Role Models

I am naively amazed when people become disillusioned with a sports figure/actor/singer/anyone else they don’t know but have decided to mistakenly tell their kid to admire. SRSLY? The most recent is the heat in the Serena Williams’ kitchen over comments made here.

As most of you know, Serena is my all time favorite athlete. I’ve said it many times. I do not believe, however, that I’ve ever said she is my role model. Why would she be? I don’t know her. I don’t know her beliefs or views and frankly, I don’t care. They don’t affect me. What I do like about her is the way she brutally attacks opponents on the court. I like that. But my role model? Hellz no.

One of my first role models was my swim team captain in High School, Cassie Lindstrom. She led by example. She was first in the locker room and last out. She would get the reddest swim face I’d ever seen when she worked hard and she always worked hard. She was a good person, a nice girl. No shit talk in her locker room allowed. None. If you had a beef with the coach, she’d tell you to get out and go talk to her. If you had a beef with a team-mate, she’d sit you both down until you got it out. We were there to swim hard and win. That’s all. Because of her influence and expectations, we had a blast doing it. I still admire that a 17 year old rolled this way.

Another role model is someone I watched, but didn’t know. (Ya, I know, stalk much?) He was a fellow student at Midland Lutheran College and from Somalia. See, when I went to the library to pretend to do work or just go watch a movie? He had his books neatly organized on his table and worked  his arse off. I wanted to be like him, I really did. I wanted to be thankful I was at school and work my arse off and be serious about it all but really what came out is that I just didn’t want to be at home so I built up a heck’a’va student loan and not much else. I’m not proud of that, it’s just a fact. But I can still picture this man in my mind, working so hard.

And those are role models. People I’ve actually seen in action and noticed how they walk through life and positively impact those around them. Coaches, Teachers, Waitresses who bring you bacon…everyday people. I may have watched them for a long time, or we quickly crossed paths and they impacted my day. But watch someone on TV and say they’re a role model? That’s strange to me. Expect them to apologize when they F*k up? That’s strange to me. Apologize to their family? Sure, that’s realistic but has nothing to do with me. See how that works people? The famous have nothing to do with you. Why do you admire them because they’re famous. That’s strange to me.

But many of you still will. Enjoy.

I’ve never been to New Zealand before. But one of my role models, Zena, the warrior princess, comes from there.

Madeleine Albright 

Training Log

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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