Monday Bacon: Get Better

Warning, there is some tough love in this one. If you’re offended by tough love, move on. There’s sure to be an awesome puppy or panda video you can watch instead and receive warm fuzzy…

Source: Monday Bacon: Get Better

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Monday Bacon: Get Better

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Thanks to Douglass Sissk for the photo. It’s my favorite from last years Games in Pleasanton. I’ll be a bit melancholy next weekend not going but will be wishing everyone strong showings. 

Warning, there is some tough love in this one. If you’re offended by tough love, move on. There’s sure to be an awesome puppy or panda video you can watch instead and receive warm fuzzy’s instead of frustration. You’ve been warned.

Last weekend in Buffalo, I had a chance to have some quiet time with some of my favorite throwers on the planet. Friday morning, Bonnie Hicks came over to the hotel with two of her brood and we got a chance to chat while I threw money at the boys in the swimming pool. It was awesome.

Now, if you’ve paid attention around here, you know I far prefer my quiet connection with people over a huge group setting where you get 4 minutes of surface talk and move on to the next 4 minute surface talk. I understand that in these big groups, that’s all you’re going to get at registration time or lunch or whenever we’re all hanging oot. But that doesn’t make it any less torturous for this introvert. It’s loud chaos and it stresses me oot (I was around Canadia’s all last weekend, we’re going with the ‘oots’ and ‘aboots’ for now.)

So a whole hour with Bonnie was a treat. We talked training; trainers; Games; jobs; Virginia; DC; kids; hubbs, basically a wide variety of topics. OH! And dinner. She set us all up to eat at a Brazilian Steak House that night which was so amazing I didn’t want it to end (but then I did. That happens fast at those places!)

Back to the Games. We were talking about how many Games offered a Women’s Masters class around our regions. Now, up here we’re pretty spoiled. Jason Clevenger has had a Women’s Masters class for a few years now. Merl Lawless has the women throw together but the Master’s ladies (I dunno, I just like saying ‘ladies’ instead of ‘women.’ I really don’t know why. Maybe because the term “lady” is underused these days and I live in Milwaukee where it doesn’t matter if you’re a ‘woman’ or a ‘lady’, most men don’t show respect to you. It shows a pathetic lack of upbringing when men don’t respect women…)

…anyway. Merl Lawless will have the ladies throw together but split the classes according to open/masters with separate scoring and prizes. So if you want to throw in a Master’s Ladies class, come on up. I prefer to throw open, for now, but I can still be thankful that a Masters class is offered. And I am. It’s an additional cost for AD’s; additional scoring, in short, additional work. So I’m thankful that these AD’s choose to put out the additional work (ya, I just said that Merl Lawless puts out. Bwahahhaaaa!)

Now, I’m not slamming Bonnie here because this is something I’ve heard from many Masters women throwers and my reply here is verbatim of my reply last week when we were poolside and probably verbatim of my reply every time I hear this. But when Bonnie made a comment that, “we’re still working on some AD’s down here to even the field and offer a women’s masters class…” my response was:

WHY SHOULD THEY?

First off, again, adding a class to a Games is additional work. It could be that’s it not much work or it could be that it means getting additional implements for the masters to throw. Dunno. But we DO know it’s additional work.

WHY SHOULD THEY?

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned about participating in the Highland Games is that the more you contribute to the day/event/group, the more fun you’ll have and the more you’ll be invited back for the next year. It’s a win-win. You interact with the crowd (by the way, the crowd in Buffalo was one of the best I’ve seen. So many people asked questions, including other participants such as the reenactment folks or the pipers and in turn gave me a chance to ask THEM about their activities. While this is common to a point at Games, I’ve never seen it at this level. The throwers here have done a great job in building positive relationships with other groups and I thought it was very cool.) Where was I? Oh ya, what do we bring to the table.

Now, the best thing about Highland Games is that it is open for everyone. Literally anyone and everyone can throw on a kilt, pay your entry fee, and join in the fun. This has worked well for me because my first Games was four years ago here in Waukesha. I handed Craig Smith my money and away I went. Although I have an athletic background, there was nothing to prepare me for this 28# weight that’s only goal was to land me on my ass or this hammer thing that I’m supposed to keep in some kind of “orbit” and then move it faster and faster as I wind-no problem. Caber? Uhhhh, no. W!T!F! Weight Over Bar? Ok, ya, I can do that.

Four years later and I’m still learning. I think there’s still a lot of improvement I can make on my mechanics and I’m  hoping the old bod stays strong for next year. Next year I’d like to break open my stones and at least improve on my hammers. We’ll see.

