Can You Handle The Couth?

TAGS: adolescent behavior, fitness community, Greg Plitt, Alex Azarian, social media, death, internet, Skip Hill, bodybuilding

The internet gets a bad rap sometimes but the internet isn’t the problem; people are the problem. Within the last month or so, both the fitness and bodybuilding communities lost two relatively high-profile people. This is sad enough, but as much as I have come to not be surprised by what people say and how they act on the internet, even I was surprised at what I heard and saw.

The fitness industry was admittedly supportive when it was announced that Greg Plitt lost his life. There were some insensitive comments but by-and-large most people had overwhelmingly positive things to say about him – at least from what I read and the comments that I saw. This actually surprised me given the fact that his untimely death was such an odd situation that was ripe for ridicule if one were so inclined. I think because Greg had been around for so long and influenced so many people in the industry, the large majority of people were incredibly supportive and genuinely upset over the loss of someone that they felt had such a positive impact on the fitness community.

The mainstream? Yeah, not so much. I bitch and complain a lot about how people act in our industry and I am appalled at insensitive and adolescent behavior quite often. However, I didn’t expect to see such negative responses from regular Joes who had no real idea of who the guy was. And it wasn’t only some comments — it was a huge percentage of responses that were insistently nauseating.

Maybe it is resentment that causes some out-of-shape, pig-of-a-guy to make a joke about not taking enough steroids to outrun a train or that the protein drink he was sponsored by apparently wasn’t that good or he would have had enough speed to get out of the way. How much of a piece of shit do you have to be to say something so incredibly insensitive? Clearly, there were (and are) questions about what happened and all of us are just a little curious as to how he got into such a terribly tragic situation. Curiosity is normal; disrespecting someone after such a terrible accident is just incomprehensible. I couldn’t help but think that it cuts to the fact that resentment is king and people really do not like someone else having something that they do not have or, in this case, being in incredible shape and fit when they aren’t. Their answer? Belittle the guy posthumously. Wow.

Crying woman

The bodybuilding community lost a devoted family man within the last month, as well: Alex Azarian. The specifics are not yet known but the fact is, he was far too young and was snatched long before it was his time to go. A pretty big loss to the bodybuilding community but our loss cannot even begin to compare to the loss that his wife and his children are experiencing and will continue to, long after the bodybuilding community begins to move on. Though most of the support was incredibly positive and supportive, the bodybuilding immature didn’t disappoint.

Speculation is a dead man’s memory’s worst nightmare. I am unsure why people feel the need to have to know (as if it is their right) why someone died. When they don’t know the details, they have some bizarre necessity to pacify their own fears by speculating as to why or how someone died. What there is to gain from this is beyond me but it happens all the time. It may well be that a lot of us in the bodybuilding community know the risks we take and assume when someone dies that the answer is incredibly obvious. But is it? I had a sister that died in her sleep at 29 years old. Had that been me, the rumor mill would have had me dead from copious amounts of steroids. Instead of speculating as to why someone has unexpectedly died, it might be a better idea to be respectful and sensitive to the person that has passed (and the family and friends) and simply offer condolences.

If you want to question how someone died, I won’t agree with it but at least I understand your curiosity. When you go after someone as a father or husband, in a situation like this, you have no integrity or dignity. You can try to argue it but you are truly a piece of shit. Someone’s choices and the risks they might take in life have no bearing on whether someone was a “good man” or “good father” or anything else. If someone chooses to use steroids or if someone chooses to rockclimb or race motorcycles, all involve calculated risks; one is not any worse than the other. To attempt to point out that the risks someone took in their life, that ultimately may have played a part in their death, are somehow indicative of them being a poor father to their children is a lack of tact and a lack of couth and it is inexcusable.

I am no angel but I am unsure how some people are able to look themselves in the mirror every day. The world is full of people that judge and it is nauseating sometimes. Know this: Everyone will remember the guy that lost his footing and was tragically killed after impacting so many people in such a positive way for years – too many people and too many years to count. The guy that was a doting father to his little girls will live in infamy as the perfect father to them in their memories. To the people that matter, their choices as to how they lived their lives were a big part of the person that those people knew. Those choices played into their happiness and their love of life or “quality” of life.

For the shit bags that question those decisions and try to make fun of how they died or their choices, I can only wonder what your quality of life is and how you are looked upon by the people that surround you. I wonder if when you pass, people will note the positive impact you had on them.

Or maybe they will just secretly think, “that guy was a piece of shit." But if they do, they will only think it, they won’t say it. Why? Because they CAN handle the couth.

Just Sayin'.

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