Boycotting The Super Bowl

Not watching the Super Bowl this year. Curmudgeon, contrarian, Patriots aren’t in it, fair weather fan, check all the boxes.  The NFL sucks. It’s a millionaire’s club where the rich get richer, the hypocrisy gets more hypocritical and my conscience can’t take it anymore.  The owners don’t care about anything but making more money. They don’t care about the players, they don’t care about the fans.  The quality of the game stinks.  I’m a hypocrite too.  I would watch and root like crazy if the Patriots were there, but they’re not and I am choosing to do other things.

  1.  I hate the Broncos and Cam Newton.  Denver has been traditionally the dirtiest team in the league. For years their line has gone after guys knees. TJ Ward along with that schmuck linebacker from Cincinnati are the dirtiest players in the league.  Peyton Manning was a great QB and this is his last rodeo. That doesn’t mean I’m a fan of his. Hope he throws 3 picks and secures his legacy of being the NFL’s Mr. October.  That being said, Cam Newton doesn’t have an impulsive bone in his body. Everything is choreographed like it’s a Britney Spears concert at Planet Hollywood. Great player, but a fraud.  Hey Cam, jump up and down on the sideline while the camera is on.  Don’t forget to jump in the defensive huddle during the 2 minute warning.  There is an 8 year old at 11 o’clock in the south end zone and a 9 year old at high noon in the north.  Hand them the football when you score. Don’t forget to rehearse your touchdown dance in the mirror after practice. Can there be no winners?  Then again, with the Broncos going for a record 5th Super Bowl loss and Peyton Manning being 1-3 makes it a little easier to swallow a Panther title. I actually accepted the Patriot losing, didn’t lock myself in my room, was fine with it.  Denver is the better team.
  2. CTE and the lack of concern for former players. It was discovered this week that Ken Stabler had CTE. The owners may have protected the shield, but didn’t take care of their own. Ex-players committing suicides, crippled (watch Earl Campbell try to move around), joint replacements.  How many guys are suffering in silence that you never hear about? The owners don’t care. Sure they settled on a lawsuit, and you know they got out on the cheap. What about today’s players? Owners wanted an 18 game schedule. Thankfully, it hasn’t happened, and Thursday night games which you cannot possibly recover from if you last game was 4 days prior. Vince McMahon’s WWE has more credibility than the NFL at this point.
  3. Super Bowl ads. Never watch them, never will.  Nice investment in your product that no one will buy.  Go what? Bud Light sucks, and so did the Bud Bowl. My brother threw me under the bus and my father bought me a case of Bud Light when I went to FL. Not wanting to be an ungrateful son, I smiled and choked it down on the beach.
  4. Bad halftime acts. Now the owners are rumored to be asking acts to pay for the right to perform in the future. From a money making standpoint brilliant. This year we have Coldplay, Beyonce and the Prince wannabe Bruno Mars. With Lady Gaga, who like a bad case of herpes, is returning to sing the National Anthem.  Is it me or does Beyonce seem like she has some mental issues?  If you’ve seen the Nets game video, you’ll know what I’m talking about, completely spaced out. Coldplay is fine I guess, I kind of like/can tolerate them. Though Chris Martin loses points has for procreating not with 1, but 2 annoying, obnoxious Oscar winning ugly blondes. You’re a front man of one of the top 10 music acts in the world, you can do better. Heard way too much Bruno Mars in CA and it was the bad Bruno Mars, his slow songs from 2 or 3 years ago, not his good fast stuff. Got carpel tunnel syndrome pressing the buttons on the car radio to turn him off.
  5. The announcers.  Not going to listen to the Peyton Manning water boy Jim Nantz try to wax poetic about the old gunslinger riding off into the sunset with sounds of Omaha dancing through our heads. And Phil Simms adding nothing to the broadcast, which I can honestly say is better than Troy Aikman.  The good news is old Carl Yastrzemski faced Erin Andrews won’t be the sideline reporter. “Hey you guys, tell me about the touchdown…”
  6. The quality of play is terrible.  Between the ticky-tack holding/pass interference fouls, instant replay, and injuries, there is no flow to the game.  TD, field goal, commercial, kickoff into end zone, take a knee commercial.  5 seconds left in quarter, injury, commercial, one play, commercial.  For the Carolina/Seattle game, I didn’t start watching the game until 75 minutes after it started.  Caught up fast forwarding through all the commercials and halftime with 2 minutes left. Guys have had two weeks off, but is that enough to fully recover from 5 months of weekly beatings? Like a heavyweight fight, feeling each other out, shaking off the rust/loosening up.
  7. No squares or prop bets for me. Finished second in fantasy football, had league high 5 times, so made my $300 in gambling for the year.  Is there anything worse than having a 5 for the first three quarters in squares?  50 to 1 odds Peyton Manning’s first pass won’t be a wounded duck shot out of the sky.
  8. No Super Bowl parties, bad chicken wings, or dips. Going to start a fire, bust out some Glenlivet 15, have a nice dinner and wine, and maybe watch Downton Abbey, maybe play the piano, which was something I decided to commit to this year and have stuck with it.  Make it to the gym on Monday.

Great idea having it at Levi Stadium.  Good climate, outdoors, not too hot or cold.  Though there have been complaints from how the city of San Francisco had been shut down with all the festivities on Market Street.  They should have put the festivities, on Ellis or O’Farrell, smack dab in the middle of the Tenderloin district. Last month, I actually walked through there to go to a kettlebell gym on Van Ness and lived to tell about it. I didn’t get accosted once. Must have been my steely eyed Clint Eastwood “don’t fuck with me” glare and determined stride. (yeah, right)  What a war zone, good grief.

Workout summary.  Made up my own 5 x 5 with the barbell and made great progress.  Was doing 5 x 5 with 325 on the squat, 1 x 5 x 315 with the deadlift. Doing 6 sets of 4 presses with double 70 kettlebells. Did 200 snatches in 16 minutes with a 55. Basically setting PR’s all over the place.  Was in the best shape of my life, hanging at 190 having put on about 5 lbs. of muscle. What I failed to do was take any time off and then in December started getting injured. Was doing 20 steep hill sprints in a session and one of my calves started tugging.  That day, went to play tennis on a 60 degree December day. Went to hit a backhand to my son, POP, down I went.  Took a week to heal, but still couldn’t play soccer for 2 weeks. Just after Christmas, woke up with a sore lower lumbar. Took 2 days off, went to gym, did a warmup set of deadlifts with 185, and strained it.  I got into my car and had to arch my back while driving.  Why? because I try to take time off every 3 months and was at the four and a half month mark.  Stupid, you schedule a deload so you won’t have to deload.

Thankfully it got better in 2 days. A little Naproxyn and rest took care of the problem. I never take Advil or Aleve, unless absolutely necessary. But I was getting on a plane to San Francisco in 4 days and was worried how a six and half hour trek sitting on a plane would treat me.  Thankfully all got back to normal and I did some light lifting and running out there. Maybe three times. My wife joined me for the second year in a row and we went back up to Sonoma to this lovely inn in Healdsburg. So while up there did nothing except lifting a glass of wine or a fork to my mouth.  I had about 9 out of 12 days off to recover.

