worked his needle magic and the next night I ran 3 miles for the first time since probably May or June.
Now, its obviously not "needle magic," its a science of sorts.  If you're unfamiliar, acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine where certain points of your body are activated or stimulated with the needles.   I don't know which areas are designated for which issues, that's Jared's expertise, but you can probably google a body map and see it.
This is just one more example of what I always say, our bodies are incredible and we have everything we need right here.  We just need the tool kit and knowledge to tap into it all.  When our minds and our bodies are clear and in sync... anything, absolutely anything can happen.
I highly recommend Jared to everyone I know.


This is my first season back in coaching since Joe Paterno passed away.
(I pause after writing that... and tear up a bit)
Its kinda crazy... I didn't play a down for him but I felt very attached to his program, his philosophies... his story... his legacy, everything.  I've worn blue and white for as long as I can remember.
When the story broke about Jerry Sandusky and things unfolded... I was crushed.  (I met Jerry once and had a conversation about defenses and linebacker play.  He was also one of the reasons I coached and coached linebackers.)  When Coach Paterno was called out for not doing enough, then fired... that was hard.  Everything I believed, everything I tried to model myself after, was gone.  Really gone.  And when he died, I cried for a long time.  I know that sounds a little goofy, but he was my idol.  Legit.  I read every book about him.  I know his college stats from playing at Brown waaaay back in the mid 1940's.  Basically, a bunch of info you don't care to read now :)  you'll have to trust me, this guy meant a lot to me.   I'd visit the campus for coaching or lifting/training seminars and eventually annoyed the staff enough to where they would email me info or invite me up.  Seeing that field house, the weight room, the facility, and being around those coaches and that atmosphere... unreal.  Coaching football meant a lot to me and to be able to get training directly from the people I looked up to most... it couldn't possibly be any better.
To be funny and annoy my Buckeye friends, I'd carry a picture in my wallet and "accidentally," let it flop open just so they'd have to see his face.
So when it all went down... I felt my identity, my ego, was attached to that same foundation.  Its kinda of a crazy feeling when your idol crashes like that.   I really thought I was done coaching.  I lost a lot of fire when he died.  I stopped writing, I didn't train a few days, I was a little depressed.
(My thoughts are a little scrambled on this topic... I just want to keep writing about the memories and emotions)

Point is, when he died, I lost my fire.  I felt like too much of who I became, was guided by that program and if the program wasn't what I thought it was, then who am I?  One idol was a child rapist heading to prison for life, the other is accused of covering it up... I felt everything I learned there was built on lies.  I thought they stood for honor and integrity, no matter what and it helped me.  That thought, those standards, helped me become who I was, who I am... and if they lied... I just couldn't handle it.
So I didn't want to coach anymore and had a real hard time motivating teams I was working with.

A few months back, Brian (who I coached with at Ledgemont) called me, telling me he was the new DC at NDCL and would like to discuss bringing me on.  I kinda blew it off, hoping he wouldn't continue asking me.  I appreciated that he thought of me, but wasn't interested.  But Brians pretty persistent.
So I decided to meet with the head coach just to talk and feel things out.  It was extremely refreshing that we really didn't talk about football, we talked about people, we talked about kids and teaching.  Then we talked about Penn State... and I almost walked out.  A panic button went off and I thought, "Nope... lets go back home."  But we talked about it all, turns out he (Ben Melbasa, excellent, excellent coach) was also a JoePa.PSU guy growing up.  I told him my #1 goal is to find a true home in a school and never leave.  That was my inner JoePa dream.  Find a home and stay forever, be great, teach, guide, honor, integrity, leadership, honesty... and be real about it all, not just mumbo jumbo coach talk.
So I said yes to the job and there I am, coaching linebackers at NDCL.

Early on, there's a lot of teaching, mechanic wise.  Footwork, hip movement, etc.  Basic things.  But when it came to motivation and turning up the heat... I couldn't find it.  I was puttering.  I could feel it in my heart, but the words just weren't flying out the way they once did... and I started to second guess my decision.  I really beat myself up about.  I hold coaching in very high regard and I started to feel like I was ripping them off, getting paid for a job I wasn't brought in to do.  Anyone can learn the x's and o's but not everyone can actually do the job from top to bottom, I once did... I used to be able... but now I was missing my top gears!  Where'd they go?  Did the fire really fade?  Couldn't I just tap into my history and pull it out again at will?  It was gone.
A few Saturdays ago, I was able to clear my schedule and spend the day completely alone.  I walked, I read, and I walk around some more.  I didn't work, I didn't do anything distracting.  I just needed to find an avenue to hit that "CTRL/ALT/DELETE button on my brain and reset the system.
So I meditated in the am... then again in the PM... then went for another walk and sat down again in my backyard around midnight and closed my eyes again to breathe more... and it came to me.

