I know everyone who plays a sport or takes part in some athletic endeavor thinks their chosen one is great. (if not, why do it?) Tennis player, triathletes, soccer players, I’m sure they are all passionate about their pursuit. And I have huge respect for anyone who masters a sport (or any craft, for that matter), but I just can’t imagine loving anything like I love powerlifting.
Other sports just seem so unexciting. I can’t think of anything — except maybe boxing, which I’ll never actually take up because I can’t imagine ever taking a swing at someone, let alone offering my face up as a punching bag (though I could be tempted by Muay Thai) — as thrilling as standing up under the heaviest weight I’ve ever lifted, or as satisfying as the barbell crashing to the ground after I’ve pulled some new personal record weight. Even hearing the weights thundering back into the rack when someone else lifts gives me a little frisson. I know, I know, to a basketball player it’s the swoosh of the ball through the net; everyone has the thrill that keeps them going in their sport. But I just can’t picture finding the heart-pounding, giddy euphoria I get from lifting weights in any other sport. I can’t see myself complaining on non-training days or never missing a workout, ever, or talking endlessly to anyone who will even politely pretend to listen about my last workout or next workout or possible workout if I were doing anything else.
So. Did I just get lucky that the first athletic thing I ever attempted was the one I was meant to do? That is if you can believe that an ectomorph like me (traits of this body type: thin, delicate build, lightly muscled, narrow bones) was meant for moving large weights. Or did I just fall in love with the first thing that ever showed me my body was good for more than carting my brain around and shoveling food into? What if I’d taken up ballet or ping pong or croquet? None of these would have seemed any odder than powerlifting a year ago. Would I wear ‘I heart ping pong’ T-shirts and find competitions and read endless articles about improving my game?
Who knows. All I know is nothing has ever challenged me, frustrated me, and thrilled me as much as taking on weights. There are days I wonder why I’m doing it; when my body hurts, when no matter how hard I try I just can’t move the weight, when I think I’ll never “catch up” to the people who have been doing it for years. Then I grip the barbell and muster everything in me to move it, just one more time, and feel like a conquering hero when I make it happen. So even if maybe I was meant to be a runner or a mountain climber or to play Jai Alai I’m going to keep going back for more weights.