Not Bullying. Shut Up!

When I was in 7th grade, there was a girl I hated. Her name was Anne. She was loud, silly, would never shut up. She flirted with the boys as loudly as possible and bragged about every boy who liked her. Well, I’d had enough. So in the spring, my BFF (she still is) and I paid two dollars and twelve cents (all we could muster up from the couch cushions) to the most popular boy in our class to “go with her” for two days and then break up with her publicly. Yup, we did that.

Yup, I enjoyed it. Do I feel bad now? Of course I do, what a horrible thing to do, even to a silly girl. If I could just see her once to apologize I would, I hope she would forgive me. Or not. Still don’t care. It was funny as hell.

In that moment I was a mean girl. It didn’t happen often. I’d far rather go head to head and hand to hand combat with the stupid girl but I’d already been warned that wasn’t cool. But I will admit, it was mean. She eventually found out and yes, said she wanted to go hand to hand and I said awesome, it’s what I’d already wanted. So she backed down. But we were never friendly after that.

I was mean. But I wasn’t a bully. The ‘B’ word is thrown around so much these days it’s boring.

See, kids are mean. All of them. Think your precious princess isn’t? Forget it, she is or has been. But a bully? Most likely not. There is a key ingredient to bullies, they (or you) believe they hold power. Bullies take power that doesn’t exist, scared kids or adults give it to them. Will we EVER stop bullies? Nope.

Never. Stop with the stupid campaigns. They haven’t worked. Kids are still mean. Adults are still mean. They spread lies, they talk behind your back, at times they take to the internet, it’s called harassment at best. But still not bullying. Texts or voicemails to a teammate? Harassment, not bullying. Send threats over the wire? Well, you’re in a bit more trouble according to the Feds. But NOT for BULLYING. SHUT UP!

Yesterday, a lifting pal and all around great guy, Eric,  posted the following picture we all took last winter at his fundraiser for Relentless 2013 meet to support Hopekids…

Eric captioned the picture with: ‘Is someone bullying you? We can  help.’ I lol’d. It’s the perfect anti-bullying poster (before you ask, Heath is holding the mini Hulk we gave him for a prize.) But it still won’t stop kids being mean to each other. It still won’t stop adults from being mean to each other or even taking it to the next level and harassing each other. Cuz people suck.

One of my lifting friends said she enjoyed the picture and is very concerned that at some point, her daughters will be victims of bullying. Well, are they in school? Then they probably have already had to deal with some mean girl crap. But victims? There’s another word thrown around a bit too much these days. No, they’re not victims. They got teased, they’ll most likely get over it if you are able to present them with areas of showing strengths (athletics, drama, math club…geeks make the dough later, tell ’em that.)

The Oz man has taken his share of taunts. He’s come home a couple of times in the last few years very upset that kids tease him for wearing BDU’s and Camo all the time. My response? “Look dude, you decide to wear Camo and BDU’s. Own it. If you don’t like getting teased, wear the status quo clothes. Your choice. But if you’re going to be different, own it and deal with it.” He choose to stick with the Camo and BDU’s. And he didn’t complain again. And now he towers over everyone in his class…and the 8th grade class for the most part so folks leave him alone.

Now, I understand that some harassment gets so out of control that children have felt there was no way out. That is beyond tragic and the people that put them through hell hopefully have their own waiting for them. But is it bullying? Did these kids hold power over the girl or boy who felt that life was over, and made it so? Possibly, only those close to the situations know. But not always.

And finally, to the over talked about situation within the NFL. Shut up. You got a voicemail that a white redneck was going to rape your mother? You play it in the locker room for all to hear; get in the face of this asshole and tell him if he ever leaves something like this again on your phone, you will enlist five former friends who’ve enjoyed the anal in prison and send them to pay big white boy a visit. And then you kick his ass, ya know, to the point of teammates pulling you off each other. Or you go home.

Which by the way, he did. When asked if his son is coming back to the NFL, Mr. Martin said with a smile, “my son if fine. He’s good.”  He is? Then get back to work. Duh. I will say it is a shame that this man was harassed to the point that he felt the need to leave his job. But bullied? No. Shut up!

Don’t condemn me to the prison of your bullshit.

Steve Maraboli

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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