Comeback Kid: Episode Four: The Stage Is Set

For earlier episodes, please check my website matthewsfit.wordpress.com. If you’re up to date on what’s going on in the two wild lives of Brock Patrick, feel free to continue on to episode four.

The Stage Is Set

Brock left class and went down to the auditorium, just like he did in the new frame of events. However, when he saw Coach Hawthorne, whom Brock thought of as the stuck up head coach of the Edwin Middle School team handing out the sign-up sheets, he became scared and discouraged, thinking Hawthorne of all people would just laugh him off and send him back to class since Brock mightily struggled through the three hour practices during hot summer of 2003 during Hawthorne’s first year as coach. Brock was so pitiful he didn’t even play in a single game and played in about eight total plays the entire year during the five reserve games. Instead of facing this fear head on, Brock turned and bolted for the restrooms. While there, he gave himself one long, hard look in the mirror.

“Okay what are we going to do?” he asked himself through his reflection. “Are we going in there or what?”

He continued to stare at himself for a few more minutes before he decided to take one last crack at it and finally seize an opportunity to prove himself. As Brock exited and turned right in the direction of the auditorium, Mr. James, an assistant coach for the high school, was headed down the stairs to the very same meeting just as Brock became visible in the lobby. Keep in mind that Brock had left Mr. James’s class to go to this football meeting. By this time, the meeting had already begun and Brock looked as if he were skipping out on class since he technically was not present in the meeting. To make matters worse, Mr. James is not one of those individuals who is very understanding of the youth of America. In fact, he’s far from it. So far from it that Brock probably would have had a better chance of staying out of trouble had he just told Mr. James he was skipping the rest of class, meaning he was going to be in big trouble whether he told the truth or not.

“What are you doing?” thundered the gigantic Mr. James so loudly his voice echoed off the walls, causing the aging gym teacher, Miss Lund, to come running out of the gym where she was overseeing the sixth grade gym class.

Not only did Mr. James have a nasty temper, he had a very short one indeed. He was also a big man, standing at roughly six feet, four inches in height and weighing a good two-hundred and eighty pounds. He was also very, very well built and he was known to hit the high school weight room at least six days per week twice a day. In summary, Mr. James was big, muscular, and scary.

Wow, this is going to be bad, thought Brock, staring up at the large, hulking figure of Mr. James, who looked enraged and breathing like a rhino chasing down it’s prey.

“What’s going on out here, Mr. James?” asked Miss Lund in a falsely sweet yet sinister tone, glancing at Brock and then back at Mr. James.

“I caught one of my students down here trying to skip class,” reported Mr. James, his loud voice still echoing off the walls. “He’s supposed to be in the eighth grade wing but he’s down here in the lobby, probably walking around the building and not giving a care in the world over his dropping English grade, which is a D minus! What are you playing at, Patrick? What is your excuse?”

“I was in your class a few minutes ago-,” started Brock with a hint of desperation, but Mr. James cut him off, not giving in a single inch to allow Brock to explain his side of events.

“Then what are you doing in the lobby?” yelled Mr. James, whose voice carried so far Mr. Hawthorne poked his head out of the auditorium to see the commotion. He and Mr. James caught each other’s eye.

“I caught this cat red handed skipping class, Mr. Hawthorne!” exclaimed Mr. James across the lobby and sounding as if he had just unearthed buried treasure. “Does he look familiar to you? Does he need to be skipping anyone’s class at this point? What does he have in your class? An F?”

Mr. Hawthorne looked at Brock, laughed, and then shook his head at the scene and went back into the meeting.

“You’re grades in my class are poor enough and now you’re wandering around the school?” Mr. James raged on while Miss Lund walked up.”No wonder you’re almost failing in my class and failing Mr. Hawthorne’s math class! Oh yes, you didn’t think we teachers communicated about all of you, did you, kid! And don’t even get me started on Mrs. Triton’s class, I heard it’s a C minus and that’s because she was generous enough to curve them! Haven’t you learned anything at all this year?”

After that rant, Mr. James was now under Brock’s skin. Brock was feeling so much anger he did not care what was going to happen to him. So this was how it was going to be, so be it. Brock decided to push the envelope.

“Yeah, I learned how you ignore your students and gamble online during class,” smarted Brock with a half smile. “How much money are you winning these days all the while stealing from the school since you’re playing cards, fantasy sports, and who knows what else while on the clock?”

“Oh, you think you’re a comedian, do you, Brock Patrick? Miss Lund, take him to the office,” shouted Mr. James in a very dangerous voice, giving Brock and evil eye. “I’m late for a meeting and this worthless failure is not going to hold me any longer. I’ll see you in detention and if not I’ll know they shipped your worthless soul to the alternative school, son!”

“So you’re calling me-“, said Brock but this time it was Miss Lund who cut him off.

“You have no respect for teachers, boy,” she said through gritted teeth, towering over him. She wasn’t much taller than Brock, but she did outweigh him by more than a few pounds. Worse yet, she had an extremely vicious side to her which was ominous at this point. And despite her age, she is also in phenomenal physical condition, so much that she was able to wear sleeveless tops and look respectable in them.

“Honestly, half of you kids have no respect these days for any kind of authority,” she growled in a low, dangerous voice. You think you’re so tough, don’t you? You were a human pinball in while playing football in seventh grade, according to a few of your rather righteous classmates. You’re not tough, there’s not a single ounce of toughness or commitment in that little, tiny, wannabe tough guy frame of yours. Let’s go, boy, and if Mr. Douglas decides to put you in alternative school let me tell you, if you can barely survive football you will in no way, shape, or form survive a day in alternative school. I would like to see you try.”

And she grabbed him by the neck of his shirt and dragged him up the steps and away towards the direction of the office. He tried to pull away, but her grip was too strong for him. He had done it. He had one moment, just one moment of hesitation and what did it lead to? A trip the Mr. Douglas’s office.

“In!” said Miss Lund fiercely, pointing to a seat in the office as she opened the door.

“Miss Lund, who’s watching your class if you don’t mind me asking?” inquired Brock, taking a seat and reclining back in it, now thinking a little bit more offensiveness couldn’t hurt since he was in enough trouble as it was. “It appears to me that you are breaking the duty of your job. And you think of yourself as a good teacher? I beg to differ.”

“I have a student teacher in there!” yelled Miss Lund, putting her face inches from Brock’s, so close he could smell her hot breath. “We’re going to sit and wait for Mr. Douglas in silence and then he can sort your smart, wannabe tough guy attitude out. And if you say another word I’m going to write you up. Because let me tell you, Patrick, Mr. James is already going to see to that and Mr. Douglas does not take kindly to two write-ups in one day. Oh no, he doesn’t! You’re going to be a criminal in his eyes if you don’t shut up.”

She sat down in the seat next to his, across from a large desk that contained a single chair in the middle. They sat and waited a good ten minutes before the tall, yet stocky Mr. Douglas came into the office.

“What’s the problem?” he asked, addressing Miss Lund as he strode over to his desk.

“He was skipping a class and he became a smart mouth to both myself and his teacher, Mr. James, who happened to spot him down in the lobby while he was on his way to the high school football meeting,” she said, glaring at Brock the entire time. “I left my class in the hands of my student teacher, Mrs. Croft, and went to see if Mr. James needed any help. Lo and behold, this no name specimen thinks he’s Mr. Bigshot.”

“Okay then,” he said with a flat tone. He then turned to Brock. “Name?”

Brock was now so angry he wasn’t necessarily worried about what would come next, so he merely sat there in silence, staring at Mr. Douglas as if he didn’t understand the question.

“I said, name,” repeated Mr. Douglas, leaning in closer to Brock. “We can do this the easy way or I can call in Mr. Barr.”

Mr. Barr was the alternative school officer who had been called into the school more than a few times before. Typically he would arrest a troubled student and take them to the alternative school, where they would spend at least a few weeks. Alternative school housed student juveniles and the officers who led the school treated it as if it were jail. Partially because it was located within the confines of the Thomas County Jail.

“Brock Patrick,” muttered Brock, looking past Mr. Douglas.

“Brock Patrick,” he said in an undertone, as he typed into a computer set up on his left side. “I believe this is the first time I’ve had you in here. It seems like you’ve been involved in some minor incidents in the past but nothing too serious. But the way you’ve been talking today, it appears there’s more than meets the eye. What seems to be your problem? Talking back to teachers and wandering the halls, it appears. What’s the story?”

“I was just headed to the football meeting but had to go to the bathroom so I was running a few minutes behind,” said Brock. “Mr. James was coming down and just happened to catch me-”

“Mr. James must have waited until class was over, and that was fifteen minutes after Mrs. Wood called the football team down,” said Douglas, glaring at Brock. “That’s enough time to smoke a cigarette and down a beer in my opinion, which is becoming more and more of a problem at this school because of students such as yourself. I have a very hard time believing your story.”

