An Evening with Dennis Lehane



Narrative connects the dots in our otherwise unscripted lives.

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So last Thursday, I had the opportunity to see Dennis Lehane speak at Captial University. Captial is within walking distance and I made a commitment to do some things for myself that were not related to lifting weights.

I am not an avid reader, but three of my favorite movies were written by Lehane: Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, and Shutter Island. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening as Lehane talked for almost 2 hours about his experience in Boston and how it has influenced him in his writing. As always, I look to see what I can take to help coaches, trainers, managers, etc. Here are some things I learned that evening.

Have a Flexible Plan
Lehane had said that (I will paraphrase) What keeps us lying awake at night is the fact that we don't have a plan. We have no idea what's going to happen in the rest of our lives. Fiction is fake. Artistic has the word art, which means fake. Narrative is what connects the dots. It is the story we tell ourselves that we are going to live the rest of our lives by.

We worry about how or major goals and plans are going to work out. None of us have the answers and it worries the shit out of us. Where am I going to find a job? What if my head coach gets fired? what if a kid gets hurt? All of those things we have to prepare like it is 100% up to us. While knowing that we have little control. This is a test of our attitude which is a window to our character. Being able to adapt when you are all the way to plan E because the others didn't work out really determines what coaches survive and who doesn't in our field.

Choose the right leader, not the right followers
When asked about what his opinion was of the casting with the movie Gone Baby Gone, Lehane had said he was very happy. He attribute his appreciate for all of the casting in his movies to the fact that he sells the rights to his books to the director. Selling the Mystic River screenplay to Clint Eastwood assured that the rest of the cast and crew would have the same high standard as the director.

Worrying about how all coaches, all assistant, and all athletes will fall in line to your overall goals is a difficult path to take. Hiring the right assistant and promoting the right player to captain will make your job easier. it would have drove Lehane crazy to try and find an actor for every character in his book. Getting people like Martin Scorsese to buy into his vision ensured that all of that would be taken care of.

Be Insanely Adaptable to the Individual
When the late James Gandolfini was cast as cousin Marv in his latest movie, The Drop, Lehane went back to write specific lines for the Soprano's Star. Lehane knew to adapt the role around the actor while maintaining integrity of the character. this is the same for coaches who adapt their system based on personnel; or adapt their training around the readiness of the athlete. Coaches cannot be married to their own philosophies so much that will hurt their people and products.

The Ego of us vs the Ego of you
There are two types of egos. The goal of the self, which is unacceptable and will lead basically to nowhere, and the ego of the product or the organization. When Lehane was a screenwriter for the series The Wire, he explained how heated and personal their meeting would get within their team. Individuals with Egos would be verbally abused for the simple fact it was unproductive if nothing else. But, the ego of the show was, and should be, a inflated as anyting on TV. That is essential for survival.

Another example would be somewhere like Westside barbell where the gym itself has an unbelievable ego. But, the lifters at WSBB cannot have an ego, or it doesn't work. Individual egos erode the armor of a place built on its reputation. You will never see an all-conference guard with a higher ego than the offensive line. He won't last long. The #1 defense in a certain conference is that way because of and produces, a very large ego. The Legion of Boom will always carry more weight and worry more offensive coordinators and wide-outs than Richard Sherman by himself.

As coaches, we must produce ego within the weightroom, amongst a team, and at our university. Individual egos, even masked as confidence, can interrupt the long journey of gaining championship caliber performance.


70, 75, 80 x 2
70, 75, 80 x 2

Clean & Jerk
60 for 3 set of 3

402 for 5 singles

Log Press

3 x 30s

Clean & Jerk

Worked up to 90 for 3 singles, but missed 2 of them. What happened.

302 for 5

SS Yoke Bar Overhead Press

Feet Elevated Ring Row

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