Nothing was ever fake.  Everything I learned was still there.  Everything he said... was still true.  People make mistakes.  (pausing)
People make mistakes... that doesn't mean their words are bullshit, it just means they made a mistake.  He loved football, he loved the University, he loved his players and he loved teaching the wisdom and all the details.  Whatever it was that JoePa did or didn't do, doesn't dissolve the great things he did do, the things he did say... I let that thought marinade and run around my head and I swear, I felt lighter.  I smiled.  And my coaching greatly improved the next day and since... greatly.

(I posted today "Watching PSU now is like driving by the house you grew up in..."  theres love for the memories, but its time to find a new home, a real home... hopefully on that beautiful campus out in south Chardon)


Leadership is a tricky thing.  To lead, someone must follow.  To lead, you must be a legit leader, people have to believe you.  To lead, you have to inspire others to do the things they may think they cant, to inspire them to reach outside themselves and reach for new heights.
In coaching/training/teaching, that's the good stuff.  In those roles, you're a leader and looking to teach leaders how to be more effective.  Sometimes, you have guys/gals that think they're leaders, but no one wants to follow.  Sometimes you have guys/gals that don't think they're leaders, but they are... those are the good ones, if they can open it up and let loose.
Leaders aren't afraid.  Some may argue with that, that they're afraid of letting down the team.  But I don't think so.  You have to have guts to step to the front and be ready to fight first, the let your heart out there for others to see... that's essential.
Leadership is emotional.
Leadership is thoughtful.  
Leadership is honesty.
No holds barred, honesty.  And you cant be afraid of anything.
You cant be afraid to be wrong, you cant be afraid to fail, you cant be afraid to go too far... if you are, you inevitably will fail.  you wont break through and you'll never be great.  Harsh?  Maybe, but if you can't handle it, don't lead.

I read an old Pearl Jam article today on  They talked about in the old days, when Eddie forced the band to pull back, stop promoting, stop doing interview, stop filming videos, stopping working with ticketmaster, etc.  They said, at the time, it felt like crap and that they would fail.  Looking back, they see it saved their career and possibly their lives.  How?  Why?  Eddie is/was the leader... he knew they had to pull away from the spotlight, no matter how wrong it seemed, how many millions of dollars they would leave on the table.  He followed his vision and his heart and he was right.
(In that process, they lost the fans who only wanted radio singles and held onto those who loved the pull back into an almost underground persona of sorts... ahhhh, dont you make you smile?)

Are we ever really wrong when we do that?
Isn't that ultimately what leadership is?
If we're quiet, we hear that whisper... and if we listen, we'll be ok.  If we let our friends vote for us... eh, we might be ok, but maybe not, but then we're just a follower letting people vote on what we do.  Are we on a reality show?

Sometimes, we have to make hard decisions or do things that seem scary... that's living, that's creating the experience and that means everything.


last topic...
I'm addicted to instagram, not sure how it happened.  Annnnnnd Im pretty proud of some of my pics too :)  I have a bit of an obsession these days with landscape... it tells such a great story.  I think coaching out in Chardon (NDCL) has a lot to do with it.  Ive never coached in such a beautiful environment.  Trees allll around.  Its amazing.
I don't usually promote my social media profiles, but I like what goes on here.  If interested, here's the link.
Training pics, some personal pics, landscapes, anything I can find or come across that inspires.

Peace, love and empathy

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Excuse me, while i kiss the sky... (this blog is not for everyone and its not really about fitness)

Admit you just played a little guitar after reading that... no?  Then you need to download that song and learn the air guitar!

Anyway, I wrote something in the last blog about the natural high and its been rattling around my brain since.  The "how did it get there?" part.  Why do little things excite the hell out of me?  Literally...  My heart rate accelerates when I witness something unique, no matter how irrelevant someone may find it... I cant tell, I've never asked anyone.  Lately, the sky and clouds have amazed me every single morning.  Those I'm friends with on instagram have seen nearly every skyline I've passed over the last month.
That might be why I love working with, training and coaching kids... they're still pretty un-rattled with the daily stresses that absorb us.  They have stress, absolutely, but they also still have a sense of innocence, no matter how tough and big some try to to act.  I see the truth.