“You weren’t headed to the football meeting anyhow,” grinned Miss Lund shaking her head, her eyes narrowing. “His football career in the seventh grade was beyond pathetic. He was a human pinball who was run over in practice by tiny James Gras. So supposedly this little wannabe thought about playing again two years later. Yeah right. What’s easier, Brock? A summer of waking up at the crack of dawn to running and conditioning in the heat or a summer of hanging out in an air conditioned room with junk food and videogames? I know you too well. We all know you too well. I know who you sit with at lunch and it isn’t the football team. You’re with those bottom of the barrel losers who will never go anywhere in life other than a halfway house!”

“That may be so that I quit football then, but-” started Brock.

“What were you doing in there for fifteen minutes?” demanded Mr. Douglas, standing up, face getting very close to Brock’s. “You, sir, have concocted some sort of story that just doesn’t add up. There is far too much evidence against you at this point and you’re very lucky I’m not calling up Mr. Barr right now!”

“What else would you be doing other than lighting a cigarette up?” asked Miss Lund sarcastically, eyes still narrowed. “And that’s all it better have been!’

“If I investigate the matter and find anything recreational, you will be escorted out of this school in handcuffs in front of everyone,” threatened Mr. Douglas. “And if you think I’m lying, just try me. Try me!”

“I was just, I don’t know,” sighed Brock, looking down at his shoes.

“You were skipping class, Patrick,” said Miss Lund. “Stop your lying and just admit to skipping class and not caring one bit about your pathetic little life!”

“Because I wasn’t,” said Brock defensively. “Seriously, I-”

“Mr. James also said that Brock was doing rather poorly in his class, as well as the classes of Mr. Hawthorne and Mrs. Triton,” said Miss Lund cutting him off. “This probably isn’t the first time he’s skipped the class. It’s just the first time he was caught.”

“Wow, a D minus in the class with a one point eight overall GPA,” said Mr. Douglas, eyes wide as he looked up Brock’s grades on the computer. “Okay, son, so you don’t have a single care in the world about your grades then. You also aren’t scheduled in low level classes. Just another one of those cases where the kid just doesn’t care. I see that a lot and it’s just sad. When kids like you grow into adults they are either jobless, on drugs, living in their parent’s basement, or in a prison cell. Don’t you realize your entire future depends on academic performance?”

“Like it matters twenty years from now,” said Brock, rolling his eyes.  “It’s middle school!”

“Once again, do  you realize I can call Mr. Barr right now and he can personally shuttle you to alternative school in front of the entire building?” glared Mr. Douglas, with his hand now on a phone next to the computer. “And if you give one more remark I’m going to do just that. In fact, if you miss one more day of school these next two weeks, I will not hesitate to give Mr. Barr a phone call about you because I see you’ve missed a good two weeks of school this year. And that is not a good sign because it typically means you are up to something detrimental to not only yourself but to others around you.”

“Okay,” said Brock, deciding it was best to concede.

“You’re going to serve two days of internal suspension,” said Mr. Douglas, drawing himself up to full height in his seat and pressing his fingertips together. “You will be in here with me, doing your school work without the luxurious assistance of your teachers. You will sit in silence for the entire day and focus on your work for eight hours of the next two school days. If you run out of things to keep you busy, I will find something for you to do and believe me, it will involve manual labor, something you’re obviously unaccustomed to. You’ll be scrubbing those steps you walked down today with a toothbrush in front of the entire school.  I will also be making a nice little phone call home to your parents and they will sign all fourteen demerits that you will receive by mail. Then we’ll see just how hard you really are. Because let me tell you something, you are not hard. None of you are. You got that?”

He sent Brock to his final period, which was art. There was only fifteen minutes left in the day and Brock handed the art teacher, Mrs. Horn, a slip explaining in great detail on why he was late.

“Where were you?” asked Lenny as Brock sat down next to him.

“Getting in trouble,” said Brock, head down.

“What did you do?” pressed Lenny.

“I really have no idea,” replied Brock heavily.

Brock was still kicking himself as he sat in Mr. Douglas’s office the next two days. Had he simply walked into the auditorium two days ago without hesitation the situation would have been much, much different. Sadly, this one event set the stage for the next twenty-one years of Brock’s original timeline.

Ranking the Uniforms of All 32 NFL Teams

 

As previously mentioned, I have numerous interests that lay beyond the world of fitness. Sure, this blog is definitely geared towards living a healthier lifestyle, along with my Comeback Kid Series, in which a down on his luck adult finds the fit life through many trials and tribulations, but it’s that time of year where my favorite sport is about to commence for yet another awesome season. So today, I’m going to share a post regarding the NFL. Today’s post? I’m taking the time to rank the uniforms of each and every NFL team, why they’re ranked where they are, and what can be done to improve their ranking. Something a little different than my usual posts but definitely something to break that monotony. Although fitness knows no monotony, there still needs to be variety.

