In this day of Internet domination, we’re inundated with the insane rants of tiny, little men giving their views about what’s legitimate in our sport of powerlifting. These Internet moralists preach to us “sinners” that any squat we do in a meet judged as good by the three judges in the chairs and later reviewed by these Internet judges as high should immediately be turned down by the lifter. He should consider a public apology for trying to perpetrate a fraud by initially accepting such a lift. Of course, when asked if these little men have ever turned down a lift, they usually respond by saying that all of their lifts are good (the fact is half of them have never stepped on a platform), which is how they ascended to Internet judge for all of powerlifting.

I’ve got news for these Internet icons—we don’t care what you think. You see, in every single sport, the athlete is trying to get away with as much as he can. Rules are made to be broken or bent. Fair play and the moral high ground is for suckers who usually find themselves at the bottom looking up. These silly, little men, who have convinced themselves that powerlifting, because it isn’t a “money” sport, falls on the outside of this mentality, are fooling themselves but not the rest of us.

In major league baseball, pitchers try to “paint the corners.” They purposely try to expand the strike zone. The farther they can pitch inside or outside, the better. If they can get away with strikes thrown outside the strike zone, they do it and do it with the enthusiasm of a 13-year-old boy watching porn. In my 45 years on this earth and after watching literally thousands of baseball games, I haven’t witnessed one pitcher ever tell an umpire that his last strike was actually a ball. Not once!! Yet, now we have piss ant computer geeks reviewing lifts on video after a meet and then demanding that lifters turn down lifts that these “experts” view as no good.

What’s even more amazing is that most sports not only look the other way at players trying to get an advantage by bending the rules but actually celebrate it. Gaylord Perry is a hall of fame pitcher whose claim to fame was throwing spitballs. The media and other major leagues applauded and patted him on the back when he was able to get away with his spitballs for twenty years. Compare that to the recent Dave Hoff “shirt incident” at the SPF meet. A video of Hoff’s bench appeared on the Internet, which showed what looked like something stuck under his bench press shirt. No one at the meet saw it, and none of the three, long time and hugely respected judges saw it either. But the Internet detectives saw the video and made their judgment.

Now, I’d like someone to explain to me the difference between getting away with a spitball and getting away with something stuck under your shirt? If Hoff got away with that, why in the world of powerlifting forums is he chastised, lambasted, and lampooned while Perry is viewed as an all-time great and genius?

Today I was watching the NFL network, and they were rating the greatest defensive back tandems in history. The number one tandem was the Oakland Raiders Mike Haynes and Lester Hayes. Hayes, who had a year where he was named defensive player of the year, was known for one thing—using incredible amounts of Stick Um all over his body. Was it breaking the rules? No. Was it bending them? Most definitely. The NFL eventually passed a rule to ban it because of Hayes. The players praised him for his ingenuity for bending the rules to his advantage. Now, compare that to a guy getting a hitched deadlift passed by three judges. The lifter has done nothing but lift. However, the Internet judges feel he has broken the eleventh commandment and should be flogged in the public square. Pretty stark comparison.

In the NBA, the greatest player who has ever lived, Michael Jordan, carried the ball just about every time he drove to the basket. His most memorable shot ever was done with a carry and a push off as he beat the Utah Jazz in the final game in the championship game. This shot is shown over and over and over again. It’s celebrated as being the pinnacle of Jordan’s great career. Other than Jazz fans and players, people celebrate, applaud, and praise it. Compare that to the great Chuck Vogelpohl’s first 1000-lb squat at 220 lbs. Vogelpohl, who spent his entire career burying squats, looked like he got a beneficial call on this attempt. Is he praised for getting one in? Nope. According to the Internet geeks, Chuck is a high squatter and not worthy of praise. Quite a different take on “bending the rules” from sport to sport.

Quite frankly, all athletes are in a constant battle to get away with as much as possible. They have DVDs on ways to improve one’s 40 time not by getting faster but by positioning the body in a way that bends the rules. There are ways to posture yourself at the start of the time, getting off the line by fooling the guys with the clock. There are ways to finish and ways to hold your head. It’s all a gimmick. It’s bending the rules to give yourself an advantage. It’s what sports are about. Swimmers putting on shark skin suits to glide through the water faster, golfers switching to titanium clubs or better balls—it goes on and on. It’s the nature of sports. Why in the blue hell would powerlifting or powerlifters be any different?

Jim Wendler made one of the most profound statements I’ve ever heard. He said—and he may have stolen it from someone else—“if you’re getting more than two white lights, you’re squatting too deep.” That sums up the athletes’ mentality. You get away with as much as you can. You walk that very thin line between bending the rules and breaking them. It’s the very definition of sport—football lineman figuring new ways to hold and still get away with it, baseball hitters standing as close as they can in the batters box, basketball players posting up by committing offensive fouls without getting caught, and powerlifters trying to get lifts passed any way they can.

These Internet judges and moralists expect lifters to not only lift in a meet but to then judge the lifts on video after the meet and pick and choose which lifts were good and which ones weren’t. Then they expect them to either accept or decline those lifts based on the video. Forget the judges. They’re meaningless. What a bunch of stupidity. All athletes in all sports are looking to win period! The old expression “it isn’t cheating if you don’t get caught” applies. Al Davis said it best—“Just win baby. Win if you can, lose if you must but always cheat.” Just remember, cheating is in the eye of the beholder. One man’s definition of cheating is another man’s definition of trying. If you think a lift was given to you, turn it down. Just don’t try to jam your morals or view of fair play down my throat.

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