by Eric Todd
I have been competing in strength sports for a number of years now. Anyone who knows me knows that is what I do. Though the people I associate with outside the strongman and weightlifting community are for the most part a well-meaning group of people, I sometimes have gotten some interesting questions from them. Here are some of my favorites:
1) Why do you do that? I usually get this when a person first finds out the arena in which I compete in, or find that I lifted x amount in a certain lift. Definitely when I set the necklift record. The arrogant response is “If you have to ask, you would not understand anyhow.” The fact is, many people cannot understand this, because they cannot understand the quality of being competitive, or the drive to be the best at something. They are satisfied with living in mediocrity. That is fine for them, just not for me.
2) Aren’t you afraid of hurting your back or Aren’t you afraid of getting a hernia? (these both kind of fall under the same category) No. I am not. I choose not to live in fear. As it turns out I have done both and continue to lift pretty heavy, so I guess there was nothing to be afraid of in the first place.
3) Are all the guys that compete on steroids? No. I am not (I assume that is why you are asking). I know there are others who are clean. However, in strongman I kept getting surprised by how many dirty lifters there were. Even some that I assumed were clean that were not. I guess they better find some better stuff. That is one reason that the USAWA is a HUGE breath of fresh air. It is nice to lift against other clean lifters.
4) Why haven’t I seen you on TV? This is one of the more absurd questions, in my book. While I have competed with the best, and have beaten some of the best at one time or another, at 5’11”, with small joints and no drugs, there is really only so far my work ethic and genetics was going to take me in the strongman arena. I went all out, but this is the reality. Secondly, I always thought of it like this: I do strongman events on Saturdays. Other guys go golfing on Saturdays. They even might be pretty serious about their golf game. Would it make a whole lot of sense for me to ask them why I have not seen them on TV competing in the Masters or something? Competing in the Masters or World’s Strongest Man is for the truly elite, the best of the best. He hasn’t made it to that point, and neither have I. It is that simple, and not something it seems I would have to explain. It is not like I am one of only 13 guys in the world who do strongman and the other 12 are the ones who go to Worlds.
Anyhow, those are my top 4 questions that the layman feels necessary to ask someone who competes in strength sports. Some are kind of funny, and some just sad. Aside from the steroids question, I assume they don’t mean much by them. It is just humorous sometimes to realize how we are perceived by those on the outside.