Monday Bacon: Conditional Love


The term “Unconditional Love” seems to be all the rage these days. It’s interesting to me because it’s something that I hadn’t heard very often until I got to Wisconsin. It’s trendy I suppose, since it shows up all over stupid mommy blogs on the Facebook (yes, most mommy blogs are stupid. Sorry not sorry. If you need validation for saying “no” to little johnny from other mommies who need validation all over the webz before you finally feel “comfortable” with it, turn in your parent card until you’re ready and can look your kid in the eye and say in your sternest PARENT voice, “VALIDATE THIS!! GET YOUR TOYS PICKED UP OR TOYS WILL BE GONE. 10 MINUTES…GO!”) 

Anyways. Not the point of today.


In general, I’m uncomfortable around people who wear their insecurities so loudly. So when I read (or doG forbid, have to listen) to mommies scream how much they love their children UNCONDITIONALLY, I’ll back away. I love my children. Isn’t that enough? Do I have to add an adverb (it’s adverb right? Someone smarter in English correct me if I’m wrong) to make it so? Will people around me feel like I’m lying if I just say, “Love you dude” instead of “I LOVE YOU UNCONDITIONALLY SOOOOO MUCH UNCONDITIONALLY THAT I LOVE YOU SO MUCH…UNCONDITIONALLY!”

Why isn’t Love enough?

I probably love my husband unconditionally but that doesn’t mean conditions aren’t a part of our marriage. He can’t hurt me; he can’t scare me; he can’t decide to have an “open” relationship (aka: sleep around, there’s actually groups around this town where you can go for that. For srs.) There are conditions in life where, when violated, would prevent a person from having an ongoing relationship with me. Will I still love you? Probably or at the very least I would have a respectful love for a past that at one time was good (very adult eh? Not always easy though.) Conditions are actually a way to keep relationships that are full of love healthy. Healthy is good. I’ve had my share of unhealthy, thanksuverymuch, I’ll pass on any of that shit now and forever more.


I thought of all this when I woke up on Sunday morning in Indianapolis after throwing in my last Highland Games of the 2015 season. Well, the first thing I thought was, holy hell why did I throw an extra 20 sheaf toss’ when we were all done? True story, I was more sore than I’d ever been but hey, when you’ve got a Pro next to you (thank you Jeremy Gillingham!!) you take advantage of getting in some lessons and you throw until your body screams. Funny not funny.

When we said our goodbye’s after dinner on Saturday, there were a lot of “Love you’s.” Big, end of the year hugs and an all around feeling of happiness. And the next day (don’t you hate when people start their sentences with “And”? It’s like people who double space after a sentence, SO ANNOYING) I thought of not only the ‘love you’s’ we got the night before, but how many times I had heard it all season long.

But these “love you’s” come with conditions. As they should. The friends we love walk through life on the same basic path. Our values have similarities and we can even learn from each other to give value to things we hadn’t even thought of. We enrich each others lives, not break them down and when we need a good ass kicking, our friends are right there to give it to us. With love. Because sometimes conditions are the exact thing we need when we get out of line. And we know, at the end of those Games when we get a big hug and a “Love you” that these are the exact people who will be first in line to keep us honest.


Photo Credit: Douglass Sisk of

When we were saying our goodbye’s in St. Louis after an amazing Sushi meal, I got big hugs from the Wechter’s and while I did, both Mark and Victoria said I love you and ya know what? I felt loved. It’s simple and amazing but it doesn’t come free, nor should it. That’s what makes it so special. That the people in life that we admire and respect and think so highly of feel the same way about us and they do so because of the way we walk through life. Yes, the walk will include cussing and attitude and large parts of brattiness, those are the bonuses. Heh. When you know people love you in spite of whatever our least polished attributes are, that’s incredibly special. But it’s not unconditional. I can’t come to the field and be a complete shit to people around me; bully them and try to make the day all about me or talk shit about them when they’re right in front of me, believe me, I have unfortunately spent field time with those types of people. They are dark; and dissatisfied, and want to spread the ickyness in them to all who will listen. Nope. I feel bad for them but at the same time will keep my distance. Their darkness is theirs to live in, not mine. And they will always find folks who will listen and add to the ick. Let’s face it, too many adults haven’t left high school. Good luck with that.


But that conditional love from our Highland family; our tribe in Wanatchee; other family and friends that support us; all of you…

Thank you. Your love is one of my greatest treasures in life and all that I’ve gained in this Games season is immeasurable.

Good friends are hard to find, harder to leave, and impossible to forget.

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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3 Responses to Monday Bacon: Conditional Love

  1. yogretch says:

    I finally had the time to sit down and absorb what you wrote here. I never thought about it this way before. So true. Love you Juli!!

  2. Cody says:

    That was a beautiful and well thought out post. Love is……

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