Although I had great success with the 5 x 5, I’ve dialed down the intensity and am doing 5/3/1 two days a week.  Kettlebells 3 days a week.  Doing More Kettelbell Muscle’s Basic Program and Jerk Work.  For the Basic, using 45’s, for Jerk Work, 55’s on light and medium day, 45’s on heavy day.  Can’t do double snatches in a chain format with 55’s. Playing soccer once a week. No hoop, too many guys and I’m not playing sideways on half moon backboards with tight 1972 single rims.  4 on 4 on a 70 foot court is a broken cheek bone waiting to happen.  Hit PRs last week on the squat, 305 x 10, the deadlift 315 x 6, barbell military press 115 x 10, bench 170 x 10. Still in great shape, hanging around 191, fasting for 36-40 hours once a week. Can’t really complain about life, just feel locked in personally, physically and professionally.

Don’t ask me what I thought of the game, because like the Oscars, I’m not watching.  Ears covered, eyes shut and NA NA NA NA, I can’t hear or see you.





As the baseball season winds down and the NFL heats up, I’ve been flabbergasted by the poor play in both leagues.  First, major league baseball. I like going to yahoo and looking at the statistics because God forbid the Boston Sunday Globe puts them in anymore. The number of hitters with 30+ home runs and under 100 RBI is astounding.  As a matter of fact, even under 90! What this tells you is it has become home run derby. Teams do not manufacture runs anymore. Instead, they all swing from their ass trying to jack the ball out of the park. Here is an example of a manufactured run. Base hit, steal second.  ground ball to the right side moves player to third, sacrifice fly. 1-0.  Way too many guys with 100 strike outs. Nelson Cruz 41 bombs 93 RBI, Mike Trout, (I can’t criticize Mike Trout), but he’s under 100. Albert Pujols, 39 HR, 93 RBI, hitting .244!  Lifetime .330 hitter in NL, hasn’t hit over .272 in 4 years in AL. He hasn’t forgotten how to hit he isn’t making adjustments.  National League, Bryce Harper has 41 jacks and 99, he’ll get to 100.  Todd Frazier, 35, 89, Carlos Gonzalez, 40, 97.  Also, look at the batting averages, way too many guys under .250 and it’s accepted!

So what’s going wrong? My take: 1. Defensive shifts. Which I think are great. The problem is hitters absolutely refusing to exploit them. The “I”m not going to change the way i hit.” is prevalent and costing hitters at least 20 points on their average.  Slap a couple of ground balls down the left field line and they’ll stop.  2. Working the count. I tell my sons this, “don’t take strikes!!!!” You probably get 1 pitch to hit per at bat, don’t let it go. The pros are different when a guy paints a 97 mph bb low and away that you couldn’t hit with a telephone pole. Hitters have higher batting averages earlier in the count then with 2 strikes. Don’t swing at garbage, but don’t let a good pitch go by. It’s the parking lot mentality around Christmas at the mall.  You going to pass up that one spot 50 yards from the door to see if you can find one 20?

Here is where I’m going to criticize Ted Williams. After 1950, he played 10 more season and never knocked in 100 RBI, why? Because he would not swing at pitches outside the strike zone. I’d rather see a guy hit 20 points lower and knock in runs then sit up there taking walks.  The Red Sox of the 1950’s stunk, maybe if Ted swung the bat more they would be better.  Look at Joey Votto. 29 HR and 80 RBI, he’s hitting .317. He’s walked 142 times.  I bet the Reds would have won more if he made contact. He’s also struck out 134 times. 1/3 of all his plate appearances, he doesn’t put the ball in play. $14 M a year. as the great Bill Parcells said when the Patriots let Irving Fryar (who just got sentenced to 5 years in prison) said, “We can be in last place with him and we can be in last without him.”

Third, Not choking up and hitting the ball the other way with two strikes.  Jackie Bradley Jr, has finally hit a little in the majors for the Red Sox. He’s capable of 15-20 bombs over a campaign. He strikes out way too much, and will not protect. He just tries to yank the ball out.  And that is the majority of MLB.

The pitching has gotten a lot better than the slow pitch softball scores of 10-15 years ago. Guys throw hard, really hard.  But pitch counts have hurt the game a lot. You have too many mediocre arms in the bullpen because the pitcher doesn’t go past 100 pitches.  I’m of the belief that pitch counts HURT pitchers and have increased injuries.  Allow me to explain. Pitchers know that they have only so many bullets for a game. So they max effort  every pitch. What would happen if you walked into the gym and maxed out every time? You’d get hurt. Same with pitching. This is why there are so many Tommy John surgeries. Remember the phrase “bear down?” When was the last time you heard that phrase?  The beauty of baseball is guys who were great 40 years ago would still be great today.  Who do I like for the playoffs? Toronto and Pittsburgh.

Now on to the NFL as I’m flipping on the Jets and Dolphins live from London. Quick aside, which ad are you more sick of? The sleeper pick in Draft Kings, or the tool biting his hand like Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley in Fan Duel? Torture, 4 ads every hour on the hour.  Need to circle the wagons on my fantasy football team. Big Ben hurt for 6 weeks, was my QB, Antonio Brown, first WR. First place, league high in the second week, I just need to hang on until the playoffs. Picked up Andy Dalton as my starter. Did I just write that?

Why is the NFL lousy? 1. Too many penalties, there is no flow to the game. Defenders aren’t allowed to hand check without illegal contact. With the spread offenses, offensive lineman don’t know how to block causing holding penalties. 2. The kickoff needs to be moved back so there are some returns.  How many returns to do you see? Not too many because you’re better off taking a knee and getting the ball at the 20.  3. Lack of talent at the QB position. Kirk Cousins, Colin Kaeprenick, Alex Smith, Ryan Mallett, and Jay Cutler; what do they have in common?  They all suck.  Alex Smith, on a good Chiefs team, didn’t throw one TD pass to a wide receiver last season.  And then you have the mediocre guys starting under center.  With Tony Romo and Roethlisberger out, the backup QB throws 3 yard passes and told not to make a mistake.  Not a way to play.  4. Thursday Nights.  Players aren’t recovered, which lead to some horrific sloppiness.  Game plans haven’t been gone through enough.  I read somewhere last year that in a game, there is only 11:00 of actual action. With all the advertisements, referee conferences, replay reviews, injuries, penalties, the game has become slow.

I shouldn’t complain, I’ve had Patriots tickets for 20 years, and get to watch Tom Brady. I love watching Seattle play, as well as Green Bay. Aaron Rogers is fantastic. Patriots fans need to tone it down however. Who cares whether Brady gets player of the week or player of the month?  One more ring is all I ask, forget the rest.  Oh yeah, run the table too.

I think the NFL is worse, only because of the volume of games MLB plays. There might be a lousy MLB game, but the next night could be a thriller. With the NFL, with a week between games, there is more to parse and analyze.  It makes it more glaring.

