Monday Bacon: Dad, Do You Even Lift?

We’ve been attending some very entertaining sporting events of Bigg’s nieces and nephews this year which has re-introduced me to the Sport Parents of the world (not his Sister or B-I-L…they’re chill.) The yelling and screaming and expecting of 6-7 years olds to know exactly what to do on the field at all times is comical.

I am the first to admit, I have had to apologize to my Z’s for being a sport parent. I expected too much of them and at times, had a negative impact on their childhood sports experiences. I’m not proud of that, in fact just typing this makes me sad. Time lost, opportunities gone to make it right. All I could do is apologize, and I have. I can apply lessons learned to the Oz man, and I have.

I can also set the tone for how to behave on and off the field. I train, I practice my sport, and I eat to support such endeavors. So ya, I lift bro (or in this case, Son.) Oz is also spoiled by having a Dad who trains at a great black iron gym in Burnsville, SouthSide Bully. So Oz is used to either going to the gym with him, or occupying himself while his dad trains. That he and I are around a ProStrongman all the time who trains harder and harder as time goes by doesn’t hurt either. All around his life, Oz knows it’s expected of him to work hard, not complain, and do his best. That’s my job as a sport parent.

But as I look around at the screamers on various fields I have to ask myself, “Dad/Ma, do you even lift?” I think there may be a couple runners here and there but parents who train AND compete are in short supply in the every day world. Not cool.

Oz has decided to play football this year. I’m excited to have him be a part of a team again, that’s good for him as he’s missed  out on Baseball the last couple of years. His coach seems glad to have a six foot, 210 pound 7th grader on his team. When I mentioned to Bigg’s dad (who was a starter on the Iowa football team for his four years there) that Oz doesn’t really know the in’s and out’s of football, his reply? ‘Have fun. His job now is to have fun. He’ll learn. Now is the time for fun and to create a love for the game.’ I really like Hawkeye (Bigg’s dad is called Hawkeye instead of Grandpa, he’s pretty cool.) Hawkeye hit the nail on the head and I wish I would have had that advice when the Z’s were younger.

So, my job as a sport parent is to A) make sure my kid is having fun and 2. set an example of how to train and compete. I have the second one down, I’m hoping I succeed in the first. Time will tell. But when Oz wears the competition shirts I give him from each games and people ask him if he competed I have to say I’m proud of the fact that he can say, “No, but my mom did.” 

Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability. 

John Wooden

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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