By Donny Shankle
The gym is full of all types of different personalities. I’m not really a people watcher but it’s impossible not to observe people in a place you spend a lot of your time. There are the title holders who bring back gold medals who everyone else wants to beat. Sometimes you’ll come across real legends along with legends in their own minds. There are the comedians who make everyone laugh and the greenies working hard to become full-fledged champions. There are salty dogs who compete at masters competitions. We all watch them training in amazement hoping to be as durable as them when it’s our turn. Then there are the dawdlers, pretty boys, attention-seekers, flirts and a few loudmouths. I don’t know what you call them but there are those you can explain an exercise to a hundred times, but each time you see them again for training you have to explain it all over. These people are often so lovable however you can’t help but forgive them and again explain what a Snatch is.
No matter what the personality type everybody focuses on their own goals. I like the different personalities because Weightlifting needs showmen. They draw in more people who want to lift and be strong. It makes the experience in the gym something you look forward to everyday. Weightlifting is really fun even though it takes a lot of hard work winning. The weights can beat you up and the perfection required to lift a record can be irksome. No matter the personality everyone rises to the challenge when the spotlight is on them. It can be a regular madhouse in the gym at times but it’s a place where we can all be a little crazy together. Besides everyone knows when to be a little more serious once the lions arrive. As soon as everyone shows up from work and open up their gym bags all of our different personas (whether appreciated or not) put life in the gym. It gives it a breathable atmosphere we may not find at our suffocating jobs.
Certainly the worst thing you can do as a weightlifter going after a new personal record for the day or win the coveted unicorn trophy for that day’s best lifter is spiritually shut down. Now I’m not saying be something you are not when you are in the gym training or competing on the big stage. On the contrary, what I am saying is be “you", and take “you", to the Nth degree.