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Why I Keep My Shirt On During CrossFit

Facebook is all abuzz with an article telling the tales of shirtless wonders in CrossFit gyms across America. While our love for our fellow CrossFitters can’t be hampered by their inability to stay clothed it’s imperative that we tell our side.

Not all of us belong in the pantheon of shirtless deities.

Here’s why we stay on Team Blouses.

1) Moobs. Where once stood a pair of majestic piles of pectoral mass now sits a couple of sandbags who look like they just found out Miley Cyrus is their Mom.

2) Body hair. I used to suspect that what was formerly my hairline was lost forever. It’s becoming apparent that the hair has simply relocated to various other body parts. For unknown reason the area residing directly over my kidneys has turned into a Florida trailer park for retired and relocated hair.

In a prior age I manscaped year round but it became too taxing for my clippers so we’ve cut back to summer months only.

Just because I workout in “The Jungle” doesn’t mean anybody needs to see an actual Gorilla. 

3) Stretch Marks. Kat Williams has no problems with stretch marks. I personally have problem with them. But I’ll spare you the distraction of my purple hued armpit Rorschach mid-WOD.

4) Poor Suspension. While the shirtless masses may have skin that handles like a Lotus Elise, all tight and responsive, the rest of us run the gamut between a ‘65 Impala and an ‘94 Dodge Caravan. It always starts, it does what you need it to. But damnit things bounce, jiggle and wiggle when we change direction. 

The ‘65 Impala is one of the greatest cars of all time but if you send it around the Nurburgring it’s gonna be a sh*t show.

5) Adipose Tissue. Years of chocolate chip cookies, dark beer and unfortunate genes have combined forces to assemble an army of fatty tissue that rivals the that of the ancient Persians. Unleash this force at your own peril.

6) Pale. This is Northern Indiana. My pasty white underbelly hasn’t seen the light of sun in 100 fortnights. If it weren’t for the aforementioned body hair I could double as a night light. I am approximately 1 shade from Egon and Venkman hitting me with the backpack lasers.

7) Real Men Have Curves. Society has been slow to embrace my efforts to push this RMHC initiatives to gain acceptance for those of us with some extra cushion. 

While most men suffer from a very serious disorder known as “NoAssAtAll” The God’s have seen fit to bless me with stout trunks and an ample posterior that requires pants be purchased a size larger to accommodate them. A blessing on squat day. Or Deadlift day. Or moving day. Or really any other day…

8) Beer.

9) Nachos.

There ya go. Just a few of the reason that I shroud my raw, unbridled man-ness throughout every workout. It is for the good of the gym…neigh…humanity that I save my shirtless escapades for the WalMart produce aisle and 2 AM jogs through the neighbors yard.

*This is supposed to be in good fun. If you take this seriously I’m shaving my back in your kitchen.*

Tell Her She’s Beautiful

My daughter is beautiful.

When her screams reach “Shuttle launch at a Kiss concert” levels and when she’s laughing uncontrollably.

She is beautiful.

When she runs down the hallway with her hips turned like she’s just ran over a patch of black ice and when she’s laying her head on my chest.

Gorgeous.

In the eyes of a Father, a daughter can do no wrong.

She will always be beautiful.

Whether she’s 7’3” or 5 foot nothing. 105 pounds soaking wet or a little “Fluffy.”

She is, was, and always will be absolutely stunning.

I will express this to her at every opportunity as long as I’m around to express it.

Why this? Why her looks and not her brains, leadership skills or her athletic ability?

Because from the time a woman is old enough to know what it means the world tells them that they will never be pretty enough.

You’re all too tall or too short. You are too fat or too skinny. Your skin is too dark. Yours isn’t dark enough. Your muscles are too big. Yours aren’t big enough.  You need curlier hair. You need to straighten yours.

Nothing will ever be good enough in the eyes of society.

The only hope you have of ever approaching beauty is to eat “X” calories, spend this much time in the gym, wear these clothes and buy this makeup. You have to style your hair in this fashion and it has to be this color.