  1. Oakland Raiders: Silver and black, one of the best color combos in sports. One home uni, one road uni, dark at home white on roadies. No markings or anything strange on the jerseys or pants. The same look for the last five and a half decades. It can’t be beaten and probably will never be beaten. Nothing will ever knock it out of the number one spot. This uniform has zero weaknesses. Grade: 10
  2. Kansas City Chiefs: When a team begins as the Dallas Texans, relocates to Kansas City in 1962 and only changes the helmet logo and nothing else, you know you have a great look. So what keeps it from number one? The monochromatic red that they like to wear one to two times a year. Grade: 9.7
  3. Green Bay Packers: It is a uniform that links Bart Starr to Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers to Brett Hundley. It’s timeless with very minor changes throughout it’s existence. The colors of fall, green and gold. It is the best uniform in the NFC. What keeps it from number one? The color scheme is great, but not as good as red and gold and black and silver. Grade: 9.6
  4. Indianapolis Colts: Like Oakland, Kansas City, and Green Bay, the look just works. Two colors, blue and white. Same logo throughout it’s entire existence. Why isn’t it higher? The shoulder stripes stop way too short and that’s a problem. Other than that, Johnny U, Peyton Manning, and Andrew Luck will be forever linked. And that helmet logo is the best the AFC has to offer. Grade: 9.5
  5. Dallas Cowboys: The lone star may trump all other helmet logos. The home whites forever make it one of the most unique duds in the NFL. What’s keeping it from being higher? Too many shades of blue and silver. Other than that, it may be the best aesthetic look in the NFL. Grade: 9
  6. Cleveland Browns: A lot of haters with this uniform but I’ve always loved Cleveland’s simple, old school uniforms. They didn’t change uniforms a year ago; they updated them and did it well. While I can live without the “Browns” going up the pantleg, they didn’t add any weird colors, add too much pizazz in the brown and orange, and the matte finish on the helmet makes it look even more old school. The ‘Cleveland’ wordmark is a tribute to Ohio’s rich high school football tradition and the drop shadow on the numbers is a nod to the 1946 Cleveland Browns. Awesome look. Why isn’t it higher? Way too many uniform combos. Grade: 7
  7. Pittsburgh Steelers: The most unique helmet logo in the league. Not the best, but most unique. Black makes everything look good. The team colors match the city’s flag, which is also unique. The Steelers just do almost everything right. What’s keeping it from being higher? The number font and helmet numbers are annoying as is that bumblebee throwback they love so much. Grade: 6.9
  8. Houston Texans: Another uni hated on by the media for being too generic. These newer teams (teams formed after 1960, such as, Tampa Bay, Seattle, Jacksonville, Atlanta) like to do really out of whack things with their uniforms in order to try to appeal to the younger crowd. The league’s youngest team doesn’t do that and it works. What’s better than red, white, and blue? The colors of America and the colors of Texas. Why isn’t it higher? The red alternates and mono blue just don’t work. I’d also like to see that shade of blue resemble the old Houston Oilers more. Grade: 6.5
  9. Buffalo Bills: Remember when they had one of the worst looks in pro football? Me too. These days, however, is a different story. The white helmets are a plus and the royal blue jerseys work even better. Keep it up, Buffalo. Keep it up. Why not higher? The mono white and mono blue doesn’t work. It takes away the color contrast this look needs. Grade: 6.4
  10. Washington Redskins: Name aside, burgundy and gold is iconic. The gold pants are even better, something Dan Snyder actually did that was right. Why not higher? They like to bust out the white pants and burgundy pants on occasion. It’s not necessary. Stick to the gold. Grade: 6.2
  11. New York Giants: The Giants just confirmed they’re wearing white pants for all eight home games. Awesome look. I’ve always preferred the white over the gray on the home uniform. The gray gives the away look a nice contrast, so keep the gray on the road whites, but the white pants at home just skyrocketed this look. Grade: 6.1
  12. Chicago Bears: The navy and orange are just classic and it all began when founder George Halas borrowed the colors from his alma mater, the University of Illinois. They’ve stood the test of time and rank high on the list. What keeps the Bears from a higher ranking? Not enough variety in the color scheme. The navy outlasts the orange by a longshot. Grade: 5.9
  13. San Francisco 49ers: One of the best looking uniforms in the NFC and they were ranked 2nd in my rankings once upon a time. Why the big drop? The black jerseys and black pants. Black should be nothing more than an accent color in San Fran. Red and gold are the primaries and always should be. Why make a uniform where black dominates the look? Worst alternate uniform in NFL history. Grade: 5.75
  14. Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings, like the Browns, are a team that simply updated their uniforms after a nice little hiatus from 2007-2012 when they busted out something only Reebok could have made. Like the Titans, they went from one of the worst in the league to the top half of the field. My only gripes are the strange numbering fonts and the black facemasks. Other than that, it’s solid and updated, based off of their classic looks. Grade: 5.5
  15. Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens have one of the best color schemes for both their name, persona, and stereotype. The Ravens of the early 2000’s were going to leave black and purple bruises all over their opponents. The raven itself is dark, as are their stereotypes and personas. What’s wrong with it? The gold pants are horrendous and look more like a ‘fauxback.’ The black pants shouldn’t be paired with the dark jerseys. Grade: 5.45
  16. Carolina Panthers: So many hate on this uniform. I’m indifferent to it. I hated the so-called “best uniform in NFL history” with that black on black look. Really? It’s one of the worst. And this team plays in Carolina. Why is black even the primary color over that carolina blue? Which of course, leads me to my gripes. Carolina blue jerseys should be the primary and black should be the alternate. The black pants need to go and this franchise is in it’s 22nd season and we have yet to see the silver pants paired with the white jerseys. Come on, Carolina. This look has so much potential yet it falls so short in every single area but the helmet. Grade: 5.2
  17. Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks ugraded their uniform when the NFL switched from Reebok to Nike in 2012. Gone are whatever that shade (or shades?) of blue was supposed to be. In is that very awesome looking navy blue. Gone was that neon piping which updated to a more pleasing shade of green. Back in action is the gray from the days of the old, which the Seahawks wore from 1976 to 2001. What’s wrong with the look? Very, very collegiate-like. The all-gray uniform combo is horrendous and the blue on blue needs to be toned down a bit. Grade: 5.15
  18. New York Jets: The Jets upgraded their look back in 1998. And for good reason. Bringing back an updated look of the Namath era uniforms. Not the best looking duds, not the most flashy, but they work for the Jets. So why are they eighteenth? The kelly green of the past is much better than today’s hunter green. The football shaped oval on the helmet beats the more circular one seen today. And the monochrome green and monochrome white takes away from the color contrast. Like the Panthers: great look but a lot of flaws . Grade: 5
  19. New Orleans Saints: Yet another great looking dud with mistakes everywhere. Let’s start with the black pants. Get rid of them. Their former shade of old gold of the Archie Manning days works better than the updated shade. The look is a mess but it can be cleaned up at anytime. Grade: 4.9
  20. New England Patriots: You have to admit, what they’re wearing now is nowhere near as good as their Pat Patriot duds of the past. Could you imagine Tom Brady winning four Super Bowls in Red and White? Would have been epic. What they have now is nowhere near their best look (side panels on the white  jersey?) but the look is here to stay. Why? Because Tom Brady won four Super Bowls in them. Grade: 4.7
  21. Denver Broncos: The look screams 1990’s Reebok, which I actually like because I love the 1990’s get-ups. Why not higher? The old look was way, way, way better and much more appeasing. Grade: 4.5
  22. Tennessee Titans: One of the worst helmets in the NFL if not the worst. Formerly one of the worst looks in the NFL with the Titans blue jersey and navy pants (who’s idea was that?) The look is better now that they relegated the Titans blue look to alternate status. My final gripe about the look other than the helmet? The navy on navy look. It’s terrible. Grade: 4.35
  23. Detroit Lions: As the Lions are no longer the laughing stock of the NFL (for the most part), everything has gone wrong with the uniform except the helmet logo, which is an upgrade. Black accents need to go. The weird numbering font should go too. At least they no longer wear the black alternate jerseys made infamous by Matt Millen. Grade: 4.3
  24. Miami Dolphins: The colors are very weak for an NFL team. Coral and aqua isn’t going to scare anyone and the navy is very unnecessary. Like the Bears, the uniform just screams aqua while relegating coral to an accent color. Why aren’t they lower? Because the core colors are still there and during their last uniform change they didn’t do anything too stupid. Grade: 4
  25. Philadelphia Eagles: The kelly green and silver of the days of the old would have this uniform in the top ten. Sadly, the midinight green, black, white, and hints of silver kill the look. The old look desperately needs to come back. The Eagles should follow suit of the 49ers (minus black alternates), and Buffalo Bills. Grade: 3.9
  26. Los Angeles Rams: Millenium blue and gold were bad enough in St. Louis. Now back in Los Angeles, it’s time to get the old royal blue and yellow look back and keep it. I think of bright sunny skies when I picture Los Angeles. I think of total darkness of the Ed Jones Dome when I think of their current duds. Grade: 3.5
  27. Arizona Cardinals: Like the 49ers, the black alternates are just terrible. Also terrible are the mono-red uniforms. The piping and strange pant stripes are horrid, as is the entire uniform. Why not lower? At least the bird on the helmet looks fierce and cardinal red still dominates most of the uniform. Not only that, the Cards have had their two best seasons in about a century (seriously) in these duds and that gives the look an upgrade. Grade: 3.3
  28. Atlanta Falcons: NFL Halloween Edition Part I! The uniform is awful all around. From the ‘F’ shaped falcon to the weird accents and piping to the indecision of whether black or red should dominate the look along with the white. Remember the dirty birds era? Go back to it. Or at least the Deion Sanders era. Hopefully a new look accompanies them to their new stadium in 2017. Grade: 2.9
  29. Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals have never had good uniforms. Unless you count the Paul Brown era, they rank near the bottom. The tiger stripes galore has got to go. The endless combos make the uniform look more like the……NFL Halloween Edition Part II. Grade: 2.8
  30. San Diego Chargers: You have a great look and what do you do? You think navy should replace powder. Uh, many say the powder blues are the most attractive looking uniforms in NFL history. So tell me why this works? Oh wait, it doesn’t. Grade: 2.1
  31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The creamsicle look was better than the digital alarm clock look of today. The pants and helmet are two different shades of pewter and what’s with the orange stripe between the red (or white on the road) and pewter shoulders? The odd pants stripe. Only thing going for the Bucs these days is the helmet. Grade: 1.8
  32. Jacksonville Jaguars: Did I say the Titans had the worst helmet in the league? I was wrong. The Jaguars have the worst helmet in the history of the game. They faded out the teal, which was their trademark color in favor of more black. This team plays in Florida so going to black as the primary color makes no sense.Remember the 1995-1997 look? They need to go back to it now! Grade: 1.4

Legend:

1-5 The classics.

6-14 Good but could have done better.

15-19 Something needs to be fixed.

20-26 Open up a history book!

27-32 You need a complete overhaul

 

The Great Juggling Act

So last week I talked a lot about how to integrate fitness into one’s hectic lifestyle. Please review my previous article if you’d like a refresher. Now that we learned (or should have learned) how to integrate fitness into our hectic lifestyle, how do we insert it into our recreational lives? Come on, we all have our hobbies that we so enjoy. I love to write and when I say write, I mean write more than just fitness related stuff. I like sports and I follow all of them, football more than any other, I just started playing the electronic keyboard last week and I’ve only gotten better at it. So, there you have it, my amazing lifestyle in terms of recreational hobbies. Not too bad, huh? Not many, but they’re concentrated, productive, and by all means, fun! I love what I do. Oh, and I like school too. Which one may find rather strange but in my opinion I’ve been going since I was four so I have a lot of experience in learning, which rocks.

Now that you know I train clients for at least thirty-two hours a week, take another hour to schedule clients, brainstorm and design periodized, safe and effective programs, and go out of my way to hold them accountable when they need it, I work a full time job myself. So what? Just because I work at a gym doesn’t mean I may not overload myself with clientele, which I find myself doing at times and I need to sneak in a quick, forty-five minute workout. Add in my hobbies, which are more than just hobbies, they’re passions that I treat just like a job. So I put at least one hour aside to play my keyboard, I write for AT LEAST one hour a day, my school consists of at least another hour as well, and during football season you might see me doing a cardio workout while the game is on, especially my Browns.

Hey, the good thing about rooting for the Browns is they give you a lot of steam to blow off while you watch them either find a way to lose a game, which happens a lot but since the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers broke that curse hopefully it rubs off on the Browns but nonetheless the team is still terrible. You have a riches to rags quarterback in Robert Griffin, two running backs who have shown flashes but nothing that tells you they’re All Pro, four rookie receivers, your best receiver still suspended, a converted quarterback in Terrelle Pryor, an aging tight-end and left tackle, an offensive line that is largely unproven, a very, very young front seven minus Paul Kruger who only had two sacks last year, a corner coming back from his most injury riddled season, God knows who their safety’s will be. Another riches to rags in Rahim Moore and there’s a three horse race for the other safety position, an aging punter and a kicker who had four blocked field goals last season…..are we having fun yet? See, this is why Browns fans are much brighter (and probably fitter) than their Pittsburgh Steelers counterparts a couple hours away. The Browns give us a reason to workout and blow off that steam built up after watching three hours of miserable football. Okay, so if you are a Browns fan, you have no excuses. If you root for the other thirty-one teams (oh, what the hell, if you’re a Lions fan, you’re in the same boat as us Browns fans), you have an excuse DURING THE GAME but you should still consider a nice workout IN FAVOR of eating whatever the wife, girlfriend, or good friend that happens to be a female made during the game. Sorry, honey, I have to pump some iron.

