Bodybuilding is not a team sport. You might have a coach, and you might have support from family or friends, but this endeavor is you and only you. If you rely on anyone to support you, keep you motivated, or to even give a shit about what you do, you will find yourself disappointed in the end.
And this is how it should be. If you are looking for a team, play baseball or badminton. Bodybuilding is a selfish sport that is all about you. In fact, it’s the main appeal for most of us.
I played team sports in my younger years. I was in love with baseball (still am), but the team aspect ended up being a turn-off. There was nothing worse than going 2 for 3 at the plate, throwing out two runners attempting to steal, and then losing because some clown in right field dropped an easy pop fly that allowed two runs to score. I had little problem transitioning to bodybuilding where I would live or die based solely on what I knew, how hard I worked, and how smart I was (or wasn’t).
Here’s the kicker, though. As long as I have been training and competing, I have always appreciated the support from my family and my bodybuilding friends. I say “bodybuilding friends” because I have never enjoyed the conversations with non-bodybuilding friends about what I do. They don’t get it, they never will, and I can’t stand when they pretend to understand it. It isn’t that I’m above them; I have never felt that way. It’s that I do something that they will never understand and I don’t want to justify it or try to explain it to them, knowing full well that they can’t possibly understand my connection or passion for it—hell, maybe obsession with it. I don’t spend a lot of time trying to understand my connection to bodybuilding. I don’t care why I enjoy it so much; I just do. Understanding it won’t make me like it any more or any less.
I’m in a tough spot, though. Over the years, I have always had my wife to fall back on. I could talk to her about my frustrations with injuries, if I was having great progress in the gym, my training business, etc. Because she has no interest in training, anymore, she really doesn’t care to hear me talk about it. I don’t mean that shitty, but some of you know the feeling. You are talking about something that is important to you and the other person is trying to be nice by nodding, saying “uh huh” or “right,” and feigning interest. For those of you who understand and have experienced this, if you are like me you just get to the point where you don’t say anything about it. If you do, it’s brief, general, and then you move on, being keenly aware that if you discuss it too long, they will tune you out.
I don’t keep a lot of bodybuilding friends, primarily because I don’t like talking much about bodybuilding. This is what I have done for almost 40 years, and I have made a living doing it for the last 21 years. At times, it’s all consuming or seems that way. I don’t mind this, but when I have time to hang out with friends, I prefer that the conversation is about anything other than bodybuilding. This is great until I have something that I want to discuss with a bodybuilding friend and I look around and have no bodybuilding friends. My fall back? My wife. The reaction? NOT interested. Of course, she would say otherwise, but the reality is that no matter what is said, you know when the other person isn’t interested. Words to the contrary don’t make it so.
I bring this up because I am quite sure that I am not alone. I would imagine there are plenty of you who can relate. I think in my situation, it bothers me more because there were many years that my wife did train, did care, and it was something that interested her. These days, she not only doesn’t want to work out anymore, but she doesn’t care to discuss it, either. I say I have come to grips with it but I haven’t, yet. I am working on it.
Bodybuilding is a selfish sport. I never used to feel this way but I get it now. I think it appears even more selfish to other people. The amount of time invested is substantial and to someone who doesn’t do it, it doesn’t make sense. The bottom line is that if this is my interest, I have to accept that whether I have the support of other people or not, it shouldn’t matter. It never has before but for some reason it bothers me now. I can’t put my finger on why but it just does. This is something I need to get over and go back to this being my own thing. I was there for years when I was younger. I have to find a way to get back there.
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