The world will tell her that if you miss any one of those factors and you’re a hag. Barely fit for the fashion, diet and cosmetic industry to insult.

The world is cruel and unforgiving. This world is setup to tear women down. The world is full of billion dollar industries depend on women never feeling good enough.

I can’t change the world.

But I can change the way my Baby Girl sees the world and herself in it.

I will show her that true confidence comes from within. It flows from a well of self assuredness that must be dug deep enough to bypass the impurities of self doubt. A well deep enough that it can’t be polluted by the toxic nature of the society we live in.

If you want a well that deep, you have to start digging early, so here I am with my shovel.

I understand that it’s not enough to tell her that she’s beautiful.  I need to make sure that she needs to know what the word “Beauty” truly means. I have to show her where true beauty comes from.

I will surround her with positive energy. I will show her what love looks like through the way I treat her mother. I will let her see what it means to be happy with who you are by the way I handle my own imperfections.

We will build her confidence by showing her, repeatedly, that she is capable of anything. That confidence will be the shield that protects her from the spears the world throws.

I’m going to tell her that she’s beautiful. Because so many will try to tell her otherwise.

I’ll tell her that she is beautiful and she will know it’s true.

I can’t change the world.

But I can make sure that the world can’t change her.

John Roberts Saves Republicans From Themselves

As is so often the case, history is decided by the slimmest of margins.  One man, with one voice, seated atop the highest court in the land made one decision and changed the course of this country’s future.  If he had voted along party lines, he’d have been hailed as a hero.  John Roberts would have been the savior of both our Constitution and our great Republic. 

But he didn’t. 

Now conservatives everywhere are pasting pictures of the Chief Justice on Benedict Arnold’s body and screaming in agony about the painful death of our country.  It seems that life as we know it somehow ended with the Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday.  

Make no mistake; the ramifications of yesterday’s ruling are as broad as any we’re likely to every see. But, as usual, a new day’s dawn brings new clarity.  At least for those of us who bothered to read the “Why” behind Chief Justice Robert’s decision

What happened yesterday was an absolute masterstroke of political positioning that may prove to be beneficial in the long run.  If conservatives would stop yelling, whining and basically acting like a baby with a toothache long enough to read his decision they’d see that his ruling DID protect the Constitution.

It is not the duty of the Supreme Court to interpret the appropriateness of a piece of legislation.  They have no responsibility to decide the political landscape of this country from behind the bench.  The justices were handed a piece of legislation that HAD ALREADY BEEN PASSED by all necessary branches of government.  The decision of its worth to our country had already been decided.  The scales of justice have no national allegiance, nor preference to political party.  Forget your own petty alliances for a moment and remember that fact.

The words that no conservative, aside from myself, will ever admit:

The decision of Chief Justice Roberts was constitutionally correct.  He decided that the ONLY way that the “Individual Mandate” passed muster is if it were applied as a tax since Congress does have the authority to levy taxation as it deems necessary.   It would not, however, be constitutional if applied by Congress under the guise of the Commerce Clause.  This decision is actually beneficial, long term, for conservatives in two ways:

1) Due to the nature of our legal system, once a precedent has been set, it is rarely overturned.  By protecting the Commerce Clause from exploitation by Congress yesterday, he essentially protected the sanctity of the clause going forward.   Any effort to utilize the Commerce Clause as a tool to expand government power has already been ruled against in the nation’s highest court.

2) Chief Justice Roberts made clear that Congress has, without question, the power to increase taxation.  If Congress has the power to PASS taxes, Congress also has the power to REPEAL taxes.  If conservatives win a majority in both houses in November a repeal of, at least, the individual mandate would have already had its legality borne out by the Supreme Court.