So if you’re a Browns fan we already figured out when a good time is to workout during a leisure activity. If your hobby involves fitness, such as biking, mountain climbing, hiking, jogging, whatever the physical activity, you’re also taken care of. Congratulations and go climb a cliff. If you have a celebrity crush and have just watched her in her latest music video, TV show, movie, whatever, you have more motivation than ever to workout to your dream girl as long as the wife doesn’t know. Or your good friend who happens to be female who just grilled you for having pictures of your celebrity crush on your phone who you wouldn’t mind dating if she wasn’t so closed minded about everything and won’t budge on her lifestyle. She works out and all but there are other….uh, things…such as refusing to paint her nails black….anyway, back to the topic. My mother is going to have a heart attack when she reads this one……God forbid my grandmother read this one, I’m going to have a lot of explaining to do. Actually Comeback Kid is going to garner a lot of explaining in due time (thank God the characters are all amalgams of certain peoples. There are dirty jokes galore. Hey, it is what it is!

So, how do we work around both work and leisure? This may be especially difficult if you have a brat of your own you need to take care of and your wife, girlfriend, or whomever you had the little devil child with needs you to take care of the kid for the next few hours. Well, you’re in luck because kids mimic their parents so why not take the kid for a run or something. If they’re too small to walk, just have them watch you work up a serious sweat and hopefully through repetition and routine they just so happen to remember it and mimic it when they can hold themselves up on two feet by grabbing the already annoyed dog who is only trying to get a quick nap in while the kid refuses to leave it alone.

Like to paint electric football players? Paint one player, do a set of push-ups. Paint another player, do a set of push-ups and don’t look down on those of us who would rather play electric football instead of Madden. That game is TOUGH to master. And don’t judge those of us who like to paint our own players (no, I don’t do this, but people who do are artists in their own right). Maybe you do play video games. It won’t hurt you to, um, maybe cut down a bit on that. In fact, any sedentary hobby you may have, such as writing with me, would do you well if you took a small break, did a workout, and then got back to it. Trust me, okay?

So, there you have it. How to workout when you have other recreational commitments to attend to. If you’re already balancing your activities out with a screaming kid (and it’s on you that they’re spoiled beyond belief to the point they’ll demand entitlements in a decade and a half), I also provided a strategy through this rant of a post. Why write in this style? I decided to have fun and be blunt all at the same time in one evening. Hope you learned something, such as using a dream celebrity as motivation behind your wife’s back. You know what, you should have just married a girl who resembled her to a T. Then you wouldn’t have had to settle for anything less (I’m going to get in a lot of trouble for this one from numerous people). Okay, enough with the bridge burning. By the way, Comeback Kid Episode Four will be out this weekend. Good night!

 

 

Fitness and Your Lifestyle

My new Korg keyboard has hundreds of thousands of combinations. My fitness life, however, has infinite. Well, almost everything on this Earth has a finite number of something, but you get my gist. Just how many different workouts can I do? How many different exercises in each different workout? How many workout partners? Again, you get my gist. If not stop reading this article right now and go back to first grade where you belong. Hey, I’m sure we all know people our age who should be in first grade. Put it this way, I love Pokemon, especially the original 150. Gyarados, Dragonite, and Alakazam rank as my top three but am I playing Pokemon Go? If you are and if you’re twenty-five like I am and playing a virtual reality video game, you need to go back to grade school where you belong. I’m a fitness fanatic, personal trainer, writer (amateur), keyboardist (beginner lol), and a self-proclaimed expert at fantasy football and fantasy NASCAR (yes, it does exist). Okay, so my two fantasy football teams went 5-8 and 6-7 last season but I still made the playoffs and had a nice little Cinderella run in the 6-7 league, finishing in third place out of ten teams. I’ll take it given the fact I was 2-5 and 3-7 at one point. My overall record after the playoffs? 8-8. And again, that’s a down year. Usually I’m like 8-5 or 9-4 at worst. But hey, you can’t win them all.

So, what was that above paragraph all about? We went from first grade to fitness to job occupation to writing to keyboard playing to, as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie puts it…..we’re talking about fantasy football? If you want to know why America is in such a crisis, just pull that video up on youtube and it’ll tell you all you need to know. Actually, given the fact that most Americans are force fed by the media that they must choose between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as their 45th President should reveal the massive problems facing the country. Just as a side note, a man named Gary Johnson is running under the Libertarian ticket so I highly encourage you to broaden your scope of the 2016 Presidential Election and research all of the nominees running for election this fall. Just google Gary Johnson! Thank you and yes, you’re welcome. Why am I welcoming you? Because you just found out through me that your crazy political driven friend is not freaking crazy when he or she mentions a third party to you. S/he is actually much brighter than you are because they are actually looking at ALL of the candidates. Again, go back to first grade and find a job so you aren’t trying to catch Charizard all day.

I have a lot of hobbies and what’s funny is that I live a fitness lifestyle and I take it very, very seriously. The best personal trainers on the planet practice what they preach and I vow to do just that. You won’t see me in a bar, drinking, smoking, acting like an idiot in public, or anything that may be detrimental to my lifestyle and occupation. Why? Because for one I have integrity and I really want to lead by example because we typically have three types of leaders: A) those who lead by force and demand respect (never respect them ever), and B) Those who lead by force and demand respect but are so stupid you’re still realizing how they ever obtained a position of power let alone have a full time job with benefits in the first place (shall we begin with the U.S. Congress?). So what about the third type? Leaders who actually lead their given lifestyle and profession by example in hopes that it rubs off on the people around them. See what I’m saying? I like being a Type C.

When it comes to fitness or even sports for that matter, you can’t light two sides of the same candle. If you do you’ll end up like Johnny Manziel. Someone with a lot of talent, potential, and if he stayed straight, is a decent quarterback. There’s only one problem with Manziel. He can’t exorcise his demons! Don’t be like Johnny Manziel. So, if you live a healthy lifestyle, workout daily, eat a clean diet, tell others how to follow your footsteps, then you have a responsibility that goes beyond waking America up to the flawed two-party political system we have today. I’m on a roll with this tonight, aren’t I?

You find hobbies that are beneficial, healthy, and are positive. How hard is it? I have several. Am I a recluse? Of course! But am I smart enough to realize that I can’t light two sides of the same candle that not only are both sides are going to melt, but because both sides are melting the candle is actually going to cease to exist at a faster rate. Terrible. Again, don’t be counterproductive. Encourage a healthy lifestyle at all times. Early in my career, I didn’t do that. I drank, I went out to places I shouldn’t have gone out to. I ate junk in front of people I was telling not to eat the kind of  food I was eating at that time. Not anymore. Never anymore. I haven’t drank since October, 2014. Do I eat cheat meals? Only if they fit into my daily macros so if I want that pizza, it better fit into my macros. If I want Subway, it better fit into my macros. If I want a box of cookies, it better fit into my macros.

What are my hobbies? I love watching sports in the comfort of my home while doing a HIT workout DURING the game. I like to write, hence this blog. I like to read and research different things. I like my new Korg Krome keyboard. I like music and these days I listen to it almost nonstop, especially Nightwish. If you’re still googling, google Nightwish next. Best metal band that ever existed. Oh, and of course, I like small government in all aspects and I get a little passionate about that on my facebook. Not my fanpage, my personal page.

If you haven’t done so yet, I bundled Comeback Kid, Episodes Two and Three. They can be found on the post before this one. Take a look at it and give me a shoutout. Like my facebook page at facebook.com/toddmatthewsphysique

Comeback Kid: Episodes Two and Three

 

Episode Two: The Meeting

Uncle Benny always lived in the better parts of Milltown, West Virginia. The houses were all single story with very neat, square lawns perfectly dividing acre after acre. Every yard in the neighborhood was fertilized and not a single lawn pest was seen in any of the yards Brock passed. He pulled out a pack of Pall Mall cigarettes and lit one of them up with his lighter. He walked down the high end  block as he smoked and once he was finished with one, he started on another. In addition to living by far the least productive life, Brock was also the only one out of all of his family who happened to smoke. He smoked at least one half pack of cigarettes per day. Brock’s two favorite pastimes were smoking and video games, both of which he was rather good at and smoking was the one thing at which he could top Lenny, who would never touch a cigarette.

Yep, Brock’s lifestyle as well as his personal style of dress were probably better off being compared to the so-called every man of another time period. He liked to smoke, eat foods that were very unhealthy, such as fast food, boxed food, ice cream, pastries, cakes, and whatever else he could afford that week without breaking his meager budget. It was cheap and Brock was always on a very tight budget. As for his clothes, they were nothing more than faded straight legged jeans that wrapped tightly around his skinny legs. He usually paired this with some kind of overlarge t-shirt or sweatshirt, so baggy they made his legs look even extra small..

