What would you pay for greatness?
Reaching the top 1% of any activity always comes at a price. Typically the biggest cost is time and quality of life, at least temporarily.
At school straight A’s and maintaining a 4.0 GPA will cost you free time and attending a few keg parties.
In business, entrepreneurs talk about getting up at 3 am (or staying up til 3 am) to work on their passion projects and then putting in a 10-hour workday at their “real” jobs. This also costs them time, not to mention sleep.
The good news is there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Suck it up for 2, 3, or 10 years and you’ll be a doctor or lawyer or sell your start-up for 5 million. Then the good times begin. At least that’s the sales pitch.
It’s not that way in athletics. Just ask any former football player whose knee isn’t the same after too may ACL surgeries. Or a former hockey player that can’t remember how to drive home after one too many concussions. For them, the rest of their lives is effected – hopefully they’ve at least made it to the pros to reap some financial benefit.
In Elite level powerlifting it’s far more severe. Leaving the sport just with fused discs or jacked-up knees is getting off easy. Try dozens of injuries and multiple surgeries.
Then there are the other demons. The ones you don’t read about in magazines or on your favorite inspirational strength blog. Complications from steroids abuse. Marital problems and debilitating depression.
And pills – decades of pain pills long after the lifter has left the monolift for the last time.
These men fight their demons quietly, and often alone. There are no “after powerlifting” support groups, no league-mandated therapy, and no union fighting on their behalf for compensation.
They’re beaten up and broken down, left to pick up the pieces on their own. Yet none of them complain. For it’s the price they pay for being the strongest in the world.
Price of the Platform was eye opening to research and at times hard to write. The stories ranged from inspiring to depressing to downright scary.
But at the heart was the undeniable spirit of what trying to be the strongest in the world is all about – hard work, sacrifice, and no fear. Ever.
If you are a powerlifter or bodybuilder or know someone who is, I encourage you to read it.