What Chief Justice Roberts did yesterday was sheer, unadulterated political genius.  The ability of the Supreme Court to remove political affiliations from the discussion has been called to task frequently as of late.  The American people (at least liberals) were losing faith in the impartiality of the Court.  The court is not a tool to be manipulated by politicians to further their bidding.  The constitutional duty of the court is to rule on the legality of the cases brought before it.  It is the duty of Congress to make laws and the Supreme Court to interpret them.  There can be no intersection of the two.  

Resist the dime store scholars on Facebook who hear only that “Obamacare” has been upheld and immediately turn off their televisions to run screaming at the internet.   Remove your emotions from the situation and read for yourself.  Based on his explanation, the ruling of Chief Justice Roberts was not only sound legally, but also incredibly shrewd politically.  

One can only assume that the Chief Justice considered the long term political disaster that would have resulted from a party line decision on such a controversial bill.  If the bill had been overturned, in spite of it being passed wholly within the framework of our political system, conservatives would have been buried under the political fallout.  The “Heartless Republicans” would have taken, for sheer political reasons, healthcare from millions of Americans.  At least that is how the left would have framed the argument for years to come.  Because of his decision conservatives still have a real chance at taking consolidated power back in November.  

I only hope that conservatives expend as much energy electing officials to overturn this bill as they have screaming at the Supreme Court.  Chief Justice Roberts hasn’t just left the door open for repeal, he has placed a giant flashing sign above it for conservatives to follow.  His decision should be a reminder to the American people that the fate of our country is in YOUR hands.  Posting pictures on Facebook is NOT effective political activism and it is not the duty of the court to bail out your laziness. 

At the end of the day Chief Justice Roberts protected the status and duty of the Supreme Court, protected a key portion of the Constitution and put the long term fate of the Affordable Care Act right where it belongs:

In the hands of Congress. 

Better To Be Lucky Than Good

I almost stayed home.  When my alarm went off at 4:45 AM I gave lengthy consideration to throwing my phone down the stairs and going back to sleep.   I had been handed my backside on a platter, on more occasions than I care to recall, this season there was very little reason to believe that this endeavor would bear any differing outcome.  But, at the very least, I’d get to watch the sunrise, hear some birds gobble and spend a few hours with my best friend.  So I brushed my teeth, swore under my breath and drove to Trent’s house.  This was to be my last hunt of the season and we had an absurd idea. 

The music was blasting at possibly unhealthy levels on the drive to Trent’s as I attempted to shake the cobwebs and convince myself that this was an endeavor worthy of our time.  He met me outside and with little discussion we quickly set about the task of arranging the setup for our hunt.   The plan called for two hen decoys, one jake and a couple of sleep deprived guys sitting in a blind.  With no further inspection it sounds just like any other turkey hunt in Northern Indiana.  However, there were a couple of mild oddities that warrant further description. 

It must be said that there are no woods on Trent’s property.  There is nowhere for a turkey to roost.  In fact, the turkeys in question were roosted about 650 yards away.  There is NO agriculture ON his property.  There is seemingly NO reason for a turkey to ever set foot on his property.  For some that may have been a mild deterrent.  But optimism, and possibly mental density, is endless.

Another fairly major issue to consider is the existence of things like Trent’s house, Trent’s garage, Trent’s propane tanks and Trent’s dog.  Given the circumstances we did what any hunter in our position would do.  We set our blind directly in front of the propane tanks, which are directly in front of the garage and right beside the dog’s kennel.  Wait, what!?

The sun came up and those glorious birds were in full throat on the roost.   Tom’s taking turns yelling at the world, while the day unfolds is one of my favorite sounds on this planet.  Trent said they would be noisy and they didn’t disappoint.  Again, it must be said, they are 600 yards away with no reason to come our way.  But, at worst, I’d heard more gobbling today than I had otherwise this season. 

In the middle of fixing the world’s problems, the conversation was interrupted by a figure at the edge of the woods.  The figure was so far away that we couldn’t even gauge what it actually was. The binoculars from Hawke Optics went up…. 

“That’s a bird….that’s a gobbler…I think.”