Contrast Brock’s lifestyle from Jed who took rather good care of himself, as did Andrea. When Jed was in high school he started getting more and more health conscious and broke into a rather serious fitness regimen. Jed wasn’t crazy into it, but he went at it enough to at least look like he hit the gym five to six days per week while he ate somewhat healthy and boasted a rather defined, muscular body. Andrea was the same way, except she and Jed could not have had different frames. Whereas Jed had a naturally larger build, Andrea was short and petite, a good six inches shorter than Jed and eighty pounds lighter. Much like Belinda, Andrea had a disdain for Brock from day one, also possessing a very low opinion of him and would probably not want her kids to be around Brock too often since she too would be scared that they would follow his ways. At least they would be in South Carolina on a beach somewhere while Brock was stuck up in River Valley pushing carts.

Brock thought back to the day Jed first brought Andrea around. It was the Fourth of July, 2021. Brock was thirty and Jed was twenty-five. She was Jed’s first known girlfriend and it was implied that day they had been seeing each other much longer.. She took kindly to everyone else in attendance, but she barely even took notice of Brock. Jed mentioned Brock’s name in passing and Brock merely glanced up and back down, saying nothing until Ana forced some kind of interaction against Brock’s will. Perhaps it was Brock’s less than warm welcome that turned her off. Or maybe Jed had told her about his brother’s former unrealistic goals that led to a lack of ambition,very dull personality, and outright laziness along with his victim of life mentality. Despite her disgusted attitude toward her brother-in-law, either no one in the family paid attention to this or they simply acted as if it were not a problem. And Brock’s parents surely took no notice of it whatsoever and that meant Brock would have to fend for himself in this avenue as well.

The grudge that Belinda held against Brock really created a strain on the ever so declining relationship between Brock and Lenny, who had once been Brock’s best friend despite their differences throughout the years in high school cliques, styles, and success. However, when Lenny really making a name for himself at Victory Electronics, he and Brock began to grow very, very distant. Brock felt Lenny left him in the dust and Jed soon followed. It was sad, really, how Lenny and Jed became their own dynamic duo in a sense while Brock was shunted somewhere behind them.

Brock strode over to the mill city, a line of old apartments the steel mill workers of the past once lived and also the neighborhoods Milltown was named after. It was getting even cooler out, and as Brock checked the time on his phone, he noted that the current temperature read fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit. Cold for this time of the year. The wind started to whip a little and Brock shivered, hugging himself in an attempt to maintain his current body temperature. That was when Brock first spotted me, standing right there, enjoying the beautiful scene of the distant treetops of summer fading into fall. It looked like a classic New England scene that I always felt God wasn’t too fond of due to the old pagan rhetoric it implied yet I always found to be amazing and breathtaking. It just goes to show only God has the ability to master the art of perfection, and he does so very well. If I could only be half the individual He is, then I will be okay with that.

Brock stopped dead in his tracks as if he thought I was some kind of criminal getting ready to make Brock my next victim but due to my Sherlock Holmes kind of attire, I couldn’t have been too threatening at the moment. I beckoned him forward with a vigorous wave of my hand. Brock looked around and hesitated for a few seconds before very cautiously approaching me.

“Hello, son,” I said, greeting him enthusiastically.

“Hello,” he said in an uncertain voice, still looking around wildly as if mapping out a possible escape route.

“What’s your name?” I asked him, already knowing the answer to this question.

“Brock Patrick,” he replied, putting his cigarette out.

“You don’t say much, do you, Brock Patrick,” I said lightly, trying to break the awkwardness in him.

“Uh,” said Brock, looking at me uneasily.

“Don’t worry, boy, I’m not a mugger!” I said kindly. “Tell me about yourself.”

Brock spent the next fifteen minutes telling me about who he was, why he was walking the streets at this time of early dusk, and what was going on inside his Uncle Benny’s house.

“I just had to, you know, get out of there for a bit,” he said, checking his phone again. “But it’s getting late, I should really get going.”

He turned to walk away but I called him back.

“Brock, wait!” I yelled, catching up to him, realizing it was he God wished for me to work with. Why God likes to do things by vaguely hinting me without telling me is something I’ll never know but as creator of billions of galaxies and seventeen dimensions, I can see why He doesn’t have much time to talk since His favorite hobby after saving souls is continually expanding His ninety billion light year creation. Keep in mind it only took a little over six thousand years or so to create almost one hundred billion light years of only He knows what. Kind of impressive.

Brock turned around quickly. “What?” he called back.

“Brock, what if I told you I have something to give you?” I asked.

“What’s that, an early Christmas present?” he asked sarcastically, crossing his arms and looking tentative.

“In a manner of speaking. What do you want more than anything?” I asked. “Trust me, I can make the unthinkable happen for you.”

“What do I want more than anything?” he asked, astounded. “What are you, some kind of magician?

“No,” I assured him, laughing a little at that accusation. “Just tell me and I will make sure you get it.”

“Oh I don’t know, what about a second chance at life,” he said, sarcasm still deeply etched in his voice.. “I obviously blew this life out of the water. Why can’t I just start over? I must’ve messed up somewhere between middle school and tonight. But hey, what are the odds of that ever happening?”

“What if I told you that you could start over?” I asked, putting him on the spot.

“Start over?” he inquired, shaking his head quickly. “What are you talking about? I wasn’t being serious, you know. That would be impossible.”

“Why not start over?” I asked. “Where do you think you went wrong with life?”

“Where do I think I went wrong?” he retorted, his voice rising dramatically as he lit another cigarette. “Wow, I don’t know, maybe at every little turn in my worthless life! Anything I’ve ever done must have been wrong. I was never anything. Always a nobody. I was always that guy who finished last or close to last in everything. I never stood out or impressed anyone. I’m thirty-five and I’ve never even had a single girlfriend, full time, good paying job, or a car that is at least somewhat recent! My brother is married and very successful as is my favorite cousin. Well, not so favorite now, but you get my gist. And I have a few others who are well on their way to the big time as well! How do you think I feel?”

“Why do you think you’re worthless?” I asked in a calm voice.

“Again, I make less money than anyone I know, I have a car that’s almost as old as I am, I live in my parent’s basement, I don’t do anything but lay around and play games all day and night, and I have no friends to hang out with! Do you need to know more?” he ranted, throwing his arms up.

“That’s sad,” I said, nodding. “Because if you allow yourself to do it all over, you might be able to change your past a bit.”

“You’re crazy, that’s impossible,” said Brock, turning away a second time.

“Nothing’s impossible,” I replied. “Just sleep on it. The Christmas season is fast approaching. We all deserve a mind blowing gift. Of course, it may never be guaranteed money or personal material will make you happy. Even if you have those, you will need something else that will.”

“A good looking girlfriend or wife?” he inquired. “Or a real career? Something to, I don’t know, be proudof?”

I shook my head.

“You, Brock, actually have a very bright mind that will understand exactly what I am talking about,” I replied. “Just do something for me tonight and believe you can move mountains.”

Brock gave me a look and started walking back to where he came from, finishing his third cigarette in a span of twenty minutes. It was nearing eight by now and in about an hour or so he and his parents to go home, sleep, and celebrate their day off in about twelve hours time. Well, they would be celebrating.Brock would be sulking on how another year was flying by with no success or happiness in life. It was another year, one with events, one with a few different people, but the same sorry Brock still lingered.

As Brock strode back he thought harder and harder about how miserable he really was. He was thirty-five years old and still lived at home, but that was the least of the problems. His parents still treated him like a pesky child every time he was forced to go to these stupid parties with them. It was actually worse when they had people at the house, where he had no escape unless he happened to be working. It was during these times he tried like none other to get work hours so he didn’t have to deal with his grandparents and other family. Since all of his immediate cousins were elsewhere, he was very often the only one his age in attendance. To make matters worse, everyone else was giving his parents frequent updates on what the others were doing these days and how each and every one of them were doing so very well in their chosen line of work. Brock’s parents would then boast on how well Jed was doing in South Carolina and how proud they were of him. Usually Brock did his best to isolate himself from these conversations, because they only upset him, especially when he was asked how his shameful occupation was going. Yet his parents, overly strict as usual in these settings insisted that he’d be social and stay around people so he had no choice but to stick it out and be miserable for three to six long hours.

Brock had no one else, which was even more depressing. Jed and Lenny were his two companions during his childhood but they were both grown up and doing their own thing these days and it was only Brock who lived in the past. He never had a girlfriend in his life, and was sure he had set a world record to be single for thirty-five years. What did he have to offer? Nothing but pain and misery, just like everyone his age he worked with, complaining about being a victim of life and that they would never, ever move up at Lucks as long as the place was in operation. Okay, so maybe a girl in his league would be one of the deli girls who had been there for a substantial time, such as Mindy.

