It started before my time.
The slow downfall and the quiet demise of the act of giving a shit.
In grade school we didn’t know any different, we answered teachers questions, we would raise our hands to volunteer for just about anything, and we wanted to be the teachers pet.
Somewhere around middle school it slowly started to change to where our chosen seats were no longer in the front, and by high school we didn’t even want to be seen carrying our textbooks with us.
We stopped raising our hands, we slouched in our chairs with an arm nonchalantly cocked over the backrest, a look of boredom permanently etched into our face as we would ignore lectures on algebra and doodle band names into our notebooks.
There were those select few that didn’t follow suit though,
They were outcast, we would use all sorts of names, dork, geek, suck up, teachers pet…
The main difference between them and us? It’s not that we didn’t actually care, we just want anyone to know that we cared.
It became cool to not give a shit, and it was social suicide to sacrifice a cool factor.
I didn’t realize the implications when I was 16, but I can see it now from the outside, turns out hindsight really is 20/20, and amazingly enough my parents were actually right about a lot.
Fast forward to failing out of school, working manual labor jobs, and spending the better part of decade wasting a ton of inherited intelligence for some perspective on the real world, and I’ve found my calling come full circle in the form of helping kids care again.
No I’m not a teacher, I don’t have the patience for that.
I decided I want to give kids direction in the weight room, teach them to strive for excellence in an environment where the great equalizer is work ethic, not talent, not brains or money, not what clothes you wear, but how hard you work.
I’ve watched the transition many times over…
They show up, stay to the back, don’t speak up, not willing to put forth the strain it takes to break a sweat or let out a grunt.
They come from a world where these efforts are laughed at by their peers, where you can’t care too much or you’re uncool.
And yet here they find themselves, dropped into a world where the music blasts, the hum of a large fan is the only air conditioning, and all around them dozens of adults and their peers are working to the point of exhaustion, giving all of their effort in the pursuit of being the best version of themselves.
The change doesn’t take long.
It starts with asking how much more they can go on their squat, then turns into asking what the next session holds, voice covered in poorly masked excitement about deadlift day, then they’re already planning their lifts, looking to the left and right to see who they can push harder than, and finally yelling encouragement to one another as they all look to find their limits, and find ways to push through them.
They have built a team.
Without a playbook, without a Saturday game or jerseys, without even attending the same school,
They have built a team.
When you’re in this gym, you’re on the team, and it takes every player to make it work.
We’re in season year round, and we go head to ahead against mediocrity, and dammit all, we have a perfect record.
We have built work ethic, we have grown and cultivated ambition, and we have put to death the creeping plague that is indifference.
We will forge ahead, and welcome the next sleeping warrior that sit in the back, and give them their chance to come forward and find place on the team.