by Thom Van Vleck
We have a lot of fun with our team rivalries in the USAWA. While it is all in good fun, it has gotten heated from time to time, but that’s OK. Sometimes that’s what it takes to get fired up for big lifts! It reminds me a lot of the rivalry I felt when I was a Marine. We hated the Army, Air Force, and Navy, but when we had a common enemy we quickly banded together. In the Marines we had a saying: “You won’t find a better friend or worse enemy”. I also believe: “Once a Marine, always a Marine” (Chesty Puller said that, the most decorated Marine of all time and a personal hero). I feel the same about my affiliation with the JWC.
We all enjoy our training for lots of reasons. I’m sure most of us have a primary reason for doing it and for most, that primary reason is probably to get strong! For a bodybuilder it may be to “look strong” (I never understood why you would want to look stronger than you really were….I want to be stronger than I look!). The reality is that we probably train and compete for lots of reasons beyond that. One of those reasons is for the social aspect. We are humans, we generally seek out companionship….even loners will have a dog or cat for companionship! So, for social interaction, we join teams. Now, I’m not talking about “socializing” (although that certainly happens!) but the act of finding a common bond or thread. Common interests, so to speak. That’s the social aspect I’m talking about.
We also like competition. I can recall going out to the old JWC gym at about age 10 with a buddy of mine and doing a powerclean and push press. The first thing he did was slide on a little more weight and lift it….and it was “ON”! We didn’t stop until we’d about killed ourselves! Teams give us the best of both world’s. We can hook up with like minded individuals and find the motivation of competition within our own team and then against other teams. But we can also have mutual respect for our rivals. I know I have a lot of respect for my “rivals” in the Dino Gym, Clark’s Gym, Ledaig…and the rest. That’s why I own at least a t-shirt from each and in the case of the Dino gym almost a whole wardrobe of clothes!
Teams are a good thing. They give us motivation, friendships, rivalries, and in the end, good times. Being a part of a team can hold us to a higher standard than standing alone. It can also reflect a lot about who we are and if done right, in a very positive way. So join a team in the USAWA, or start a new one and join the rivalry for bigger gains and good fun. I’m sure Scott will love the fact I used his photo for my example….and I’m sure it will motivate him to lift a little harder the next time we compete!