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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Respect For Your Sport


I think it is important for any athlete to have respect for and a knowledge of the history of  his or her sport. Below is a conversation that came up on the GOHEAVY website recently concerning weightlifting with some perspective from NBA basketball. Young athletes, take time to learn about those who preceded you. Older athletes and coaches, take time to teach the history of your sport.

       I was talking to some IWF Officials this afternoon and was told the following anecdote of Norb Schemansky and Mark Henry in the bar following Mark's not-so-stellar performance in the '96 Games in Atlanta. 

Mark is awestruck by Norb across the room and asks to be introduced to him. Upon their introduction, Norb looks up from the pint of beer resting on his slight paunch and says, straight-faced, "Well, I guess you f*cked up this time, eh?"

Mark replies with, "Well, yes sir, I suppose I did."

Spades are spades, and Mark took it on the chin.

Anyway, I got a good chuckle out of this and thought I would share.

-Rachel

       Rachel,

An interesting and encouraging anecdote, even if it is now 15 years forward in time.

Here's why: At one NBA All-Star Game over a decade ago, Shaq was being coached by the legendary Lenny Wilkins, and they were talking before the game as a coach and player would do. Shaq asked Lenny, "Did you play basketball?"

Of course Wilkens was already by then in the Basketball Hall-of-Fame, not only for his coaching prowess but for his great years as a collegiate and pro player, one of the best careers of all time.

Shaq had no idea who he even was or whether he had ever even played the game.

It indicated, to me, at the time that "modern" athletes often aren't as schooled in the history of their given sports as kids and athletes used to be when we soaked up stats on all of our favorite players in any sport we were interested or involved in.

It's one reason so many of us old-timers who post here often remember fine details of great lifters of yesteryear.

-Cheers! Brad

       Great story. Norb is my favorite lifter of all time. But hats off to Mark for owning up to his performance and calling Norb "sir."

-Matt


I had a similar experience several years ago at a NSCA Convention in Las Vegas. The great Tommy Kono spoke at a luncheon for high school coaches. Afterwards I had the opportunity to eat lunch with him and several other high school coaches. It was great to talk with and learn from him. No one else at the table even knew who he was. Very sad. All of my students know something about the history of heavy lifting and those who made it.


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