Mindy was a short, squat thirty-one year old who had taken a liking to Brock since she started at Lucks about seven years ago. She was much like him. She still lived at home with mom and dad, made about nine dollars an hour working twenty-five to thirty hour weeks, was an avid gamer and loved every second of it. Brock did talk to her during breaks quite frequently and the two would exchange texts to update each other on their online journeys. Despite this, Brock could not bear to bring a girl like this home, especially if Jed or Lenny were in town with their families. Mindy did not come even close to Andrea or Belinda in anything and all Mindy would do is reinforce Brock’s embarrassment in front of everyone. And worse yet, she would probably reinforce this in a proud manner. Speaking of comparisons, comparing Mindy to Savannah was no different than comparing a Yugo to a Porsche, at least in the eyes of society.

He did own a car, but he bought it about thirteen years ago and today the car had over two hundred thousand miles on it. It routinely broke down and there were more than a few instances where Brock either forgot to change the oil or had simply blown it off, which resulted in a long lecture from Jay every time it happened. Not just that, repairs would often cost Brock a solid paycheck.

Brock finally made it back to Uncle Ben’s, somehow even angrier now than he was when he started this little walk to relieve his stress. If someone said the wrong thing to him, he’d wreck this party just like he did a few years back and spoil the summer’s grand finale for everyone. At least he would have succeeded in something.

“Did you cool off, Brock?” asked his grandmother, now sitting down with a few distant relatives on the couch on the back porch as he re-entered the house.

“Mmm-hmm,” he replied dully without looking at anyone, trying to weave his way through the thirty plus relatives in the small area. He felt their stares on his back and he just wanted to get back to the kitchen, which appeared to be rather empty.

It looked as if the entire party was now outside, including his parents. But he had little time to dwell on this issue as Ana started on him once again.

“Where did you go?” she demanded loudly in front of the party. “Got angry at me in front of everyone again, didn’t you?” she added in a smart tone.

It was so ironic how she usually played the role of sympathizer unless people happened to be around. Whatever happened to her in these situations was anyone’s guess. Perhaps it was the sheer embarrassment of having a loser for a son in front of a family of happy and well off people. All of whom had made a name for themselves in their chosen field.

“Well, I-I, just went for a walk,” he stammered, head down, trying not to look at anyone else.

“Brock, you’ve been smoking, haven’t you,” interrupted Riley loudly, seated in a chair on the left side of his mother. “I smell smoke on you. I can’t believe you engage in such a habit.”

“Yeah, you will only see your health worsen, Brett,” said Savannah knowledgeably beside Lonnie, who nodded feverishly at Brock.

“Yeah, Brock, it’s terrible for you,” agreed Lonnie, without telling Savannah she once again called Brock by the wrong name, which she always did. “Nothing good comes out of it.” For a second Brock just wanted to kick Lonnie both because he had confronted Brock in front of Savannah and Brock had the displeasure of seeing Lonnie claim her to be his. What an arrogant piece of work, thought Brock.

As Brock shot a very nasty glare at Lonnie, there was a murmur amongst the crowd while Belinda leaned over and said something to Jed and Lenny, her eyes on Brock, as if she wanted him to see her criticizing him to others. She then pulled Stanley close to her and whispered something in his ear, probably something derogatory about people like Brock. Brock further confirmed this the way Stanley nodded and then stared at Brock with a smirk and a flash in his eye that so resembled Lenny when he was that age for a few seconds before turning back to his mother, whispering something to her, still smiling feverishly and staring at Brock as if he were trying to provoke him to do something he would regret.

Talk about making a bad situation worse, thought Brock. It’s one thing when they confronted him in front of only the immediate relatives but now the entire party was staring at him, wondering what their slacking nephew, son, grandson, cousin, or in-law was going to do next.

Brock drew a breath and turned not to the kitchen, but instead stepped front and center into the living room as every single eye was now on him.

“You all know what, I’m going now,” he said in a high pitch, with his voice loud enough so he was clearly heard by everyone in the room. As of his means of transportation home was anyone’s guess as he rode to the party with his parents. “You all want to treat me like some seven year old, then please, I hope you’re all taking pleasure into doing so. Just what I expect from a group of arrogant, self important, self righteous people such as yourselves.”

“Brock-” started Ana but his voice drowned hers out after a second or two.

“I think every single one of you are the most self-righteous, barbaric, snobbish group of people I have ever laid eyes on-” raged Brock before being interrupted by his father.

“Brock, shut up!” shouted Jay, leaping to his feet off of his chair near the far end of the porch.

“No!” Brock yelled back, glaring into his father’s eyes while the stunned eyes of every single individual were now gazing on the pair of them, probably expecting to witness once again what had happened here once before as Jed, Lenny, and a few other men in the vicinity stood up, eyeing Brock, an ominous look flashing in their eyes.

“Brock, don’t do it, don’t do it,” warned Jed, giving Brock a very intimidating and piercing look. “You’re going to get manhandled if you do anything. Stop right now.”

“Not another word Brock,” said Lenny, trying to keep his voice calm as the whole porch now sat in silence. “We don’t want to force you out of here. Just sit and chill.”

Yet, Brock decided to continue yelling his thoughts at the top of his lungs. “I honestly can’t stand any of you people! All I’m wishing for right now-”

“Shut up and show respect to your relatives,” screamed Jay, his voice even louder as he rushed past Jed and charged towards his son, grabbing him by the collar of his shirt before Brock even had a chance to react. Even at fifty-nine, his father was still way too quick for the too short, too slow, too weak Brock. Those who stood up stepped forward a moment ago followed closely, ready to retaliate if the struggle turned to Brock’s favor.

Brock struggled as his father dragged him across the porch while Jed and Lenny kept close. Brock heard a few screams from the girls as the group struggled with Brock through the living room while Uncle Ben was now shouting Brock was no longer welcome at the house ever again. Finally, with the help of Lenny and Jed, Jay reached the door, still grabbing the collar of Brock’s t-shirt. They were now a few paces outside while Ana closely, as did Jed.

Now Brock was going to get it. A thirty-five year old man who still can’t figure out which age he should act was now in huge trouble. He was done and to add to the humiliation, the man having his way with Brock was a senior citizen. This goes to show just how physically weak Brock was..

“We’re leaving,” said Jay, voice shaking and continuing to drag Brock to the car while he still struggled but Jed and Lenny now grabbed under Brock’s arms and helped Jay handle a kicking and profanity screaming Brock. “You’ve pulled this once before and now you’re doing it again. JUST WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?”

Jay shook his son as he asked the question over and over again while he, Jed, and Lenny threw brock into the backseat of their relatively new Ford Escalade.

“You’re the most arrogant, ungrateful, inconsiderate self-entitled person I have ever met,” he raged to Brock as he and Ana got in the front seat while Jed and Lenny now started walking back to the house.

“I am not, it’s all of those idiots in that house who keep talking about themselves,” retorted Brock angrily. “That’s arrogance!”

His father started up the car, turned, and eyed Brock dangerously.

“You need to watch that attitude of yours,” said Jay through gritted teeth. “You are an embarrassment, an absolute embarrassment to your mother and I. You’re thirty-five years old and you live downstairs on our couch and you’re not even thankful for that. You don’t help out around the house, you don’t do anything but work part time and play video games, you-”

Brock was now turning his attention towards something else instead of his father’s insults. He was thinking of me, and what I told him just a few short moments ago. He was drowning his father’s words out completely. Okay, if I could do it all over again, I would. I would do anything to do this all over again. This is my lowest of low points. I have lived a loser’s life up to this point in my mom and dad’s basement. What is it? Where did I go wrong? When did I go wrong? Let me do it one more time and make it right, Lord! Please!

Brock and his family got home that night at around nine and Brock went straight to his room, shut the door, and sat with his back against the door for what had to have been hours. It was nearing four in the morning when he finally crawled into bed and went to sleep, hoping that the Labor Day parties over the next few days wouldn’t be as bad as tonight’s. That’s if he was invited to them.

Episode Three: Back to School

When Brock woke up and put his glasses on he freaked out, believing his once again misplaced his very unfashionable frames as he looked at the pair in his hands, which were much smaller, wire rimmed, and much more fashionable. Eyebrows narrowing, he slowly put them on. He could see out of them perfectly. Uh, okay, weird, he thought, as he climbed out of his bed and began his search for his large glasses. He could not find them anywhere.

Sunlight was pouring into the room and Brock was now panicking that he was going to be late for work once again as he knew he already had two strikes against him in the last two weeks. One more and he may face yet another termination from Lucks.

Brock looked down at what he was wearing and it wasn’t the clothes from last night as he had fallen asleep in them. Instead it was a pair of shorts and a tee. Believing he had simply changed his clothes without knowing overnight and shaking his head, he heard someone walking to the door. Great, he thought, knowing it was Jay striding over, ready to bombard Brock for last night’s events and potentially on how late he was going to be for his seven to three work shift. Hadn’t he been humiliated enough?

But instead it was a much lighter rasp. Ana was tapping on his bedroom door, calling for him to wake up so he could catch the bus.

“What is she talking about?” Brock wondered out loud. “What bus?”

“Let’s go, Brock!” she yelled. “Come on, you only have a week left in the eighth grade! Let’s get moving! And bring your grades up these last two weeks!”

