elitefts™ Sunday Edition 

The “sport” of bodybuilding (or pageant for people like me) already has its stereotypes that, quite frankly, it has earned. To add insult to injury, we now have a relatively new issue to contend with that threatens to make us all look even more narcissistic than the general public already knows we are. I prefer to call it "panhandling" because this is exactly what it is.

Bodybuilding panhandling isn’t done standing out by the road or in front of a store in the cold. It is usually done via the internet because...well, that's the easiest way to do it. If it actually had to be done outside standing for long periods of time, it likely wouldn’t be an issue because many bodybuilders are just plain lazy and wouldn’t do it. While some see the internet as a way to make money legitimately, others see it as a way to get other people to pay for what they aren’t willing to work hard for.

For those who haven’t witnessed it already, bodybuilding panhandling is when a bodybuilding competitor goes on Facebook or Twitter and asks family, friends, and people he doesn't even know to give him money so that he can compete. This is usually to pay for things like supplements, food, show registration, and travel. Sometimes he'll even have a website set up with a PayPal button for you to “donate.” I find that word humorous in this context. Usually, donating is giving of your own free will to a cause or to help someone raise money for someone who is sick or has had some sort of crisis. Clearly, competing in a bodybuilding show doesn't qualify.

This has been happening a lot over the course of the last year or so and it's troubling to me. Pathetic is another word that I feel accurately describes it as well. I'm not an angel, and I have plenty of things I've done that I probably wouldn't want others to know about. At the same time, I would think that people had more dignity and self-respect for themselves than to go on a public forum asking other people for money to pay for them to compete because they can’t pay for it themselves. Honestly, I'm embarrassed for them and embarrassed to be part of a sport that has people in it who think that this is somehow OK. Maybe get a fucking job? Or get a job that actually earns enough money to compete?? A second job, God forbid?? That's what normal people do when they want things that they can’t afford.

Speaking for myself and most other people reading this, most of us work more or save money to get the things we want that we can’t afford. If I wanted a car and couldn’t afford it, I wouldn’t go on Facebook asking friends to donate to me so that I could get a new car. Even if my kids weren't going to eat next week, I wouldn’t go on a public forum asking for money to feed them. I would find a way to make it happen by selling something I had or doing an odd job here or there to get the money. Why? Because I have dignity.

I shake my head at the mentality that someone would do this, and I shake my head even more when they don’t see that it's pathetic. It's even more ridiculous that people actually do give money to the internet panhandlers somehow thinking they're helping this poor bastard “turn pro” one day. Everyone will turn pro. Just ask them. The world certainly needs another broke professional bodybuilder because we don’t have enough of those already...

About a week ago, I got into a discussion about this very thing and the responses were entertaining. I thought almost all the responses were going to be negative and pretty much intolerant of begging for money, but they were split about 50/50. There were numerous responses saying things like “it doesn’t hurt to ask” and “it isn’t any different than being sponsored.” Another response was “would it be any different if they paid for competing and didn’t pay their bills?” WTF? Hell yes, it's different than not paying your bills because you're still responsible for your bills after the show and who the hell pays to compete but doesn’t pay their freakin’ bills? Oh, that’s right—a bodybuilder trying to get his pro card. I forgot.

And it does hurt to ask. It should hurt your pride if you actually have any, and can someone explain to me how being sponsored is the same as panhandling? Sponsorship, until you get to the higher levels of the sport, isn't anything more than free supplements. No one is getting paid and if someone says he is, most times he's lying. Don’t get me going on lying and embellishing in the sport. That's another rant altogether.

If you're going to beg for money on the internet, that's your business, and for those who support it, that's your business as well. However, I will be very vocal about it because you aren’t at all helping to make the sport that most of us love look very good. It's pathetic, lazy, and extremely typical so that part doesn’t surprise me.

I just hope that some of you see what you're doing and decide that getting off your lazy ass and working more will get you the things you want instead of begging for them. Or maybe, just maybe, you could stop pretending you have money that you don’t have and not wear $250 jeans to the club and drive a car that you clearly can’t afford. It really isn’t any different than the panhandler on the street who, after holding a sign all day saying how poor he is, gets into a car and drives home to his cute little house in the 'burbs. Have some dignity.

Just sayin’.