So Long ’16


If the remains of your beer tent stay doesn’t look like this, you’re doing it wrong. Victoria, Canadia…you were grand.

I keep hearing it; I keep reading it, and it still confuses me. Why all the 2016 hate?

I’ve talked to a few people and here’s the consensus:


If this picture instills rage; hate; fear, or any other weird negative emotion, please tell me how your life has changed since Trump has won the Presidential election. Just one major, devastating way your life has been turned upside down just because Trump won the election. You can waste energy hating him, but he’s the President-elect non-the-less. Although I DO understand the disappointment since I’ve lived with it for the last 8 years, my life was what I made of it in spite of political turmoil caused by the current President and his regime. Being a poor “loser” is a fine way to go through life, you have lots of company on the Facebook. But geez, what a crappy way to spend your energy and your days. But that’s only my opinion. Had Clinton won, I would have been severely disappointed and feared even more for the state of America. I get it. But I love you anyway, even though I know for a fact that I have lost what I had considered “friends” over my support of Trump. That makes me “SMH” as the kids say. I have very dear friends or at the least, acquaintances I have a high amount of respect for that have extremely different political views that I do and I’m very thankful that we can remain friends in spite of it. I tip my hat to all of you who coexist, you are becoming a rarity.



People have died in 2016. For some reason, we’re all taking it very personal that people we’ve never known but have appreciated their talents have died. I will be the first to admit, Prince’s sudden death gave me a twinge. Mostly, because I’m a Minneapolis girl and there were enough of times we’d be at First Avenue/7th Street Entry or Fine Line Cafe where there would be a murmur among the crowd that Prince may be in the building and he may jam a bit. I was lucky enough to have those rumors be true a couple of times and got to see and hear some of the most amazing music I’ve ever heard. Since I was 19, I’ve known the special musician he was. I’ve always been annoyed when people defined his music by “Little Red Corvette” which is actually a fine song, but his talent went to a genius level that Casey Kasem’s top 40 didn’t really cover on Sunday mornings. People die. Every year. Every day and oh by the way, if you live in Chicago your chances go up by about 1000%. I was far more affected by Dean Bennett’s death last January than Carrie Fisher’s today. You did’t know Dean Bennett? That’s okay, I don’t expect that you did. But you didn’t know Carrie Fisher either. Dean’s impacts and talents and caring touched so many and every time we have another run-in with Fucknutt Frances next door, the first person I want to tell is Dean. He always had funny suggestions on how to deal with F.F. and I miss them. But even didn’t know Dean well enough to have his death affect my days. I can believe his son and his wife, going through their first Christmas without him, may be less affected by David Bowie’s death but I’m only guessing. Look, while giving props to people who’s talents have been enjoyed, please don’t take it as personal as you appear to do on the social media. You look like sheep in Chicken-little suits.


Dean Bennett


2016 was the year I set lofty goals in regards to competition; worked as best as I could with the Bigg help of my husband and Mike Westerling and the support of so many others, and Nike’d that shit. While I didn’t take gold in Germany, the entire trip was a spectacular success. And oh, hey? Silver doesn’t suck.


The connections I’ve made through competition are priceless. Absolutely priceless. Both in throwing and weighlifting, I have met so many amazing women who refuse to let age slow them down and I’m so proud of each and every one. I had the honor to compete with so many of the best; learn from them; laugh with them, and call many of them friend. I cherish that. I could say 2016 sucked because I didn’t do as well as I wanted to on the field. I guess that’s the crux of all of this 2016 bitching and moaning, we could all bitch about something or other. But don’t. It’s pussy. Don’t be a pussy in 2016. There are people who have lost their parents; their children; their health; their jobs or homes, or are fighting for their lives. While I’m not a huge fan of comparing struggles, if your struggle is that Princess Leia died, well…shut up. Go connect with real people so that if/when THEY die, you are truly affected. (Yes, I do know that I’m simplifying this a bit. It’s okay. You still didn’t know her. You still are choosing to be sad about something that doesn’t affect you.)

At the end of the day, folks who are healthy and have enough wealth to be sitting in front of their computer bitching and moaning on how 2016 has been such a horrible year because it didn’t go your way or people died that you are pretending to have some kind of connection  to is boring. Barf. Knock it off. Stop listening to the media telling you how you should feel so shittily about the year or the state of America. There are too many, IMO, “news” outlets who hate America and want you to also. Fuck that. Stand on your own. We can be unhappy with certain outcomes and still stand together as Americans. Come on. Think of that sappy, hippy Coke commercial with folks holding hands across America. We can do that. We need to look each other in the eyes and decide that holding hands across our differences is more rewarding than fighting on the motherfucking Facebook.

So long ’16. You weren’t horrible. You weren’t perfect. You didn’t make life easy at times (uh oh, maybe I did that myself;) At the end of Saturday night, you were just a year. 2017 will most likely see much of the same and if I’m very, very fortunate I will be saying goodbye to it a year from now just as healthy and strong and happy as I am right now with my kids and others I love just a little more successful than today.

There are people who are unhappy with everything.


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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