So I wrote a blog that I probably wont publish.  I tried to sit down and detail the events of my life that probably helped shape this "high," mentality.  I tried to write about all the music and why its important.  I tried to write about all the friends I've had and the relationships and the how's and why's of it all.  I tried to write about the books I've read and how I found them and what they did to me...

But none of it seemed to bring it into focus.

Then I reread, "Tick, tick, tick."
Then I reread, "when you want to succeed," and "Public Enemy #1"
And a few other old ones and it became clear.  First thing i thought was "Jeez, I really wrote some things that I used to be real shy to say out loud."  Second thing I thought was "I was pretty fired up," and I can feel that same passion in re-reading those.
Tick, Tick, Tick, probably captures it best as to the why behind my "high," and the life and the music and books and people I've known all helped shape it and bring it out.

I've accepted the clock, I always have.  I accept it and acknowledge it every day, in everything I do.  Literally.  I think all the Zen type books and Buddhism helped me settle down a bit but Scarlett says all the time, "You just do things different, you're able to flip switches and go."  I feel a deep sense of urgency to accomplish my goal list (I have two goal lists that I take pretty seriously).  Its very important to me.  I think I have time... but I don't take a single moment for granted.  Not one.  I mean that.  Every single day, I acknowledge the possibility of the end of every situation.
Every conversation I have, at some point i think "Say it... this could be the last conversation."
Every class I teach, I need to walk and calm down because at some point on the way I think, "this could be the last class."
Everything I do, I acknowledge this could be the last...
Its a desperate mindset in a way, but it really helps to force you to look around and pay attention to things you may take for granted.  
I struggle w being around people or situations that act like "there's always tomorrow."   I just can't see it that way... That type of thinking feels lazy, complacent and will inevitably lose at life.  People who "wait til tomorrow," eventually run out of tomorrow's and are left w emptiness and regret, having experienced very little.  
I want everyday to have incredible highlights and memories... People think its unrealistic... I think they're boring people.

My memory for heartfelt conversations is incredible and I haven't forgotten anything.   I have a fire inside that's burning from conversations and moments that date back to when I was too young to know how I old I was.  Trust me.  Not a bad, angry fire and not an entirely pleasant one... but an honest one.  

There are people counting on me that I cannot let down... I wont let it happen.  I see the clock in the distance and there absolutely no time to waste.
So the high... I know full well with all my heart, this is all a great gift.  Everything is.  I post things about loving my job and the people in my life... not for show :)  I truly see all of this as a gift.  Our days, our moments, our talks, our texts, our laughs and things we share.  This life is incredible.  Truly.

I didn't think Id reference music here but I wrote something above that forced a damn guitar riff into my head and I've been humming it since I wrote this line.
I don't take it personal that only 3 people will click the video but this song has been my running song since, ohhhhh, 1992 ish.  Its my alarm clock, its my centering song and brings it all into perspective and I could talk about it for hours.


These blogs would be so much better in conversation around a bonfire :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Stop Observing/Primal Weight Class/Power Plus/Modest Mouse/Habit

It's been a little while since I've just sat down and let whatever random thoughts that have been circulating, spill onto the keyboard... 