Workouts, Fridays have been my official day off.  I’ve been playing basketball again on Thursday night and actually playing well. My issue is the next morning my knees joints ache. Walking down the stairs is a production. The good news is the hill sprints and the two More Kettelbell Muscle programs have kept me in good game shape. Mondays, I’ve been fasting for 40 hours which has kept my diet in check. Been back in the gym once or twice a week. 5 x 5, for squats and deadlifts, Been working with 275, good form. Bench press, 5 x 5 with 165 and thrown some pull-ups in between sets.  For presses, once or twice a week, using kettlebells, doing ladders of presses/squat/rows with 55’s, 2,3,5 or 70’s 1,2,3. Do some swings for a finisher.

I tried doing snatches with a 55, 8 sets of 5,5 and next day my forearm was sore. No issues doing a double snatch, but any high volume is providing me with feedback that I shouldn’t do them. Sigh.  The two More Kettlebell Muscle programs are doing are You Don’t Know Squat 2.0 and Clean ‘Em Up 2.0. 9 weeks each, I do the first one as a complex, the second one as a chain. Heavy day is brutal, I’m using 45’s and it comes out to 10 complexes, over 200 reps with a work:rest 1:1.5.  Now the rest is going to be 1:1. Easy day I use 55’s. The chain is the killer, six times around. It starts out innocently, but by the 4th time around fatigue sets in. I also throw some hill sprints in once or twice a week.

It looks something like this

Sunday More Kettlebell Muscle / sprints

Monday Gym

Tuesday More Kettlebell Muscle/sprints

Wednesday Heavy kettebell ladders/ roll dice do swings.  Rolled 11 yesterday, 235 swings with a 70 in 11 minutes

Thursday More Kettlebell Muscle, Hoop at night

Friday Off

Saturday Gym

It is not much as it appears, all workouts are under an hour. No real goals set, just getting things done.


Have Famous Grouse in the bar right now.  Good blend, has a cognac like flavor to it. Better than Johnnie Walker Red and on par with Dewars.

Yin Yang, Up Down 6 Years of Kettlebelling

Life has been crazy since the last post.  I haven’t set one foot in the gym to do 5/3/1 in over a month.  As a matter of fact, I never did the cluster training I wrote about.  Now, I’m currently laid up for a week to 10 days. Nothing major, just can’t workout.  The good news is I’ve gotten a lot of traffic toward this blog lately so I figure, since I can’t act, I might as well speak softly and use words.

Good news, I have been working out. On vacation, I ran 5-6 miles a day and was doing 200 pushups every other day in the heat.  I firmly believe, if I lived in a warmer area, I’d be 10 lbs. lighter. I couldn’t keep weight on.  I felt so good, I thought, maybe I’ll just run, sprint, do dips, pull-ups and body squats for a month.  That fleeting thought went with the spiritual journey of going to Mass every Sunday. I’m 2 for the year for the record. I’ve done some running and sprints, but not as much as I should. I’ve been doing two different More Kettlebell Muscle programs 3 days a week which take 15-30 minutes, and some heavier kettlebells lifting the other 3 days.  Bad news, haven’t been watching my diet, and have inched up a little.  Nothing major, but I need to nip it in the bud. Fasting is like a double military press. If you’re not practicing it, it gets much harder.

I’ve been doing kettlebells for over 6 years and I log my workouts.  I can remember what I can do, have done, etc. So here is where we are on the 6 year ride.

Snatch:  I remember the great goal of doing 200 in 10 minutes. I’ve done 100 in 4:55, 160 in 10, and as I stated in a previous blog post, my all time favorite workout is snatching 5 reps each side and rest to the top of the minute for 20 minutes. Let’s not live in the past, presently I tried snatching a couple of weeks ago. Four sets in, felt a slight bark from my healed tennis elbow, switched hands on the descent to place bell down, bell fell out of the hook of my right hand, which I had chalked. Just walked away, swearing.  Other issues, humidity in summer time means, continuously chalking my hands which leads to sore hands. I don’t wear gloves, but I swear I’m going back to them. My form is fine, I enjoy doing them, but I don’t need the blood blisters, because on rep 181, I pinched the base of my finger on the descent.  Good news is my double snatch is good, with explosion. Double 55’s outside the knees, reps of 3-5 no problem.  Double 45’s through the legs, fine.

Military Press: I bitched about this last blog.  Right now 10 sets of 2 with double 70’s is probably the best I can do. Though, I did do an EDT session earlier this week with double 55’s and did 53 reps in 20 minutes.  I’m going back to that soon. My ego needs to accept the fact that I’m not as strong as I was.

Loaded carries:  I’m so not into them. I’m sorry to you guys who read this and love them.  I’ve tried, I just don’t feel it. No discipline, I can’t stick to a program where they are included. The problem is part laziness.  My kettlebells are in my basement which is finished. I don’t want to drag my 88’s up the stairs into the garage. Then bring the 70’s up so I can do rack walks and waiters walks.  Note: I’m not OCD, but I like organization, tidiness and order. When my garage gets messy, I get a little stressed.  The garage is for cars and I don’t like a bunch of crap in there. That would be 4 more things in there. Though at my old house I loved working out in the garage until it got cold so there’s hope, but not this week.

Single vs. double bells.  I’m a huge believer in switching off from time to time. Single bells, if heavy enough are harder than doubles because you have to switch hands. Plus it’s kind of neat/basic, to have one hunk of iron there for your exercise needs for the day. That being said, a set of heavy double snatches, presses or jerks make you feel strong. I had a lot of fun using just an 88, though it was taxing mentally.

Complexes vs. chains. Chains are harder. There, I said it. More time under tension and fatiguing. The two programs I’m doing, one is a chain, one is a complex. Heavy day of the chain is 36 reps done in an exercise chain of 6. You are constantly switching the exercise vs a complex where you bang out 5 reps of squats then 5 reps of presses.  Heart rate gets up over 180 and the last reps of double snatch and military press, even with 45’s conjure up dread.

Rest: I’ve hit it hard 6 days a week and I’ve done 3 days a week and rested 4. My thoughts now are you can do something every day if you’re not going crazy and are in condition to do so. I’ve had some stress in my life lately and instead of backing off, I’ve used exercise to help combat it. Even if my workout is blah, I know it’s better than to let it build up. Plus, I like to exercise and feel athletic vs. lying around rubbing my belly on my days off.  I am a big believer in taking weeks off every 3 months, or when I travel for business. I refuse to pack workout gear and jog in those closets they call fitness centers. As a matter of fact, I have to fly out to Office Park, IL for a round of meetings in October. In Wednesday afternoon, out Thursday night.  Lose an hour, home past midnight.  Should be a real productive Friday.

Speaking of which, flying is a complete and utter nuisance. I’ve flown about 15 times over the past 2 years and out of the 30 flights, something has happened 25 out of 30. Even Jet Blue has sucked. I had a flight time switched on me from 10:25 to 11. Got to the gate at 10:40, no plane. “Estimated to leave at 11.” Flight left at 10:35, I was across the hall eating at a restaurant. When was the last time a flight left early or on time for that matter? Next flight at 3:15, which didn’t leave until 4:45.  Last month, flying back from vacation, cancelled flight.  Why? because Worcester airport closes at 4 and the flight from Fort Lauderdale was delayed because the plane left late. The good news was my wife went to customer service, got us a town car up to West Palm, an $80 food voucher, a cab voucher home, and $200 in free fares. Jet Blue’s stock went down a dollar the next day after she took customer service hostage.

