Tuesday, March 13, 2007

You're not stealing a ham. You're just a fat kid, aren't you fatty.

I was a fat kid. My whole childhood. At age 8 I weighed 80 lbs. By 10, 130. By my freshman year I weighed over 230. I was fat. I never got any exercise, I ate too much, and too much of what I ate was crap.

My life changed when my high school gym coach (also the football coach) actually encouraged me to go out for the football team. I had been a natural athlete as a kid, but participating in sports meant time with my step-dad, and I had long since decided that sports weren't worth so much 'quality time.' In high school, things were different. I was autonomous. My parents had all but given up on doing anything but damage control with me, and focused on my brother. I got to have sports, but no longer had to deal with all that had entailed before.

I was painfully out of shape, but as the season, and practices wore on I did every sprint, push-up, and lifted every weight I was asked. Which for almost all of summer practice my sophomore year meant staying out on the field after my teammates had long since finished (and after some of their parents had already picked them up). It took my entire sophomore year, and most of my junior, but I was an athlete again. I was a 'good' high school athlete, a little weird, but my weirdness was overlooked, because I could play. I virtually ignored the social aspects of high school, because I was awkward, and shy, and couldn't understand why anyone would want to be my friend in the first place. Who'd want to be friends with the fat kid?

Really I was just waiting to get to college. I got a few looks from some D II colleges to play football, but I hurt my knee my senior year and they stopped looking.
After I finished rehabbing my knee and missed the entire wrestling season, I found rugby through a family friend and was instantly hooked. Here was a sport that was physical, but also required each player to think. It had this great secret society feeling about it, and just seemed cool and european. The only school I'd applied to happened to have a great rugby program. Through 4 years I became a very good college rugby player. I had some ups and downs in the 8 years I played after that. I spent most of that time trying to eat and lift my way back up to that magic 230 mark (oh irony of ironies).

Now I'm retired from rugby. It took 2 operations to put humpty dumptie's rotator cuff back together. It took over a year before my shoulder functioned normally. And has taken a year after that for me to rebuild my foundation. Now I'm out of shape, and kinda fat.. again.

I am still 5'11, weigh about 215.
I can bench just under my bodyweight, and pull (deadlift) just under 2x bodyweight (405). I can do 5 chin-ups in a row. I have found rowing (in Seattle, it sort of finds you) and I love it. I've won a couple races, but really I can't identify as a rower. I don't have the body type of a rower, and would rather look like Dave Tate (see the picture below) than Brian Volpenheim. I feel like I am starting over. I retired from competing, but I'm not done being an athlete. I am looking forward to seeing just how strong, fit, powerful I can get.
Life is a work in progress till it's not.

Dave Tate (not me)

1 comment:

Christine Petty said...

Holy Lordie! Look at the back on him! Sheesh!