My reference was "I feel like a 65 yr old lady."  
I don't really leave the house for much... I work and coach and that's about it.  I don't think I'm anti-social or anything like that, I think I might work too many hours and by a certain point, I just need to go home and sit down.  
But yesterday afternoon, Scarlett and I went to a flea market on E 55th and I never thought I'd say this, but it was awesome!  I loved the entire thing!  So much to see and so many cool people selling some really, really cool things.  Not junk like a garage sale or anything like that, but items that were built or collected, pieces with character and history.  People with passion and awesome energy about the things they were offering... and it felt like an offering, not selling. 
I had a brief conversation with Mike Lea who owns Black Kitten Vintage ( with his wife, Laura.  What a table they had!   I should have taken a pic to show you!  You know how sometimes you see someone selling some vintage items and its like "Eh... just old crap?"  not this table.  I seriously wanted to buy half his table.  Maybe its nerdy, but I love Polaroids and I miss flipping through a stack of pics with notes on the bottom or back.  I love the fact that you cant crop or edit or anything like that... just bam, right there, it happened and its gone.  Same with all the vinyls they were selling... something so awesome about cover art and the actual texture of the old records.  Now, we just hit "click," on itunes and we never even see the covers.   
Whens the last time you walked through a real record store, flipping through the albums or cases, coming across random names and just giving them a try because their name is cool or their cover looks amazing?  It just doesn't happen very much anymore.  This table was a throwback and this couple takes sooo much pride in their efforts and what they're offering.  
As soon I walked away from their table, a Modest Mouse lyric popped in my head, "Playing cards we all get to act sly, so much beauty it can make you cry."  (Check it out, its juts a 1:30 minute song and real catchy And I just started people watching... and just stood around, watching all the people mingle and share their gifts... it was incredible.  Then I thought, "Stop watching and start interacting."  I do that too much.  I like to sit on the porch and watch cars pass... When the girls were little, i liked to walk 10 feet behind just to watch them wander and explore.... when people are rocking their workouts or yoga and I'm not needed, i step back and just observe... I need to interact more.

Then we met Paul Hanslik who owns Holly Ridge Nursery in Geneva.... again, amazing person. (  I'm not too macho to admit flowers are pretty sweet and I've never seen flowers like his!  Ever.  They looked fake, they were so symmetrical and perfect and once he started talking... he just lit up and went on and on about his process.  I have no intentions of ever doing anything like he does, but I wanted to keep asking him questions just to listen to him.  He was so passionate and knowledgeable and we bought a little arrangement he made. 

The highlight may have been the T-shirts at the Ape Made table.  I admit, I stopped because of the name and was expecting some monkey t's.  I quickly learned Ape stands for April, which was a little disappointing (but I love the name). I was really hoping she had some theory about evolution and how were all hold back our inner primate... no such luck.  But I do think if i had 30 minutes and a couple shandys, I could talk her into the theory and adding a chimp to these bad boys.  
April hand prints very awesome and custom Cleveland t-shirts.  (  Excellent quality T, cool colors and cool pics.  We bought two.  As we're talking, I'm looking at her and im thinking "this is what its all about."  This entire set up and day.  People, strangers coming together and sharing some genuine moments.  
So much beauty it can make you cry... 

I'll be going there every month if anyone ever wants to join.  We'll hit the market and lunch in Ohio City too.  Have something to drink and people watch and talk and all the good stuff.  


I dont know how it happened... I have no clue what i did, it might have been a combination of everything.  The music, the life, the decisions, the thoughts, whatever... I dont know what happened or when, but I get so high off of simple things.  Like a legitimate  goofy, mental and physical high.  It started happening after awesome workouts for myself, then they just continued all over the place.  If I have a fun conversation, I feel a  body buzz after.  If I run a sweet session... I feel it.  I'm in my garage right now with all my equipment and pretty lights in the rafters.. . I ran in to get a water and Scarletts just staring at me like Im up to something... Nope, just high on life!  And often it feels very literal, pretty incredible feeling.  
I wish I knew where to connect the dots and share... hopefully this all winds up creating that path for someone somewhere.


Started a new class this past week and it was pretty awesome.... Pretty sure we'll need a word count on "awesome," this blog but honestly, thats how things are feeling.  
Its called "Primal Weight Training," and runs from 6:30-7:30 on Wednesday evenings.  I'm basically throwing the word "Primal," in front of everything I'm doing, if it fits.  (If you need explanation about my "primal theory," read this blog.   I just have this need to draw a line in the sand vs others in the industry.  Not being a douche but still, this stuff is very different and I'm very experienced at doing it.  This first session we ran was beginner in terms of exercise selection but not with the intensity.  I've been running sessions like that since 2002 so I knew how it would go and the group responded how they always respond, they kicked ass and we enjoyed every minute of it.  That style of session is going to show tremendous results for everyone who stays consistent with it and I think it will evolve and grow.     

The class is nearly 100% weights and I best describe it as, if you were a 1 on 1 client and we only saw each other once per week, great chance this is what we'd do.  
Obviously, when working with 1 on 1's, the sessions are designed specifically for the goals of that one client and not a group but still.  There are certain exercises that do certain things. Movements and exercises that help increase your bone density, something women need to pay special attention to.  Movements and exercises that help improve testosterone levels for men.  Movements and exercises that help crank up your metabolism  that adjust imbalances and joint pains, etc.  This is what we'll be doing. As the participants gain experience, I'll be writing up 2-3 different sessions every week so that when new people come in, they have their session and the experienced will have theirs.  They may be very similar and everyone can definitely still train with friends, but the weights and intensity may be different.   
Those who know me from the 1 on 1 format or athletes who have trained with me in the past, this is the class you were waiting for and I'm absolutely 1000% confident in the results it will bring.  