So what’s next on tap? Well, thinking out loud as Ed Sheeran would sing, the best gains I can remember on the barbell and kettlebells was last year doing EDT.  Here’s my potential map, if I can just get my butt to the gym in the AM….

Monday and Friday

Gym, EDT Bench Press alternated with Pullups, 20 minutes, followed by Squat and Deadlift 5 x 5. Maybe both, maybe one or the other. Use say, 275 for both.

Wednesday, Kettlebell EDT, 20 minutes Double 55’s  Military Press and Rows, rest 5 minutes, 15 minutes, Reverse Lunges and Double Snatches

Rest 1 day

Do the More Kettlebell Muscle workouts say Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday.  Throw in some hill sprints or basketball later in the day.

We’ll do this for 8 weeks and adapt as necessary, i.e. more days off?, increase the weight, etc.


Am I the only person that was happy Serena Williams lost?  Never liked her or her sister. Since this is a fitness blog, she lost because she was not in shape.  Ran out of gas in the third set.

Justice was finally served in regard to the Deflate incident. When the Celtics were great, they would brag about Red getting into the other teams heads. Patriots do the same thing. Was at the game Thursday. Antonio Brown is a man, glad he is on my fantasy team.  Brady was great and Gronk was unstoppable. Now if only the Patriots can shore up the secondary, they will repeat.  Roger Goodell is fantastic at making the owners money, terrible at discipline.

Speaking of fantasy teams, my yahoo draft evaluation called my team a juggernaut. Every year, I’m in the dance, with a top 3 team, almost always get my money back or make some, and lose in the first round of the playoffs.  Think Atlanta Braves.  This year, Big Ben, Brown, Megatron, Brandon Marshall, Justin Forsett, Doug Martin. Steve Smith as a backup and I invested in Todd Gurley and Antonio Gates for later in the season. I expect big things.  I don’t do any research, just wing the draft.  So sick of the Draft Kings and Fan Duel ads.

David Ortiz hit his 500th home run last night and it was a bomb. Once I found out he was only one of 27 to do it, last night, I decided to count and see if I could get all 27.  I went by team vs. the list. Ready? Ortiz, Ramirez, Williams, Foxx, Ruth, Mantle, Rodriguez, Jackson, Robinson, Murray, Killebrew, Thomas, Thome, Griffey, Palmeiro, McGwire, Bonds, Ott, Mays, McCovey, Pujols, Sosa, Banks, Matthews, Aaron, Schmidt, and GARY SHEFFIELD, nailed it. I love baseball, last night saw Madison Bumgarner throw a perfect game into the 8th and with two outs gave up a line drive single to Melvin Upton who is probably the worst player in the major leagues.  Oh well, a 1 hit shutout is pretty awesome too.

In my opinion, the American League is far superior to the National League. You see more pitchers, who are successful in the NL, completely struggle in the AL because of the stronger hitting lineups.  I remember when the Red Sox traded for Jeff Suppan who had a great season in the NL with the Pirates he came over to the Red Sox and was so bad they left him off the playoff roster.  Look at Johnny Cueto.  With the Reds he was a 20 game winner last year with a 2.25 ERA, this year, on a shitty team, he was 7-6 with a 2.62 ERA.  Gets traded to the Royals and is 2-5 with a 4.86 ERA.  He got his tits lit up by the Red Sox, who are not a great team this year.  The Red Sox have traditionally fattened up on inter league play as have the Yankees.  The last 19 All Star games the AL is 15-3-1.  This doesn’t translate into the World Series, but as a Red Sox fan, I can’t say I was ever nervous playing the Cardinals or the Rockies.  Red Sox record in the World Series this century is 12-2.  The ERA automatically goes up a 1/2 run without the pitcher hitting.  Don’t believe me? Cole Hamels ERA in Philadelphia, 3.64, with Texas, 4.07, close enough.  World Series will be Blue Jays vs. Pittsburgh.  I see St. Louis tiring down the stretch.  Kershaw doesn’t pitch well in the playoffs. The Mets? Please, especially with that candy ass fraud Matt Harvey wanting to shut it down after 180 innings.  Sure, Matt go for it, but we’ll stop paying you.  As a matter of fact, remember when you had Tommy John surgery last year and we paid your full salary?  Real profile in courage.

Getting the itch to play soccer again after watching my son make the JV team. I’m so happy my kids never expressed an interest in playing football. The concussion thing scares the heck out of me. One of my older son’s friend quit after he got dinged twice before the age of 14.  Another who was a stud running back in Pop Warner quit because of injury.  I just think it’s one of those sports you shouldn’t play until you hit puberty and are grown.  It’s hypocritical, I love watching it as long as it’s someone else’s son, but am aware of the long-term damage of players in college and the pros. A guilty viewing pleasure

College football brings it every weekend. My buddy came over with a Trump 2016 t-shirt.  One can only hope….

Went to the TPC golf tournament last weekend.  God I suck at golf, but had a blast. Talked to Rory McIlroy who walked by us. Dustin Johnson is a big dude.  Friendly with the gallery as well.  We had VIP passes so free drinks in the clubhouse, nicer shuttle.  We were like 5 lions on the Serengeti as my cousin Cecil the Lion proclaimed after a successful hunt.

That’s all. Ciao.







Cooperstown Cluster Training Cycle 8 5/3/1

Took last week completely off except for a 4 mile run.  Was on the first of my summer vacations. Our town all-star team went to Cooperstown to play in a baseball tournament.  104 teams, kids staying in the barracks.  It was a great time.  I was one of the coaches and got the top bunk.  At least my bunk mate was considerate enough to bring me coffee in bed every morning. Just like at home!  The good news, my son played well, hit well, pitched in 5 games and threw strikes.  The bad news, we went 0-7 and it was ugly at times.  We lost to a Louisiana AAU team 22-0. They were stealing bases on us up 3 touchdowns.  At the end of the week, we watched them lose to a Beaumont, TX team and were throwing high 5’s with the parents

Despite the record, I can’t stress enough how fun it was. We lost our last game on an error, a balk and a wild pitch in the bottom of the 6th. In that game we hit into a triple play and two double plays. The baseball gods were not with us. During the tournament, I couldn’t believe how the things we worked on in practice bit us in the ass when we didn’t execute.  We were on our 1st baseman to get in front of all grounders and field it with two hands, gathering the ball in. He played the ball off to his side and it went under his glove.  We worked on pitchers covering first base.  Did the pitcher cover first after the error when our right fielder was hustling in to see if he could throw the guy out at first?  Nope.  My son is 5’2”, and 125 lbs.  He’s a husky, strong kid. In his hitting lessons, he was told throw your hands at the ball and extend on contact. I was repeating the same mantra during batting practice. He hit two 190 foot fly balls where he didn’t extend that would have been homers. The fence was 200.  Think of a golfer who stops his swing after contact. He did everything right, pulling his hands in to get the barrel of the bat on the ball, but didn’t explode.