But I’ll tell you this. I’ll work on it. After my weightlifting meet I’ll take a little break and stick to some conditioning but will be back at it by November. Because, and here’s something that many Masters women don’t understand (in my opinion), the clock is ticking on how long we can do well. And I care about doing well. Now, here’s the tough love/stern mommy part…

Ladies, what do you contribute to these Games? If you’re in year 2+ of competing in Highland Games, are you in the gym? Do you drill? Do you watch video or hire a competent coach? What do you do to throw further and get stronger? If that answer is, “well juli, not all of us care about throwing so far like you. We just want to have fun and you’re too intense for this group anyway” my response would be, ‘awesome, then don’t ask AD’s to go out of their way for you.’ It’s entitlement and I hate entitlement. Do you honestly believe that just because you’ve shown up, you get your own class? Do you not even hear how offensive that is to the people who DO work hard and try to build up the Master’s classes?

I heard at least three times last weekend someone from one of the Men’s group comment on how the ladies cheer for each other and how weird that it. I’d say it’s because women can multi-task and compete while remaining supportive. Really, unless he’s special, how many men have you seen multi-task. And before you men get too butthurt, fry the perfect egg; do the dishes; make coffee, and take out the garbage. If all that is done and your egg came out perfect, congratulations! You’re a multi-tasker. But overall, women support each other at the same time as wanting to do well. Aren’t we amazing!

However; one place the men excel on the field a bit better than us is that through their laughter and trash talk, they are there to compete. The levels may be different for some but at the end of the day, they’re there to compete. I’ve been fortunate enough to witness the top in the world battle it out and at no time was there a tiara being passed through the group to wear. At no time did they coin themselves some stupid phrase such as the “menopause militia.” They are able to

a. have fun

b. do well

c. give’r hell on the field

d. garner respect.

(By the way, since I’m here, do not ever put me in a group photo and label it the “menopause militia.” Fucking. Ever. It is entirely up to you on how you wish to be perceived as a “competitor” but you don’t get to stomp on my hard work by making a joke out of the class I compete in. I understand you don’t see it that way. That is the difference between a participant and a competitor. More tough love. Sorry not sorry. Also, do not ever try to put some Tiara from Claires on my head after a throw. I am forever in Edie Lindeburg’s debt when this was tried last year at Masters Worlds. I was literally being chased with this stupid thing in attempts to not be rude when Edie stepped in and simply said, “not everyone wants to wear the PRiara, that’s ok.”) Now, if we’re at a silly Games where pride isn’t on the line, I’m all up for silly fun. This would also mean I’m hanging with girls who like to have the silly fun while still kicking total ass on the field, see the difference?

Ladies, if you want the AD to go to the trouble of adding another class for you, get better. Train. Practice as much as you can. Yes, we’re adults and often times life takes over opportunities. No one begrudges you that. But to come to a Games such as a World Championships, even as a Master, and spout off that “maybe I should practice sometime” and laugh, don’t be surprised when you don’t get my respect. In fact, you’ll get the exact opposite. And not just from me. (FTR, Bonnie didn’t say that. Someone else did.)

And if this is “just for fun” that’s okay. Really! I think it’s a fookin’ blast! But you’re not entitled to anything just for showing up, especially your own class.

See how that works?

I react very badly when mediocrity throws a tantrum of entitlement.

Lee Siegel

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Not Amazing

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Earlier this summer, I took a Saturday and changed things up a bit. Instead of throwing or training or whatever I do on Saturday’s other than throw or train, I ran up to Appleton, Wisconsin and got a cooking lesson from Eliane Bergmann. I have admired her love for cooking, baking, canning…basically anything food related and making delicious feasts out of everything she can get her hands on. We had a great day with lots of fun girl talk and her Strongman hubs showed up just in time to eat meat pie with apple pie dessert. Smart guy.

At some point, we were talking about traveling and running around the world with Matt on a few of his Champions League competitions and Highland Games fun. Eliane asks, “do you travel a lot?”  I thought for a moment, looked her in the eye and said,

More than I’d ever dreamed I would.

In that moment, I was overcome with thankfulness.

Each year, I write a blog after my Highland Games season ends detailing how amazing it was. But it wasn’t amazing this year, it was more than I’d ever dreamed it could be.