Speaking of Modest Mouse.... 
I was texting with Alex the other day and we were talking about music and Bright Eyes and found out we were at the same concert... probably 10 years ago.  And in thinking of it, it made me nostalgic for finding great music and then that awesome experience of seeing that act live.  Right now I'm listening to Bright Eyes "Road to Joy," probably my favorite song of his.... but so hard to rank these things.  What an underrated guy... but I think he likes it like that.  Which he kind of says in this song (ironic).  
Read between the lines on that one? :)


Power Plus/BOGA is also back on the schedule, Thursdays at 6:30pm.  This class used to give me some anxiety.... Id think "Dont suck, dont suck, dont suck," for about 3 hours leading up to class.  Now my thoughts are "Lets rock this and have a blast." So Im pretty confident in this one too :)


I'll be working to blog more often and much honest and open moving fwd... Somewhere above, I referenced this "high," Ive stumbled on to...  I feel if i don't at least try to share some thoughts and experiences with true honesty and without fear, then whats the sense of any of this?   So many times, I write things about myself and to myself but people tell me how they relate to them.  And when blogs are reaching 100+ every time... that's a pretty cool thing.  Sharing honestly.  
I daydream now of way to incorporate the music and the people I talk about... the bring it live in a way.  So that's where the "blogs," are headed.   I want to reference a song and have the audio available.  I want to start my own podcasts and have all these awesome people I know on with me and just let it rip.  Too many things are buttoned up and vanilla.  I want to have some fun and create some things and try to do some different things... even if it flops and it just ends being for my own fun... who cares?  Right?  I want to look back at the end of the ride and have stories and experiences to tell.
Ever hear that cool old guy tell stories about the good old days of sitting on the couch and all those memories from the television?  
Me neither.  
I want to blow televisions up :)  anything that distracts us from us... I want to take it down.  Whatever that may be... a mental distraction, a habit, misinformation  whatever.  Anything and everything.  

...change your mind.


I am so pumped for tomorrow morning... Its just a Monday.  And I want to create something every single day.  

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Last Exit

I believe there's a certain mindset you can tap into and in doing so, the limits are always unknown... because you've never been there and it constantly changes... imagine staring into a tripped out little room where the walls move and change colors and shapes... you know going in will be an experience unlike any other, but you're afraid.  Why?  The unknown.  (more on the fear of the unknown later)

The mindset is this... whatever it is you're about to do, its your last shot.  Its the last time you'll ever be able to do it.  Last (fill in the blank).
The advantage is, you know ahead of time that this is it.

Give it a minute and let that thought sink in... close your eyes after reading this paragraph... close your eyes and sit in a comfortable place and imagine what you love to do.... then imagine, the next opportunity to do it, will be the end... think of how you may do it differently.... close your eyes...

How did it feel?
What did you see?
Did you envision a different outcome than that has already happened in reality?
Did it make you excited to go do it because in reality, the odds are great you'll get more chances?
Do you believe in the "unlived," life?  The one where all your what ifs and no's became glorious YES's filled with success and celebration?

What if those celebrations and all the success you ever dreamed of were just on the other side of a wall of resistance?

Imagine you loooooove lifting in a certain weight room and the next time you enter, someone tells you "hey buddy, the gym is closing after your last set..."

You loooooove running a particular trail... but as you run, it disappears behind you, never to be used again. 

You loooooove playing with your team... but you only have 8 games left and zero second chances.

You loooooove (fill in the blank)... but you've run out of time and this will be the last.

Some people think this is a cryptic mindset, entering situations as if they could be the last...
Or maybe those who criticize are lazy thinkers or afraid to approach life with any intensity and passion.