We went to the Hall of Fame, Last two times, I was rushed out of there and didn’t get to read all the plaques.  This time, I hit that part of the museum first. I loved it and learned stuff about guys who I thought were great players but maybe borderline.  For example, why is Nellie Fox in the Hall?  Well, he went 98 games without striking out.  No, seriously, 98 games.  I forgot Willie McCovey played at the end for the A’s.  For the record, I’ll take Randy Johnson over Pedro.  Call blasphemy if you must, but, Randy Johnson was 3-0 in the 2001 World Series. In 2003, Pedro blew a 5 run lead vs. the Yankees in Game 7.  You can blame Grady Little, but at the time, Pedro was being paid $17M to win that 1 game, and he ran out of gas.  I’ll take my chances with the Big Unit, thank you. In regard to the four greatest living players, I’ll take Bob Gibson over Sandy Koufax and as much as I loved Johnny Bench as a player, that was a home team call. Frank Robinson was way better and also played for the Reds. 586 HR, he won the triple crown and was MVP in BOTH leagues.

Around the museum are all these wonderful memorabilia shops with baseball cards, hats, etc.  In one of them, they had unopened baseball packs with gum in them from 1987.  Gave my son the $2, he opened the pack and immediately put the gum in his mouth.  The 28-year-old gum immediately disintegrated.  Best card he got was Harold Baines. Then we met up with my older son and his buddy at Doubleday Field. I decided to get two tokens for the hitting cages. I had done some hitting in the cages at the tournament, but this was a 55 mph slider.  The first round, I could not pick up the break of the ball because they use those dimple balls with no seams.  I kept fouling it off.  Second round, laser show.  Then we went to the radar gun. Three years ago, hit 68 mph, no warmup.  One thing I could always do until last year was throw hard. I played 3rd and the outfield and had a good arm.  It died last year at age 45.  I remember playing catch and having no pop on the throw. It got worse this year. Stepped up, 60 mph. My eldest threw 61.  UGH. The Great Santini isn’t the alpha dog anymore.  Fun though.

My wife and son stayed in a log cabin on a campground 3 miles up in the hills with the other parents.  They all had a blast. Cooperstown is so scenic nestled into rolling farm land and hills with a picturesque lake. Took my wife on a date the last day to hit the Fenimore Art Museum, and lunch on the lake. Easy 4 hour trek back home on Friday. It was so great being away from the outside world.  No WiFi, I had no idea what was happening, just baseball.

Got back into the gym, cycle 8 of 5/3/1. Weights have felt heavy. I hit my numbers for squats and bench, but 285 on the squat wasn’t flying up. Got it for 7. Then I decided for assistance work to do 230 for a set of 20. I did 225 x 20 before I left. Got to 17 and started to get a headache. Not doing that again.  I didn’t have it on the bench either. Did 5 x 185 which is putrid and pathetic. Pressed and deadlifted today. Hit my deadlift number of 285 x 5.  Missed my first rep in 8 cycles.  Training max, 150, last set was 85% which is 127.5  Not feeling it, I truncated to 125 and missed the last press rep.  I rushed it, there was a guy waiting to get on the squat rack and I was trying to be considerate and not make him wait. The good news is I’m hitting 5 reps for each set of pull-ups.  Of course dropping down to 186 makes it easier, but it’s affecting the heavier lifts.

For kettlebells, I put the 88 aside. Did a strong 5 weeks, making a grinding progress, but on my first TGU at the end of the last workout, lost the bell going from my elbow to the bridge and my knee. It hit the floor and I decided, that was enough. Doing cluster training instead.  Presses and rows 1-3 reps, 30 seconds rest one day, Front Squats and Double Snatch 2 days later.  Cluster training is doing rest/pause, but you do 5 rounds rest/pause 5 times.  It goes like this, take a pair of kettlebells.  Do a set of 1-3 reps.  Rest 15-30 seconds do another set.  Repeat until you do this 5 times.  Rest 3 minutes, do 5 rounds.  So if you squat 5 x 3 reps, that’s 15 reps. Times 5 rounds is 75 reps total workout.  It’s a killer.

I’ve been questioning something recently and it might change the way I workout.  I’m starting to believe that each individual has a certain level of strength and once they hit it, you’re not going any higher, unless you eat like a horse and gain weight.  Have I put muscle on, sure, probably 3-4 lbs this year.  But when I’m over the 190 mark, and especially in the mid-high 190’s which I was this winter and spring, I don’t like the way I feel.  All I felt was the Buddha in the belly.  Was I stronger, sure, but didn’t feel great.  I hit 365 on a deadlift.  No way could I do that now.  I failed 345 last time I tried. So be strong and fat and have to waddle up to the squat rack to hit 315 x 10?  Or, be conditioned and hit 275.  I mean is it really going to make a bloody difference?

A lot of it has to be mental.

Bench Press, On a great day I can get 1 rep x 225, but have no problem doing 205, 210, but there’s a threshold.  Plus I have long arms which doesn’t help the cause. Just not naturally built to bench and never have been.

Standing Barbell Military Press Can walk up and do 145 any time.  Does it go up easy?  No, can do 135 x 3, but that’s it.

Squat.  With this, it’s about depth which I’m sure is confidence.  275 x 12 to parallel and slightly below.  As soon as I get to 285/295 the depth becomes shallower, the reps are at 6/7.

Kettlebell Press.  For doubles, I’m pretty consistent in the 3-4 range with 70’s.  Can do 5, have done 7 and missed the 8th by a hair.  But again, I was 10 lbs. heavier.  For a single kettlebell, I can easily do heavy day with the Rite of Passage with a 70.  But still can’t press the 88. Can push press it, but I can’t strictly get it out of the rack.

I’ve realized, military pressing for me is a high maintenance exercise. If I’m not pressing heavy, I lose it.

I’m going to stick with 5/3/1 a little longer and if I continue to stall, switch to a 5 x 5 or ladders working with 75-80% 1 rep max.

My younger son is going out for JV soccer this year and has to get in shape for the end of the month. He’s been doing the Simple and Sinister workout with getups and swings, but adding a set every two days.  Plus doing hill sprints followed by a mile jog.  I’ve been supporting him by doing the sprints and jog with him. We live in a cul-de-sac at the bottom of a hill.  We jog to the hill and then sprint 80-100 yards up.  First mailbox is 80 yards, second with a steeper grade 100.  I couldn’t believe how sore my calves were.  But it’s a great workout.  6 or 7 sprints every day. I just feel so much more athletic than over the winter. Sure, I was playing soccer and basketball, but was carrying 8 more lbs.  The only place it helped me on the court was boxing guys out, harder to be moved around at the heavier weight.  My diet has been steady, neither bad nor perfect. Some great eating days, other days not so great.  Didn’t even watch my diet in Cooperstown and only gained a half pound. Right now feeling athletic and conditioned is better than feeling strong.  I’m sure my joints are happy carrying less weight and I feel really good.