Trent picked up the Ghost Maker Game Call and started clucking and yelping like a flock of hens being tasered.  He was sending a message, and the message was received immediately.  The Tom started our way strutting, gobbling and generally trying to prove his swagger. Nevermind that he was in almost the next county, he had ladies to impress.  He closed the first 200 yards in record time and started moving parallel too us across the field.   He desperately wanted to come survey the situation more closely but he seemed to be a bit deterred by something.  Possibly the garage, house, dog and propane tanks…but that’s just speculation. 

He continued his trek across the field parallel to us and disappeared behind a ridge.  We drifted back to conversaiton about how cool it was that we even saw a turkey in this setup when his full throated gobble reaffirmed his wishes to come dance.  Just as I started to tell Trent that he was going to crest the hill I witnessed a big red head and the tips of a strutting fan. 

He muddled about, approximately 100 yards away, for some time.  Trent hit him with a few sultry notes from the Ghost Maker and it was on.He was coming.  Fast.

The next 45 seconds are a blur of an overzealous turkey sprinting towards our decoys with inappropriate thoughts in his tiny brain, me lining him up and the dog growling and barking.  Just as the turkey got into range Lola decided that he was far  too close.  Her defensive nature took aver and she peppered him woth growls anf barking. He continued, seemingly undeterred by the giant dog a mere 15 yards from our blind.  This turkey was, ahem, dumb with hormones…generally behaving like a 16 year old boy at his first dance…and it cost him dearly.

In the end the absurdity of the entire situation makes it so much sweeter.  This is an animal that will literally run from its own shadow, but today he ran 650 yards across a completely open field, disregarded a dog barking 30 yards away and tried to attack a decoy 25 yards from a garage.  And a house.  And propane tanks. 

There is no reason for any of this to have worked, but it did.  In the end I was able to harvest a wonderful bird, provide my family with tremendous table fare and cultivate a tremendous memory with my best friend on this planet.  Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, fortunately Trent and I are a little of both.

Thank you to Hawke Optics and Ghost Maker Calls for making this happen.  Great equipment makes successful hunts possible!  

The Setup:

The Payoff:

 

Kanye Moment

You can spend your whole life wondering if what you are doing is good enough.  If it’s worthy of someone else’s attention and adoration.  

Eventually you open your eyes.  You view the competition for what it is instead of viewing your work for what it isn’t.  

Cast a critical eye towards yourself.  Always be your most severe critic.  But don’t stand in the way of your own success because of it.  

Eventually you’ll have your Kanye moment. I mean young, hungry, unsigned Kanye.  Not awards show, walking “WTF” Kanye.  

You’ll understand what he meant when he asked, almost in shock of his circumstances:

"Damn.  These dudes are THAT much better than me?!?"

They weren’t.  He knew it then.  We know it now.  

So ask yourself the same question, honestly.  Are they that much better than you?

They aren’t.  But if even if they were it wouldn’t matter.  Because they aren’t standing in your way.  

You are.

“Anybody know what this is? This is Gettysburg. This is where they fought the battle of Gettysburg.
Fifty thousand men died right here on this field, fighting the same fight that we are still fighting among ourselves today. This green field right here, painted red, bubblin’ with the blood of young boys. Smoke and hot lead pouring right through their bodies. Listen to their souls, men.

“I killed my brother with malice in my heart. Hatred destroyed my family.”

You listen, and you take a lesson from the dead. If we don’t come together right now on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed, just like they were. I don’t care if you like each other of not, but you will respect each other. And maybe… I don’t know, maybe we’ll learn to play this game like men.”

Coach Boone—Remember The Titans
Everything I am not made me everything I am.
Kanye West
If you love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom—Go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were ever our countrymen.
Sam Adams
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. And to the republic for which it stands. One nation, under God, indivisible. With liberty and justice for all.
Random Thought

Sometimes, if you can fight through the pain, an unforeseen source of endless joy lay directly beneath the surface of our greatest personal sorrow.