I have two situations in front of me that are attached to clocks... a season and a career.  I was about to write "If I don't go full go..." but deleted from there, because my mind is already wired this way... there is no other speed or level, its full go.  
Example I don't mind sharing, I coach for a local high school team and I treat every season as if I wont be rehired.  Because of that thought, I have to pour out as much as possible, in a timely manner, over the next 8 weeks.  Do you know what that really entails?  This is a position I keep under the radar but hold at the highest point... I have the opportunity to pass along great lessons that were passed to me.  Me NOT passing them along would be a tremendous disservice to every single person that's ever known me, ever taught me anything, the kids, the parents, the staff, everyone.  

Point?  When there's something you love to do, when there's something in front of you of great importance... you don't hold back.  You don't wait for next time, the next game, the next play.  Its now.  
And its now with your heart on fire and tunnel vision.  There's zero chance of failing because when you push like that, and you're on a level they cant touch, there's no losing.    
You have a class to take and its important you ace this class, there's no second chance.... its now.
You have a career on the line and this is the last shot, there's no more second chances!  Its now or go home and don't come back.

Something I say to the guys during practice after they half-ass something "Was that a winning, dominating, Friday night effort?"  If not, wtf are we doing here?  (I don't say the 2nd part like that but i'm thinking it in my head.  

Why don't we?   
Why are we afraid of the unknown?
Maybe we're afraid of pouring it all out there and losing... Of going full go and finding out our full go isn't enough.... 

I'm not afraid of that... The full go is actually all I want and the outcome is irrelevant.

Does Eddie Vedder get up on stage and hum "Twinkle, Twinkle?" 
No, he doesn't.  Its a frock show and its here to rock.  
You're a human and you're here to live so start doing it every day.

Monday, September 2, 2013


Needless to say, things get a little weird during football season.  All analogies revolve around football, the mood revolves around the team, my thoughts are about finding new angles to communicate a particular message and so on.
My writing always seems to be about one thing but its usually about another.  Like I said, the analogies are usually fitness based, but rarely actually about fitness.  But football to me, has given more life lessons than any other teacher or experience and it never really stops.  Every season I've coached, something new has come to light.  I think partly because I'm getting older and things change in the 7-8 months I'm away form a team atmosphere.  But just as new things show themselves to me, the old is still there, still beating away, and those are the intangibles.

All coaches have fancy little playbooks with crazy terminology that can sound like a tongue twister.  Words often rhyme or start with "L's," or "R's" and have even numbers for play on the right and odd numbers for plays on the left.  That's serious but I say it kind of sarcastically, because coaches can sometimes take their plays a bit too serious.  I don't mean that to minimize anyone's work.  Its incredibly hard to create a unique playbook from scratch that is competitive on the weekends.   But with football, I'm kind of caveman sometimes and I like to run straight and make things go boom. :)  I like to line up and see who's who, who has the stones to hit and grind and drive and not give up... like I said, the intangibles.

#1 Effort
     Its very easy for me to see this during conditioning.  Somethings you just cannot fake and effort is #1.  You can fake being a tough guy.  You can fake being hurt.  You can fake having a certain skill.  but you cannot fake effort.  You can try and try, but it will always be there.  Make your face grimace all you want, pump those arms like mad and come up gasping for air... I still see fresh legs.
     I told the guys today, the two hardest things to learn as young players is "What FULL GO, really means," and "learning what their bodies are truly capable of," both are things I struggled with when I was younger.
     I do not believe FULL GO effort, can be achieved while thinking.  I believe it happens with confidence and then instincts.  If I'm in a position that I've never experienced, I'm probably thinking "Am I OK?  Am I doing this right?" and therefore not moving the way I could or should.  Why?  Inexperience.  Its not a fault or a negative, it is what it is.
     But when the coin is flipped, and I'm in the opposite position where I have experience, I am comfortable, what excuse is there to not go FULL GO?  Whats excuse is there to not put forth 150% effort and energy?
The analogy:  What position have you been in where you may have pulled back, when you should have or could have pushed ahead?  Why?

#2 Vision
     Do you know what you want?
     Do you know why you want it?
     Do you truly know why you want it?
     Lets take it to the football team, doesn't matter the team.  They'll all say the same thing "To win the championship."  OK, the goal is to win a championship.
     What are you going to do to make that happen?  And the answers form here head all over the place, "I'm going to train hard, I'm going to eat right, I'm going to study film, I'm going to be a better teammate, I'm going to listen to my coaches, I'm going to practice in the off-season," and all of those answers fit.  That's the vision.
The analogy:  Have you ever known you wanted something but had no idea how to achieve it?  What did you do?

