IT ALL STARTED ON A TYPICAL NOVEMBER MORNING back in nineteen eighty seven.
Life was changing for me quickly; I just didn’t realize it at the time. I had been successful in some bodybuilding contests as a teenager, but that was really as far as I wanted to go in the sport. I worked at a local construction company as an architect. Each day in the office started out the same; grab a cup of coffee and sit down at my desk. Being a designer, you either had a mouse, pencil or cup of coffee in your hand.
It all began that morning when I looked over at a sheet of paper that lay next to my
computer with these words that read; I AM MR. MICHIGAN 1988. At the time I
thought it was funny and threw it away. Two weeks later, I realized I had written it
again. Only this time the words were written more than once. I threw it away and
forgot about it,again. A few days later, I caught myself doing it, again. I stopped and
just shook my head and said, “Could I? No, I’m not doing it again.” I thought, “I have
accomplished all I wanted to. But, what if I could win? Are you kidding? Stop kidding
This conversation went on in my head for days. I found myself over the next three
weeks writing the same thing, I AM MR. MICHIGAN 1988. Could I? Well, if I do I have
to make a decision by January 1, 1988, due to the contest date in April.This would
give me four months to prepare. What I am saying? I thought I was finished. I kept
writing and writing and writing every day through the month of December. Then I
just decided, Ok, one more time, I’ll do it.
I don’t know when it happened, but it did. You see in the sport of bodybuilding
there are many variables involved. You can not predict what will happen. Contest
preparation is mostly the science of nutrition and mental preparation. And of course
doing your time in the gym.
However, even if you do all the hard work, when you’re dealing with the human
body and are judged on your looks, anything can play a part in what the final
product will look like. Changes can come at the last minute due to nerves, water
retention, sickness, over-training, presentation flaws or in a lot of cases, mental
fatigue. But this time, something began to happen with my body along the way.
I continued to write that simple statement over and over again. Day after day, after
day, and with that what started out as a denial now became a dream. So I wrote and
wrote and worked hard and ate right.
It was now the beginning of March and I had three weeks left. At this point, my
mental training had kicked in. Time and time again, I saw athletes fall to the
demons in their heads. The self sabotaging thoughts of food depervation, self
esteem issues, only to crack at the very end. I was no exception. I had many bad
days. Some days were per hell. I didn’t want to get out of bed at times. I just didn’t
have the energy. But I found a way. I kept writing, and writing until my hand could
write no more, I AM MR. MICHIGAN 1988.
The days continued to pass, getting closer and closer to the contest day. I have to
admit, by two weeks from the contest I just wanted it to end. But, I could not quit. I
had made a promise to myself never to quiet. Goals change decisions do not. The
contest was on Saturday, so by Monday training wise I had done all I could do. Now I
prepared for the day, keeping my nutrition finely tuned and absolutely did not break
down mentally. I stayed focused on the bigger picture. Due to my fatigue level, my
training partner and his wife drove me up to Detroit on Friday so we could spend
the night and get a good night’s sleep.
I never said bodybuilding was not an extreme sport. Part of the goal to achieve
success was through training and human physiology manipulation. I needed to get
rid of as much fat and water as I possible could and still stay functional. The fat
came off through diet and training over the past four months and if all was fine in
my body, the water would go in the last few days. Now let me tell you, through all of
this I kept writing, and writing and writing.
Friday evening I went to bed about three pounds over what I thought I should be on
competition day. My weight class was 154 to 176 pounds, Friday evening I weighed
174 cool, but not good lean enough to win. You see, it was not good enough for the
judge’s criteria just to be lean; you had to resemble a medical anatomy chart. This
required, on a temporary basis, for you to lose as much water around your muscles
as possible. This was science, luck, and faith at its best.
I awoke early around five. My friends were still sleeping in the same room. I didn’t
feel any different as I went into the bathroom to weigh myself. What I saw on the
scale didn’t seem possible. I stepped off and back on at least a half a dozen times. It
just could not be. My contest check in time was five hours away, but it was time for
my roommates to get up, so I yelled. Still not believing the scales I dropped all my
clothes and at the same time dropped my jaw. It just was not possible. Without
going to the bathroom for eight hours, it was not possible to lose four pounds of
water. The water in my body, under the skin, covering the fine tuned muscle fibers
had out of thin air disappeared.
My training partner, his wife and I walked into the theater in preparation to the
check in. As we entered my friends wife stopped leaned over and said to the both of
us, “Can you feel that?” I looked at the both of them and said, “Feel what?” That
thick ego filled air. Honestly, I turned to her and said, “I matters not what I receive
today in trophies or recognition. I have already won.
No one can take away what I have received over the last few years.” I thought of
Pumping Iron and Arnold it was then I realized what he new before the show. It just
didn’t matter what place I recieved, there was no pressure. As I checked in, it was
interesting and comical to see affects of transferring internal pressure to your fellow
competitors. They looked at you like little boys who lost there best friend.
It was night time now, I final time out on stage in front of thousands. Yes, this was
it. My career was ending no matter what the results would be. My journey was now
As I heard my name called as the winner of not only my weight class, but the overall
winner it was announced you are MR. MICHIGAN 1988. It was at that moment I
realized the Power behind the Pen. What started out as a slip of the ink, four months
later had transformed my mind and now my body into the very words that had been
written so many times before. I can not explain it, but to this very day I know in the
bottom of my heart, if it was not for power behind the pen, and that deep desire to
win I would not have accomplished so much in so little time.
I don’t care what it is in life, if you want it, write it down. Everyday, all the time.
Sooner of later your mind will help you achieve it. Never, ever underestimate the
power behind the pen.
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