Onto the never-ending Tom Brady controversy.  I refuse to use the suffix “gate”  This has turned into a complete joke. The NFL leaked incorrect information, then never corrected it.  The commissioner chose himself to be the arbitrator, the gas law wasn’t taken into effect.  Was Brady uncooperative?  Sure, but with these buffoons running the show, would you cooperate?  4 games, which should and will be overturned.  The GOAT should not take a reduction and admit any wrongdoing.  This is akin to taking a minor traffic violation du jour and giving someone 5 years.  Still on my streak of no traffic tickets since 1993!  A complete and utter joke.  My anniversary falls on Brady’s birthday.  I’ve been married 1/2 of Brady’s age 19 years vs. 38.  Have the annual August tropical vacation coming up so 5/3/1 will be shelved yet again.  I’m going to have to step up my vacation planning for the big 20 next year. Any suggestions?


Summah Update


Weight 188 and steady, have put on muscle as my pants are looser than last year when i weighed 184-185.

Workout 5/3/1 Boring But Big 3 days a week.  Moved training maxes back 2 cycles and hitting personal records. Supersetting pullups at bodyweight between each set.  About 120 reps per week.

Kettlebells:  3 Days a week, using exclusively an 88.  Been doing this workout for almost a month.  Currently in week 4 adding a rep to each exercise each week.

This is what it looks like.  Takes about an hour.

One arm row 3 sets of 8 L, 8 R.  No problem.

One arm front squat 3 sets 6L, 6R.  Staying as tight as possible holding the bell in the rack.  Great for abs.

One arm push press 8 sets of 1L, 1R.  This is actually getting easier, another month or 2 and I think I’ll be able to strict press.  Not there yet, but the knee dip is less and even when it starts to stick, I have found the leverage point to press it.

Turkish Getups 8 L, 8 R alternating hands between each rep.  Takes about 12-13 minutes.  Never easy, I’m so happy when it’s over.

Swings, 300.  sets of 20 between the row, squat and push press sets.

Tennis elbow, gone, actually snatched for the first time yesterday with a 55 and form was nice.  No pain.

Hands getting a little sore.  I use a lot of chalk because I don’t want the bell to slip on a humid day.  They’re dry, I had to bust out the Cornhuskers Lotion the last few days.

Running a couple of times a week, 4-5 miles just for something different.  Felt like my legs were melting when I ran in 85 degree weather on Monday.

I had a de-load week from 5/3/1 and used kettlebells.  5 lbs. melted off me in about 10 days, Haven’t been fasting, just not eating as much.

Have two vacations and a corporate meeting lined up over the next 6 weeks.  Corporate trip was a vote of 3 places.  My original vote was hometown, hometown, hometown.  I mean, I have a WebEx right?   My first choice was Orange County, axed, last choice was Dallas, axed.  My second choice was some third rate city in the Midwest.  Bingo, Good news, 2 hour flight.  It’ll be good to see my co-workers.  Although I love working remotely from home, it does get a little lonely. After being put up in the Fairmont for 6 days in SF and the company flying my wife out for the company gala, and then going to Sonoma, it’s going to be anti-climatic. Though i am hooking up for a couple of beers with an old friend of mine when I arrive. That’ll be next week.

RIP Kenny Stabler.  Great football player, how is he not in the Hall of Fame?  Think of the name of the museum Hall of Fame, The 1970’s Oakland Raider teams were powerhouses and he was the first guy that came to mind.  His statistics for the time are excellent.  They don’t measure up today, but it was a completely different game.  He won a Super Bowl, was the QB on the All Decade team and has an MVP.  Love the stories about his carousing.  One of his quotes was “nothing wrong with reading the playbook by the light of the jukebox.”  In there is an article on him from 1977.  It opens with him driving around in his pickup in the Redneck Riviera with an open container of beer, his second one before 9 AM.  There is a photo of him shooting pool with a butt hanging out of his mouth.  Could you imagine if they printed this today?  His autobiography, Snake, is an all time classic.  My cousin PJ, who was an enormous Raider fan gave it to me.  I texted him my condolences today.

Russell Wilson isn’t sleeping with Ciara because God told him not to.  Too bad for Seahawk fans, God forgot to tell him not to throw to Malcolm Butler.

As a Patriots fan, let’s enjoy again…

Best Boston sports moment ever.  I was screaming “it’s a miracle!!!, running around my basement crying like a pussy, YEAH!


20 for 20: 20 Kettlebell Workouts in 20 Minutes or Less

The lamest excuse for not working out is “I don’t have time.”  Everyone has time.  It’s how you manage it. This means being organized. If it means going to bed earlier and shutting off the TV, phone and computer, do it. Ironing clothes and making lunch the night before, do it.  I’ve become more OCD in my old age. I can’t stand tardiness, 5 minutes is fine, but I start getting annoyed at 15. I remember interviewing for a job and waiting 20 minutes. The hiring manager walked by me in the waiting room coming back from lunch like he was Oliver Flipping Cromwell without acknowledging me. Needless to say I punted the offer. I already had my mind made up at the 10 minute mark. I figured if he didn’t respect my time, he wouldn’t respect me. Also, I can’t stand mess and clutter. I have inherited this from my mother. Is it too much to pick the towel up off the floor? Get the toothpaste out of the sink? Put your clothes away? Make your bed? You’ve probably  correctly guessed I have a teenage son who thinks he lives in a hotel. My younger soon to be teenage son is falling into the same pattern.

Rant aside, I’m going to give you in my opinion, the best 20 minute kettlebell workouts that I know. These are the bang for your buck, I’m glad I did them workouts. Why? Well it’s summer time. Usually during summer, I get off what program I have and do total randomness. Not this year however. I’m still doing 5/3/1 with a barbell three days a week and looking to do something fun the other 3-4 days. I need to take more days off. Tuesday after 8.5 hours sleep, I was woozy and tired. Went to the gym, hit my numbers, but it was less than a stellar day. To humble brag, I still can’t believe I got 135 x 3 on the standing barbell military press. I felt lousy. So I took Wednesday completely off. Came back on Thursday and had a great bench press workout and 3 mile run. Felt really strong doing pull-ups.  I’ve also got my running legs back after being dormant for a few years. Sunday, I ran 5.7 miles and sprinted down the end. I was thinking of my friend and the “I could drop dead any moment” was going through my head. Other issue was running up the last steep hill during mile 5, I’m So Tired by the Beatles came on the shuffle. Great tune, but completely inappropriate running up the 5 minute grade. Followed up with a 4 mile run Monday.

Most of these can be done with 1 or 2 kettlebells. If you need to warm up and cool down, total time 30-35 minutes tops.