What was she talking about? It’s Labor Day, 2026, not eighth grade! Was his mother being delusional from last night? Brock peered through the blinds and looked out the window, expecting to see an old Cavalier, an Escalade, a Dodge Ram, and one of Jay’s dealership cars. When he did this, he gasped, looked away, and looked back over again.

“What?” he asked, not believing what he was seeing.

First off, the leaves were on the trees, which were as healthy as could be as if it were the middle of spring and not late summer. And in the driveway was a silver Ford Taurus, a black Chevy Monte Carlo, and a white Ford Ranger. All of these vehicles were from when Brock was in Edwin Middle School.

Brock took off his glasses and really studied them, thinking there was no way, but he was wrong. They were the same ones he wore from 2003 to 2005. He had not the slightest idea of what was going on. Then he heard the doorknob turn, with his mother entering.

“Oh good, you’re finally getting up,” she said. “I was going to pull you out of bed if I had to.”

Ana looked at least twenty years younger. Brock was praying she didn’t notice the dumbfounded look on his face, but he was wrong.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

“Yeah,” he replied, thinking of something to justify his body language. “Insomnia last night, that’s all. I’m coming out.”

When he looked down at the carpet in his room, he saw it was white, just as it once was before it had been changed to an elegant shade of brown. He walked down the hallway and he felt as if he had stepped back in time. Everything looked just like it did about twenty years ago. Brock knew one thing; he was in the past. He was back in 2005. May, 2005.

“I’ve never seen you sit down and watch the news before,” said Ana.

“Yeah, just something different, I guess,” he shrugged. He knew he would worry her if he started asking weird questions, so he had to figure this one out on his own.

As he watched, he found out that it was May 13th, 2005. Brock was in the eighth grade…..again. It was then that he remembered last night, and then he remembered the conversation he had with me.

“Who was that guy?” he whispered to himself. “Or…what was he?”

Brock now knew how honest I really was and that it was now up to me to help him avoid the mistake he made on this day during his original timeline. Well, now he was being offered the chance of a lifetime and that was to experience his life all over again.

Brock dressed and went outside just as the sun was starting to show itself in the east and waited for the bus to take him to Thomas High School, where he would then transfer to Edwin Middle School where he and his friends had just days to go until they moved on to Thomas High. Brock couldn’t believe he was back here, in 2005. It was at this moment he knew he was going to repeat the last twenty-one years of his life.

“Okay, Brock, that random guy you met last night wasn’t playing around,” he muttered to himself. “Let’s do this right this time. But how do I do it right?”

He boarded the bus and set off for the high school, stopping at various neighborhoods way out in the country. The bus route was just as Brock remembered it. First, it was Luther Drive and after that they took off past the baseball fields where Brock and many others played their little league baseball to an isolated neighborhood on a back road. Then, they went into a valley on a dirt road that was surrounded by woods and out onto a township road that was situated far out in the country. They went back into more isolated country roads until they finally reached the main road, a State Route and set off for the high school.

Wow, this is weird, he kept thinking, my mind knows how to drive, but I can’t legally do so. I’m craving cigarettes, but I doubt smoking will do me well at this point. I still have no motivation to do school work, but maybe I should buckle down? Brock’s mind was going crazy.

But why May thirteenth, though? He kept wondering why I not only took him back to the tail end of his middle school days, but what was significant about starting this journey at this date? Brock racked his brains and couldn’t figure it out, although he would remember why very, very soon, towards the end of the day.

Brock went about his day and I kept a close watch on him the entire time disguised as a janitor but I only needed to appear to him once, when the announcement came for those interested in playing football for the 2005 season.

“May I have your attention please,” began the secretary, Mrs. Wood. “Anyone in the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade interested in signing up for football for both Edwin Middle School and Thomas High School please report to the auditorium.”

Brock, who was sitting in Language Arts class at the time looked up and saw about six boys, all athletes, get up and make their way down to the auditorium. Brock looked over at his English teacher, Mr. James, a muscular teacher who was a high school football assistant coach, looking on at the boys in the class as they exited through the door. Without saying anything and pretending he was not going to be seen, Brock stood up and turned to leave the classroom.

“Brock, don’t go down there and embarrass yourself,” said David, who sat next to Brock in the class. David was that one kid who for Brock acted sometimes a friend, and other times not so much.

With a mere glance at David, Brock nodded and left the room, though he wasn’t really sure what he was doing. He had the strangest feeling that he had done this once before, but it didn’t turn out too well.

Brock wanted to get into that auditorium and sign up just like all the other athletes. The only problem was, Brock was no athlete, and much of the school had known it at this point. Sure, Brock loved watching sports, but playing them in an organized manner was something else. For one, he was terrible at anything he ever played. Furthermore, any sport he had gone out for at Edwin Middle School he either never played in the game or gave up after a practice. Worse yet, many of those same people heading down to the auditorium went out of their way to make him remember it, as if they wished nothing more for wannabe Brock other than to keep him at the bottom of the food chain in the Edwin Middle School jockocracy.

So Brock walked out of the seventh and eighth grade wing, made a right, and took off down the main hallway that led to the cafeteria, gym, and auditorium. He still didn’t know whether or not he wanted to show his face in there and when he reached the back of the line he knew he had made a mistake as he felt as if every single soul down here had their eyes glued on him.

Coach Hawthorne, the middle school football coach was the one handing out the forms to the prospective players. Hawthorne’s crazy tough practices were the reason Brock never made it into a game. Brock was so deconditioned it was laughable and even in the seventh grade reserve games, Brock only made it in for a play or two at best. This was honestly why he did not go out for football in the eighth grade despite Lenny’s insistence to Brock that he at least try again. Brock turned and started edging away as if he planned on bailing on this little outing when I appeared again, dressed as a janitor.

“What’s up, Brock?” I asked brightly.

“What are you doing here?” he hissed, clearly unsure whether or not he was happy to see me.

“I’m making sure you do what you’re supposed to this time,” I said, crossing my arms.

“Which is?” he asked, glancing back to the line of students as if he thought they were eavesdropping on our conversation.

“What did you come down here for?” I shot back, immediately putting him on the spot.

“I, uh, thought about going out for football, but now I’m having second thoughts,” he admitted.

“Yeah, you are,” I said. “What was your first instinct when coming down here?”

“To sign up to play football,” he said.

“Then go sign up,” I said. “Go on, you have to do this. Do not repeat what you did in the past. You remember what happened, right?”

Brock sighed and looked at the line, which was starting to thin out.

“Go, now, quickly,” I urged. “Before Mr. James makes his way down here.”

Brock had a look of realization on his face as if he now had the flashback fully in his mind and instead of walking away, he drew himself to full height. “Okay then,” he said, turning and walking up to Mr. Hawthorne.

“Here you are, Brock,” said Hawthorne, handing him his forms. “Great to see you down here.”

Brock had a confused look on his face as he took his seat by himself somewhere near the back of the auditorium. As Brock took his seat behind self-proclaimed preps and star wide receiver of the Edwin Middle School team, Andy, turned to look at who sat a few rows behind them.

“Brock, you’re here?” he asked, but his voice didn’t have any sarcasm in it. On the contrary, he sounded shocked, yet impressed. “I like it!”

Brock said nothing but nodded in an uncertain manner but before he could look away Andy spoke up again.

“Come on up here with us, we have a few more seats that need filled up,” he said, using his head to direct Brock. “You’re an eighth grader too. We’re kicking the sixth and seventh graders out of our seats.”

Brock stood up and strode over, sitting between Andy and the star running back and linebacker for the middle school team, Mike Marcos.

“What up, Brock?” greeted Marcos, giving Brock a fistbump.

Brock could hardly believe what was going on and when he turned to look at me, I gave him a brief thumbs up and walked out of the auditorium. My work was done for today.

The Thomas High School Football Coach, Greg Lawrence, went over the policies and procedures about being part of the football team and what it meant to be a Thomas High Bearcat. He said that he expected effort, drive, and a positive attitude each and every day. He couldn’t guarantee that each of them would have a perfect season, but he could guarantee that they would be better players by season’s end if they gave full effort all season long.

 

What Brock just did was not part of the original timeline of events. What he did today, however, just set the stage for the rest of my entry. He did not know it, but going out for football in the year 2005 was the single most important decision he had ever made. Now he was on the right path to live the rest of his life as a winner and not what he was in the original timeline. Do not think for a single second, however, that Brock did not experience pitfalls in this new life. No, he was still human and still prone to error, and even the most successful people have that one chapter in their life they will never read aloud. He will still experience setbacks, some major, some minor, just like any mortal human being would. But, he was at least onto something where he would finish far above than where he started.

Before I go any further and reveal what happens to Brock in his new life, I want to revert back to Brock’s original timeline because in order to understand and appreciate his new life, it’s important to explore what made Brock who he is in present day and to avoid some of the pitfalls he fell into during his old life. Be prepared, as the next few chapters are going to be very painful to read but a lot can be learned.

 

Crunch Time!

Okay, so tell me if you fall into one of the following categories:

Category A: I don’t have enough time to workout five to six days a week!

