I was a jerk.
I screwed up. I embarrassed myself.
I embarrassed my coach. I undermined her authority. I fractured our relationship.
I let my ego take over.
And I know better.
To make matters worse. My coach is also my wife.
And this morning I am a cliché. I pushed myself with improper form and now my back hurts. I’m not injured. But I could have been. Ego means a lot of things to a lot of people. It’s thinking more of yourself. It’s showing off. But it’s also not knowing your limits. It’s thinking that you have all of the answers. Olympic athletes have coaches. ALL professional athletes have coaches. Did you catch that? PROFESSIONAL athletes ALL have coaches. I’m just a 46 year old guy who loves working out and wants to improve his quality of life and longevity. I love to push myself. I love “the suck”.
A jerk (not me, at least not in this context) is taking the barbell from the shoulders to the overhead position. It involves proper grip, correct hand position, attention to the elbow, keeping the midline tight, and using the legs to propel the barbell upwards. Soon after the barbell begins its upward ascent, you drive your body down under the barbell and lock out your arms. You land in a lunge position before carefully bringing the feet back under the shoulders to finish the lift. Lots of moving parts. Lots of technique. The kind of thing a coach can see while you are busy.
“Eric, your front knee is too far forward and your back leg is too straight”. A good cue from a great coach. “Ok coach, thank you. How can I fix that?” The problem is, that’s not how the conversation proceeded. Instead, my ego took over and in my frustration I acted more like a pouty child. I disrespected my coach, my wife. I have limited shoulder and upper back mobility. As such, I lunge forward too far and overextend in my lower back to get the barbell balanced over my base of support. But this isn’t a lesson in proper weightlifting mechanics.
This is a lesson in humility. It’s a lesson in respect. In our gym we pay to be coached. We pay to have great programming in order for us to be fit in all domains from strength to flexibility, endurance, balance, coordination… You get the picture. If I would have listened to my coach (whose sole reason for being in the gym is to HELP me!) the conversation could have gone much differently. We could have discussed what I was feeling and what I thought I was doing in the jerk vs. what she was seeing. We could have discussed technique and proper loading. I could have set up a personal training session to assess my mobility issues and how they are affecting my lifting mechanics. Then she could have prescribed exercises for me to do to improve those areas. I could have set up another session to address some drills to improve my technique.
Instead, I am not working out today. I am typing this while using a TENS unit on my lower back. The back pain doesn’t compare to the pain of regret. I regret acting like a spoiled brat. I regret letting my ego take over. I regret my hypocrisy. After all, I am a coach too. I regret undermining my coach’s efforts. I regret disrespecting a really, really good and dedicated coach. I regret disappointing the most important person in my life. If her own husband won’t listen to her, what does that tell the rest of the gym members? Are they going to act like me? Like they don’t need to listen. Like they know everything already. Like they don’t need a coach.
Relationships are a two way street. They are emotional. They take work. They require willing the good of the other. In this scenario, my coach was WILLING the best for me; to lift better, to be safer, to get stronger, to be better. Was I willing the best for my coach? Nope. Deep down do I always will the best for her? Of course. Do my actions show that? Not this time. Shouldn’t I know better? Doesn’t my coach deserve better? We teach our kids to respect their teachers. I need to follow my own advice.
I’m sorry coach.
I’ll do better next time.
I know that you won’t quit on me.
I won’t quit on you either.