1. The Helion

This lovely complex was created by Pat Flynn. Set timer for 20 minutes. Do 2 two hand swings, then 2 one handed swings on each arm, then 2 thrusters with each arm. (squat to press).  Now do 4 reps of each, then 6, then 8, then 10!  Now go back down the ladder. 10 again, then 8, etc. Rest as necessary. As many ladders in 20 minutes.  Each ladder is 30 reps per exercise per arm.. Recommended bells for men. 35 or 45

I’ve used 3 different bells for this. First the 35. This one is the, “I have to hustle through this, I might be a little hungover but need to sweat, or I can only do two ladders and I can’t put the bell down.” The last one I’ve accomplished in a shade under 13 minutes. Never put the bell down.  The 45 is a good go to bell because when you get into the upper reps of thrusters it becomes a fatiguing challenge. I’ve used the 55 twice. This is the “I can take on the world” bell.  I remember failing the 10th rep on the way back down the ladder. This is a total body workout.

2. EDT Total Body

Charles Staley inspired workout. Take two same size kettlebells that you can do 6 reps with. Do as many sets of three of this complex as you can in 20 minutes One clean, Military Press, Squat, Double Row.  Record number. Next time you do it, try for one more rep than last time. I like setting the time where, I’m doing a set every 100 seconds.

3. EDT Lower Body

Use two kettlebells. For this one, don’t do as a complex. Rest between each exercise and do as super sets. Clean bells, do 3-5 reverse lunges each leg. Rest to the top of the minute. Then do a set of 3-5 double snatches, rest to the top of each minute. If you can’t double snatch, do a single arm snatch each arm. If your form isn’t good do a set of 10 double swings.  This is also a great shoulder workout because your holding the bells in the rack while doing lunges. Don’t do this workout if you’re not feeling your personal best.

4. Turkish Get-Ups

Set clock for 20 minutes. Turn on Pandora or I-tunes. Do getups switching hands after each rep. My only beef with TGU’s, is you will get floor burn on your elbows and knees unless you wear long sleeves and sweats. But then you’ll sweat so much you will feel like your in a sauna.  Boring, but effective. Once you’ve dominated your heaviest bell then try this

5. Turkish Get Down

Only do this for 15 minutes. It is much harder than just doing getups. Why? Because you never put the bell down to switch hands. I can do getups with a 70 for 20 minutes. For this workout, bell down to a smaller bell. Switch hands at the top by either snatching the bell or cleaning and pressing it into position.

6. Snatches

This is a favorite of mine when I don’t have tennis elbow. I found it an an article on Dragon Door by Steve Freides. Take a 55 lb. bell, set clock for 20 minutes. Do a set of 5 with each arm. Rest to the top of the minute. 200 snatches in about 19:34. If you haven’t done it in a while, expect soreness in your traps and bicep. Once this becomes easy, reduce by 5 seconds and do a set every 55 seconds, and continue. Once this becomes easy…

7. Snatches 2.0

This is a David Whitley workout. Do a set of 10 snatches each arm. Rest a minute, repeat until you finish 10 sets. Never has a minute gone by so fast from the 8th set and beyond. If your form and grip break down, stop and call it a day. Brutal. I’ve lost a bell in the 10th, just flew off my fingers. BOOM under the floor. Chalk your fingers.

8. Ladders

Single bell, heaviest one you can handle.  Snatch to Press to Squat, to One Arm Row. Switch hands Ladders of (1,2,3,4,5) Snatch to press is tough because you have no momentum bringing the bell down from the lockout of the snatch to the rack. Each ladder is 15 reps. As many ladders as possible in 20 minutes. If the snatch isn’t your thing, then do cleans instead of snatches.

9. Two hand swings

I’m not a fan of heavy volume of one hand swings.  They bother my back. 20 reps each minute for 20 minutes.  Or as many sets of 10 in 20 minutes. Or alternate sets of 10 and 100 skips of the rope.

10. Chains

“My baby’s got me locked up in chains and they ain’t the kind that you can see…” All right token Beatles reference from the Please Please Me album aside, a chain is going through a progression of exercises 5 times.  This can be done with single or double kettlebells and they can beat the tar out of you. At first glance, it looks easy but they’re brutal. If you use double bells, you are pushing heavier weight.  If you use a single bell, you have to switch hands so the set is longer.  It goes like this:

Swing, Clean, Press, Squat, Row. Do one rep of each, go through circuit 5 times. That’s one set.

I like chains better than complexes.  Complexes can cause form to break down, chains are only one rep.  That being said, I don’t recommend double snatches when doing chains.  In a complex, sure, but at the beginning of the set while your grip is fresh if you are using heavier bells.

11. One Arm Long Cycle Clean and Jerk

Sets of 3-5. Rest as necessary.  Start with 10 minutes. I tried this with a 70 lb. bell hoping for 80 reps. Epic fail, did 60 and heart was pumping over 180 per minute.  One needs to perfect the jerk form and start with a lighter bell.  It’s like a push press with a duck under.  Practice it without a bell. Push up on your toes, extend arm, duck under. Great back shoulder and conditioner builder.

12. Single Arm Kettlebell Complex

Sets of 5 switch hands, rest 3 minutes, repeat for 20 minutes

One arm swing x 5, Snatch x 5, Clean and Press x 5, Reverse Lunge x 5, One Arm Row x 5.  Which exercise takes the most out of you?  The clean and press.  This will test your mettle.  If it’s easy, go heavier or reduce rest. You can do this with any exercise, mix and match

13. Fitter Happier More Productive

Pat Flynn complex.  He says it sucks. I concur. Recommended bell 35 or 45.  I’ve done this with a 45 in about 9:45 if I recall. Haven’t had an overwhelming urge to try it since. Mainly because it makes my lower back sore. It’s the Helion with the snatch added in after the thruster Like the cherry on the hot fudge sundae. Oh and you can’t put the bell down. 2,4,6,8,10. You’ll be saying no mas when you’re finished.

14. The 300 Kettlebell Meltdown Workout

An oldie but a goodie.  I’ve seen guys do this with a 55, but that’s too much for me. I’ve done it with a 35. Takes about 16 minutes.  The burpees kill you. I have to do them in 5 or 6 sets.

Jack knife/V-Ups x 25 (Sit up touching your hands to your toes as you lift your legs off the ground)

Snatches 25 L, 25R

Pushups x 25

Two hand swings x 50

Burpees x 50

Clean and Press 25L, 25R

Mountain Climbers x 50

15. Stacking

David Whitley inspired, he does it for time. Not me, take a heavy bell and do for reps. 55 or 70, Adjust the reps depending on size of bell

Two hand swings x 10 Rest 30 seconds

Two hand swings x 10, Goblet Squat x 5 Rest 30 seconds

Two hand swings x 10, Goblet Squat x 5, Slingshot around body x 15 Rest 30 seconds

Two hand swings x 10, Goblet Squat x 5, Slingshot around body x 15, Clean and Press 3-5, Rest 30 seconds

Two hand swings x 10, Goblet Squat x 5, Slingshot around body x 15, Clean and Press, 3-5, Row x 5

Rest 90-120 second and repeat for 20 minutes

16 Conditioning Complex

This baby is my own creation. I usually do 10 sets which is over 20 minutes, but you can still do 5-6 times around the circuit in 20 minutes and get a good sweat.  I do this one in my garage.

Take heaviest bell you have.  For me an 88

Swing x 15, Pushup x 15-20, Skip rope 50 jumps, Sprint 100 yards. Walk back repeat.