Category B: I’d like to workout, but I can’t afford a gym membership much less a trainer at this point.

Category C: I want to workout in a gym and with a trainer but I’ll wait until I’m in shape first.

Category D: I want to workout but my spouse and kids won’t support me in a lifestyle change.

Do you fall into one of the above categories? Who falls into two? Into three or more? Just as the title says, it is now crunch time! Why? Because you, like many Americans, probably made something in January called a New Year’s Resolution. Remember that? The whole ‘new year, new you’ thing that you stated in January that you tried and failed for the last five years of your life because something came up, you were too busy with work, you got pregnant, you got your spouse pregnant, you landed your eighty hour a week dream job, you got too busy once the weather broke (I love you, winter), or before I list yet another excuse that involves kids not wanting to eat healthy food and sit around and watch TV all day, you simply gave up. Yeah, I’m a motivational trainer but I’m also an honest one. You gave up. I don’t care what excuse you had or who needed you where at any given time you gave up. If you have exercise equipment at home and you failed to utilize that equipment for the past six and a half months you gave up.

Okay, onto the good news! It doesn’t have to be this way. Hey, you can work a sixty hour work week, sleep for eight hours a night, raise two or more young kids that are involved in several different activities each and you will still find time to get a good workout in and I’m not talking about the old 50 push-ups, 50 crunches, and 50 body weight squats upon waking up and before bed, I’m talking about an actual workout plan that will fit nicely into your work schedule. Granted, you might need to get yourself out of bed forty-five minutes earlier than you’d like or go to bed forty-five minutes later than your body is used to but hey, isn’t that quite an accomplishment since we live in the most sedentary, obese country on God’s green Earth?

Okay, so you made the commitment to wake up forty-five minutes earlier than you used to or you decided to go to bed forty-five minutes after, depending on your preference. And yes, I made the decision for you because when it comes to dreams you can go to sleep and continue to dream or make those dreams a reality by catching them in the physical world. And if you think I’m being weird with the term physical world I am a big believer in spirits of our ancestors watching over us but that’s for another post. And why do I keep repeating forty-five minutes, is that some kind of magic number? Uh, yes, it is actually. Forty-five minutes of your day is all you need. Oh, what, you just now found out you don’t need two hours at the gym? That’s a fact, and anyone who works out for two straight hours at one team is either not using their time efficiently, they have no life, or they flat out have no idea how to workout if they need two straight hours a day! Sure, we trainers can do this just fine because WE LIVE IN A GYM! But in all honesty I still wouldn’t even recommend it for a trainer to do this because we need to, I don’t know, make a living like the rest of humankind. It is a full time gig for me.

Okay, so we got the no time to workout part out of the way, so what do we do now? Can’t afford a gym membership? Okay, it looks like we need to free up some cash. You know that pizza you and your family order twice a week? Or what about eating out at your favorite restaurant every Saturday night and going out for drinks and shots every Friday night? Sound like you? Cut that in half, see what happens. Do you gamble often? Cut that in half. Like to go to forty plus sporting events per year? Cut that in half. Buying a luxury vehicle when you probably shouldn’t be? Go mainstream. Going on multiple vacations this year? Just go on one. Buying healthy food for yourself and junk for everyone else?  Stop doing that. Are we having fun yet? You can afford a gym membership. Heck, you can probably pay a trainer to kick your rear end at least twice a week for the amount of money you’re saving. Isn’t it amazing what a little bit of self control can bring?

You want to workout in a gym setting but you think you’re too out of shape? Okay, um, come again? You’re too out of shape to get in shape in a place that is designed to get you in shape. That’s what you’re saying. So how can you get in shape if you think you’re too out of shape to get in shape in a place that is designed to get you in shape? You’re setting yourself up for failure. Don’t you love my bluntness tonight? Man, I’m on a roll! So why are you setting yourself up for failure? Well, a gym membership alone is something you pay for and since you’re paying for it you better use it. In fact, the more you invest on a gym membership the more value you’ll find in it. So stay away from gyms that charge you only ten dollars a month. You won’t value that. Gyms that charge a bit more will probably be much better for you because, well, you’re actually putting a higher value on it. You never thought of it that way, did you? Aren’t I good? I’m impressing myself, I can assure you. But it’s true, gyms that charge less money EXPECT their members to put ZERO value on it.

If that gym offers free training it means you’re going through the same program as everyone else and the trainer probably bought a certification from a diploma mill on the internet. If you trainer isn’t certified through ISSA, ACE, NASM, ACSM, or NSCA fire them right now. There are actually a few more accredited organizations out there but these are the Big Five and I can personally attest on ISSA’s behalf because I’m certified through them and half of their exam consists of borderline research papers, it’s like a college class. Does the gym offer individualized personal training? If so, it’s probably going to cost more but do you want to change your lifestyle or not? This doesn’t cost you another dime more. You’re simply buying into something that is going to benefit you and you’re going to stop investing in bad habits such as binge drinking every Friday and Saturday night. Oh, your friends don’t like it? Get a new group of friends.

That last sentence leads me to Category D. So, the spouse, family, kids, and even your dog won’t support you in this. Wow, looks like you really do need some new friends. Look no further than the gym you just joined. There should be at least five hundred members in there. Pick a few and then go from there. Guys, this is EASY! It’s easy. Easy, easy, easy, easy, how many times do I need to say it? Easy! Make new friends, garner a support system. Hire a trainer, become friends with the staff. Do this for you! It’s time you’ve done something for yourself and stop worrying about what others are doing. It’s time you do this for you.

Okay, so that concludes another MatthewFit post. And if you’re wondering, Comeback Kid, Episodes Two AND Three will be released tomorrow at around this time. Stay tuned. Let’s see that pivotal point in Brock Patrick’s life that set him on one of two paths in his quest to find glory.

 

 

The True Competition

Fitness competitions have been around since someone decided to race their friends way back in the ancient days of Athens if not later than that. Since then, a wide variety of competitions have been made up, each one slightly different from the other. Today we see competition in every aspect of fitness, be it a race, physique, strength, power lifting, endurance, team sport, or something in between, competition is running amok in our industry. As someone who believes in an all of the above method on anything and everything, I see this as something good. I’m big on recognition being given only to a winner or at least a panel of a top three, top five, or top ten. In other words, I’m probably a liberal’s worst nightmare when it comes to their “everybody wins” mentality. No, in competition there are only a few winners and only one true winner. This is the same thing as in the game of life. There are winners and losers in life. However, I can’t agree more that there may be a multitude of winners in what I call a true competition, and that is you versus you.

In true competition, you’re competing against yourself. Doesn’t sound fun, satisfying, or goal accomplishing? Why not? See, the funny thing about life and fitness is that the actual competition taking place is you against yourself. So you may not ever win a 5k. But you still win if you can cut your one mile personal record from ten minutes to eight minutes. In a 5k, you went from roughly 33 minutes to roughly 25 minutes in one year, an eight minute increase. You may enter a physique competition and take 15th out of 20. But if your waist is smaller, your body fat is lower, and you are ten pounds heavier at the same time, you will have dominated your previous self. In both instances, you did win because you’re much better off in 2016 than you were in 2015. Keep in mind that competitions such as these listed above also depends on who decides to show up. I did a show in 2014 and took 5th out of 12. I did the same show in 2015 but took 7th out of 12. I finished two spots lower but I actually won because my 2015 version was bigger, fuller, and better conditioned than my 2014 version. Again, it all depends on who decides to show up and in the case of physique sports, what the judging panel is looking for. Sometimes the best physique doesn’t win, but the best presentation wins. Keep these things in mind.

If you want to truly better yourself, then you need to stop worrying about what the competition is going to look like. Instead, you need to look at your own competition because you can’t win a competition and be satisfied with yourself if you are worse off than you were the year before. That just meant you won in a weak competition. For me, I’d rather take 15th out of 15 in a show of strong competitors and look better than my previous self than take 1st of 15 in a show full of weak competitors who may have no business being onstage. Again, there is no way I could look at myself in the mirror and say “job well done” when I know full well that although I may have won, I was nowhere near my best. It only defeats the purpose.

You need to realize that you must be better off each and every year, to keep moving forward and progress, not regress. I don’t care if you’re in your fifties, if you’re still going strong then not only will you be better off than you were in your twenties, you SHOULD be better off than you were in your twenties. I see people in their forties, fifties, and even their sixties in the gym all the time working harder and looking better than people less than half their age. Age is only a number, it only tells you how long you’ve been a resident of planet Earth and nothing else. Anyone still thinking differently is either ignorant, stupid, in self-denial, or delirious. I see this theory being proven right every single day I go to work. I once had a friend tell me that after a trip to the beach they went into a gym and saw people twenty years older than them looking larger and leaner. Age is a number and a number only.

With that being said, the true competition is you versus you. Either you progress and are better off than you were the previous year, the previous five years, or the previous two decades, or you don’t. This is what I live by every single day. I’m 25 years old, which means I’m halfway to 50, but as long as I’m fortunate enough to make it to 50 I will be sure to be in twice as good of shape then as I am now. Why twice as good? Because I’ll be double my age.