As usual, I didn’t get enough time with my Highland family so I’ll just cherish the moments that I did get. As usual, I didn’t throw as far as I wanted to so I’ll just cherish the throws I got in that enabled me to do well. As usual, I’m fighting this whole aging process so I’ll just cherish the fact that my expectations remain high and that my body is still saying, “ok Jules, we’ll give it a go.”

amazing

photo credit: Dana MacDonald (Phoenix Highland Games)

As usual, I’ll bemoan the fact that my skin isn’t as tight as the previous year. That my face is looking more and more like my Tutu’s. That my belly is taking over my body in line with some type of Alien form. But then I look at pictures like the above and say, “ahhhhh, fuck it. Look what that old body with the gut can do. The legs may not be as tight as last year but dogsgammit, they’re strong!” 

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While my season has ended just a bit before planned, I’m ready to be done. I’ve been trying to serve two masters this year with lifting and throwing and admittedly, it’s been a handful. My meet on October 1st will be a tough one. I’m lifting against some of the best Hungary has to offer whose lifters are far more experienced than I and I’m now nursing a hamstring tweak from last weekend.

There are so many cherished memories I have from this season of throwing that to list them all would almost appear insincere and I don’t want to do that. So many of you have touched my heart in ways you may not even realize. I’ve learned a lot, and much of that has nothing to do with throwing. I’ve learned to continue to keep my circle of trust small and slam the door tight on those who wish to bring their drama into my home electronically. That was a tough lesson and I’m still embarrassed that I bit on the bait.

I’ve laughed a lot and I’m so happy for that. There were many times, Victoria beer tent being one of them, where I just sat back and listened to all of the conversations around me and smiled inside. More than I ever could have dreamed.

There were many who gave me a chance and even a second chance this year. You know who you are. You probably also know that doing this has endeared you to me for a lifetime. But I still need to say thank you.

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Finishing out the year in Buffalo was absolutely perfect. This group of ladies were awesomely amazing. If I were to complain about it at all, it would be to say that I don’t get to see them again this year (except for Petra:) Heidi Lowry is retiring after this weekend and all I can say is that the Highland Games will be less without her. She is everything we want to be on the field and beyond. Class, grace, strength, and a helluva lotta fun. Congratulations on all of your accomplishments Heidi, I’m lucky to have shared a few hours with you. Wendy, Sandi, Willow, Kimmie-you Canadia’s are a good time. Kathrynkendall, no one who knows you doesn’t love you. Bonnie, you and your family are tops. Absolute fooking tops. Katy, your enthusiasm knows no bounds. That’s pretty cool. Petra, I’m lucky enough to see you soon. Kevin, Lou, Chuck, and Merl…you guys throw a great party. Thanks for letting us play and for taking such amazing care of us. Beth, Shannon, and Rhett; Mooncheese crew for ’17. It’s happening. Sue and Ruth, thank you for your love and ass rubs and keeping me out of the sun. We love you. Kevin (again), the truth serum (I mean mead) is one of my favorite things about these games. THANK YOU!

And my anchors (that’s a good thing) Mike Westerling and my hubs. I couldn’t have A) done it without either of you and 2. wouldn’t have wanted to.

But in a nutshell, the 2016 Highland Games season…more than I ever dreamed it could be.

Thank you all.

Dear Lord, I’m so thankful I’m still loved.

Vivian Leigh

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Music Helps.

Sometimes, life is hard. Music helps. At least, it helps me. When I visited family on Maui years ago, my cousin was dating a musician. We were sitting out on the patio and he asked me what song I’d like to hear. I said, somewhere over the rainbow. He says, “tourist, no way.” What I wanted to say was, “hey dipshit, you asked, now sing it. This song means something to me and made me feel better in dark days through life. Dipshit.” But I didn’t. Wish I woulda.

I like that Iz has made it part of Hawaii. It feels good. And today I need it.

I’ve pulled out of my Highland Games competitions for the remainder of the year. Sure, there were only a few but they were biggies and that I’d worked so hard for so long and received such amazing help from so many and, admittedly, I wanted to show them I was listening and I could deliver. Why isn’t a public thing. I’m not hurt and Mike Westerling is hard at work making sure I keep my mind and body as strong as I can right now and I’m so thankful for him.

But God, my heart hurts. I’m a competitor and to know I was so close to have a chance to make a dream come true and now will be sitting it out is devastating to me. And while I won’t pout, I will shed some tears. More tears I should say. I look at my implements in the gym and feel so sorry that I can’t make our hard work together pay off. I don’t know when they’ll be picked up again. It will be a while, that I know.

Anyway, to all of you who have made my season a beautiful one, thank you. Best of luck to everyone for the remainder of their season. Stay healthy and happy.

The sudden disappointment of a hope leaves a scar which the ultimate fulfillment  of that hope never entirely removes.

Thomas Hardy

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