17. The Long Haul

This is not the complete program but a workout from Geoff Neupert’s More Kettlebell Muscle. Perform 3 sets, Work:Rest ratio 1:2, you can shorten it to 1:1.5 and 1:1 when you get in condition. It’s basically 2:30 seconds of non-stop work, but I hate watching the clock so I’ve kind of calculated how many reps I can do in the 30 seconds. I remember getting performance anxiety during rest periods it’s so tough. Use two bells, I use 45’s for this.

Double Cleans x 12 (grip sapper)

Front Squat x 10

Military Press x 8

Double Snatch x 6

Double Swing x 20

See you on the other side…

18. Swing Ladder Superset

Another creation of mine, tested on my wife and kids. Rest as needed. Depending on size of bell do 5-10 reps. You can also swing a heavier bell and then use a lighter bell for the other exercises.

Swing 10

Reverse lunge 5 -10 each side

Swing 20

Military Press 5-10 each side

Swing 30

Goblet Squat 10

Swing 40, rest, repeat for 20 minutes

19 Swings and Burpee Ladder

Another oldie but a goodie. Haven’t done this one in a while.  Takes about 11-12 minutes, no rest unless necessary. I do this with a 55.

10 swings, 1 burpees

10 swings 2 burpees

Etc. Do 10 sets of 10 swings and work the burpee ladder up to 10.  The last couple of sets are a grind.

20 Up and Down the Ladder

This can be done with one hand swings (easier) and snatches (tougher) Rest as needed. Starts and ends like a sunny day, middle is a severe thunderstorm with large golf ball sized hail. You’ll be putting the bell down a lot going up ladders 7-10 and down to 7

1,1,2,2,3,3,4,4,5,5,6,6,7,7,8,8,9,9,10,10,9,9,8,8,7,7,6,6,5,5,4,4,3,3,2,2,1,1 = 200 total reps.  PHEW.

21. Bonus complex

Blackjack pays 3-2 unless you’re in a Harrah’s owned casino playing $10 in Vegas and they rip you off paying 6:5. In that case, run.

Go through this complex and rest until the beginning of the 3rd minute. (In English, start a new set every two minutes)

Use a 35 lb bell

Snatch x 5,5

Burpee x 5

Two hand swing x 20

Mountain climbers, 15,15


Losing a friend

It astounds me how life can throw you big curveball once in a while.  Was having a great week, happily whistling my way through life.  Coaching in the championship of Little League for my son. Saw my niece graduate last week and spent time with my parents.  Work going well, Great workouts, hitting my numbers, family healthy.  Then Thursday afternoon my wife comes up to the office with the landline phone in her hand and tells me she has bad news.  My first thought was my parents, but she assured me our family was fine. My friend Mike died of a heart attack running his dog 200 yards from his house. 45 years old and left a wife and 15 year old twin sons. Just completely and utterly bummed me out.

Who was Mike? He was a guy you looked up to literally and figuratively. Six foot two, in good shape, a mechanical engineer. Always in a good mood.  I saw him mad one time in my life, and years later it was an incident we laughed about.  I first met him at soccer.  My eldest son and his sons played on the same team. My first memory was him fixing my son’s cleats by cutting the toe cleat off each shoe. Soccer shoes are different than baseball shoes. When the referee inspected the cleats, he said my son couldn’t play in those shoes. Well Mr. Engineer took care of the problem.

He was also my son’s first head basketball coach. For some reason, our in-town teams were always stacked, and I used to tell him he had the best winning percentage in our town’s league history. Patient, kind, and positive was his style.  When we started travel basketball, the roles were reversed, I was the head coach and he was the assistant. Where I could get intense, he would always be able to calm me down. I’ve picked up one technical foul in my life as a coach. 99% of the time I don’t argue with referees. I sit on the bench, not ranting up and down the sidelines. This one time in a tournament after a 3rd missed call in the first 5 minutes, I snapped. T’d up, other team gets two foul shots.  Kid missed both. Being the know it all who needed to get the last word, I said, “see the ball doesn’t lie.”  Mike grabbed me and told me to calm down and shut up. I heeded his advice. There were times in practice where I’d be explaining something and the boys would be completely tuning me out.  I was on AM in the dark of winter and they were on Sirius XM. Mike would be the translator to get through to them. Need an extra coaching pass for the league? Mike would forge and laminate. Forgot the $40 in my haste getting out of the house to pay the refs?, he’d spot me.

What a great family.  Mike’s wife knows more about sports then all the men in the town. The four of them would go to Patriots and Red Sox games, high school games, little league all star games where their boys weren’t even participating! Always together, full of positive energy and spirit. If their boys were struggling at the free throw line or at the plate, Mike’s wife would say “go see coach!” and I would try to fix them. She told me my sarcastic wise cracking personality reminded her of Mike’s brother.

Every year, in January, Mike would grow a beard and start hiking. Every April, he and his buddies from home would go to the Grand Canyon, the Smokey Mountains or some place to camp and hike.  Every year he would invite me, but we would go to Florida on vacation. I wish now I went.  Our families socialized in groups and there was always a sincere warmth. Not the type of relationship where we would have them for dinner, but friends. We have several of these types of relationships in town, where the kids play together, etc.  He also read this quasi-cesspool of a blog and would tease me about my active mind.

In the last couple of years we saw them less. His sons got into track, my son, tennis.  We moved farther away from the center of town. When I saw him, I was happy and grateful.  I enjoyed his company. We had a can drive in November to raise money for my younger son’s baseball team. I did the 11-1 shift and later caught some heat from the bride, because her running friend told her that I didn’t do much when I was down there.  Why?  Mike showed up with his cans and an hour later we were still gabbing. That was the last time I saw him. Seven months sure can fly by in life.

Thursday afternoon at the ball field, you saw guys hugging. I was getting texts from guys crying. All just bummed out. I had a beer after the game and my wife and I toasted him. We lost a good one. Why does this happen? This was a guy who took care of himself and was active. I felt a complete sense of mortality. That could have been me. What’s lurking inside us that we don’t know about? Sure, I get my physical every year. My cholesterol number is a tad high, but my good cholesterol is off the charts good. You wake up and it’s the last day of your life. What about his wife? kids? Less than 72 hours ago they had a husband and father. I have been accused by my brother of being a little cold, aloof and unsentimental sometimes. I have the attitude of “people come and go every day of your life…” and move on quickly.  Obviously a defense mechanism if I’m psycho-analyzing myself.  But this really affects me. He’s been the first and last thought in my head the last couple of days.

What was strange was on Thursday morning, after a 4 mile run, my wife and I were sitting on a park bench on our street.  Our neighbor who is moving to Texas, was telling us the first owner of her house died of a heart attack in the driveway.  It was eerie because we found out Thursday afternoon.  And what about the dog?  Went for a run with Mike, realized something was wrong and ran home.  When Mike’s wife looked out in the street, she saw someone performing CPR on her husband. Dogs are amazingly intelligent creatures.

No one had a bad word to say about this guy.  I’ll miss you, my friend.