#3 Preparation
     So you know what you want... so what?  You cant just fly out there and do it, living off of your vision and imagination.  You have to prepare.  You have to prepare your mind more than anything else.  Our bodies are our magnificent tools and we have the ability to shape them and use them as we see fit, if we choose to do so.  Its our minds that control that.  Our minds control what we do with our time.  Our minds control what we eat.  Our minds control whether we sign up for a class at a local community college or just talk about.  Our minds decide if we go for a run or sit on our butts.  So whatever it is we have a desire to achieve, that vision, our minds must be willing to make that commitment.
     We play every Friday night.  The preparation starts Saturday morning (actually the prep work started last January but that blog will take about 80 pages worth), we watch film, we stretch, we ice a little, we talk about things we can improve on, we talk about things that went well and so on.  In films, we watch the opponent and look for ways to take advantage of mismatches or to prepare for certain formations and plays out of them that may give us a hard time.  That's part of the preparation.  From there, we take it to field and go through these plays and practice what we'll do in certain situations vs certain plays or players.  All part of the preparation.  This goes on and on, until Friday night where the preparation is on display.
    One memorable moment I had that I was pretty proud was a few years ago.  I was coaching a defense and we were matched up with a pretty arrogant team with an even more arrogant offensive coach... let me pause and say this, I'm a defensive coach.  I've coached all defensive positions from the D-Line to Linebackers to the secondary... I instinctively dislike offenses and offensive coaches.  I think they're sneaky people :) Anyway, going against this arrogant little Napoleon figure, I wanted to whoop his butt and show him real fast that we were ready for his tricks.  I watched probably 3 seasons worth of his calls and I noticed something.  He had a massive ego.  And when pressured, he would call some goofy obscure formation and play like something a kid would draw up in the back yard with his friends... and we knew it was coming.  We practiced all week long and we knew they would try something like this.  By some crazy coincidence, they did the exact thing we practiced for... total guess :)  and it worked for us.  Preparation.
The analogy:  Have you ever been in a position where you were confident just because of your preparation?
 #4-#5 Focus-Determination
     These two are nearly the same, different, but too similar for me to separate.
     You have your vision... you're ready to prepare... you have effort pouring out of your ears!  but...
     Whats going to happen when you catch a cold?  Or pull a muscle in your back?  Or your teammates aren't stepping up the way you thought they would?  Or your diet is too hard to keep on track?  Maybe you aren't picking up the material the way you thought you would?  What are you going to do?
     Now we're talking about focus and determination.
     Maybe you need to go back to your "why."   Maybe you need to step away for a moment and breathe, check the landscape and go back in.   Maybe you're not really working as hard as you thought you were....
     You have to know what you want and you have to stick with it, to have the focus to fight through the rough spells, and to have the determination to not give up, no matter how hard it gets.
The analogy:  Have you ever had a rough spell on your quest and your focus and determination kept you strong?
#6 The "X" Factor
     I recently had some car trouble and it turns out one of the fixes was pretty simple.  I apologized for wasting Marks time (excellent and honest mechanic on the corner of Wilson Mills and Richmond Rd).  He said "Don't apologize. This is my expertise and you have your expertise."  True.
    We are all great at something, maybe even a few different things.  True greatness.  Something that's just in us and we just kick ass at it.  That's our "X" factor, that's what we're here for.
Have you found yours?  Maybe you have but you've pushed it aside?  Maybe it didn't make enough money?

Personal note:
Mine... I'm very good at lighting fires under asses :)   and I love doing it.  I dont even think it matters where I am.  I can be with a team or working with some insurance salesman, makes no difference.
I pretty much always have a team or two i'm working with, and after one of our first sessions we were about to break out for the night and one of the kids said "Arent you going to say anything?"  I said what do you mean?  She said "last year, you always pumped us up after a workout... we want that."   I thought... wowwwwwww, and some goose bumps popped up.  I was thinking, hey this was a chill night, we're just getting to know each other again and these kids we're already like "Um no, lets do this right now." So it was on from there.  From then on, I started noticing, that's what they were coming for and it definitely made me step it up.

And when you have a vision and you have a "why," and you focus and prepare and work with effort, anything can happen, whether its football, volleyball, sales, production, management, acct management, relationships, life, building a camp fire, washing your car, taking a class, anything big or small or whatever, anything can happen.

People ask me, "What do those hoops mean under your arm?"

Never give up.

This Is Blue Chip