|A shot of part of the weight room at Monument Valley HS in Kayenta, Arizona, Navajo Nation, USA|
Upon graduation from BYU we headed south to the reservation. With a degree in Health/Physical Education, I took a job teaching.........Navajo Language, of course! I also had a minor in Native American Studies with a lot of hours in Navajo linguistics. It was a passion that began while I was serving as a missionary on the reservation. My wife and I left Provo in a Ryder rental truck with our two children and headed out to Alamo, New Mexico. It was a remote group of Navajos who hid out in the mountains of New Mexico during the long walk period and had been basically forgotten by the government until after WWII. When we arrived there, there were no paved roads, no telephone access, and mail was delivered to the trading post only on Tuesdays. We traveled the 30 mile dirt road to Magdalena to make phone calls and the nearest grocery store was 70 miles away in Socorro.
|Our Gym at Alamo|
I brought a bar, a few hundred pounds of weights, and some homemade squat racks with me. Soon a section of my building was turned into a weight lifting club.
|Football Game in Monument Valley|
It was during that time that I began my masters' program in physical education with an exercise science emphasis at Northern Arizona University. Dr. Leo Haberlack, an NAU Hall of Fame track coach was the Dept. Chair and taught several classes that I needed. Once when I included some statements about weight training in one of my papers, he asked me where my references were. I said that I didn't have any references about those particular statements, but that I knew what I said was true from my own experiences. He said, "What makes you an expert?" I replied, "What does it take to be an expert?" He said, "If you get published, then you can be an expert!" So I decided that I would submit some articles on some of my ideas for publication. Andrew Fry, who was then an intern at the NSCA (and now is a distinguished professor and researcher in the field) was in charge of putting together the journal. He was kind enough to use some of my ideas and so Dr. Haberlack was surprised that I began to reference myself in some of my papers for his classes. Later as I finished my thesis, Dr. Richard Borden, who was Dean of the School of Health and Physical Education and later became the president of the NSCA, served as my thesis chair. He assisted my efforts to exhibit some scholarship qualities a great deal.
About that time, when the NSCA developed the CSCS certification, I was among one of the first groups to challenge and pass the exam. In those early days, the NSCA offered great opportunities to gain information through the journals, conferences, and networking with others of like interests. I really enjoyed my membership and the benefits that it brought.
|Monument Valley HS, Kayenta, Arizona. Home of the Mustangs!|
|Downtown Kayenta looking down Mustang Blvd|
As the years pass, the NSCA seems less relevant to people like me who are mainly interested in coaching athletes and hard core lifting. It seems that the organization has been hijacked by personal trainer types. While I am not against anyone who can make a living teaching correct training principles, there is a vast difference between training lay people on an individual basis and training a team of athletes who want maximum performance. So, in all honesty, I stay involved enough to keep my certification, but do not get too excited about NSCA activities anymore.
It has been a long haul since the early days of visiting the York Barbell Club and lifting on the Allegheny Mountain Team. Attending BYU was a life changing event. The sign at the entrance to the campus there says, "Enter to learn, go forth to serve." I hope I have in my 33 years in public education.
It has been a privilege to have been able to have met and received instruction and encouragement from so many Iron Game Legends over the years.
It is now my goal to pass along some of the knowledge and experiences I have been blessed to have.
Visit us on the Mustang Weight Room Facebook page.
|Another view of the MVHS Weight Room.|