Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Cathy Chronicles

"The fact is the sweetest dream that labor knows," Robert Frost once wrote. In the past year, my friend Cathy Cox has achieved amazing facts in the sport of powerlifting.

On March 14, 2009, Cathy deadlifted 240 pounds at her first meet, the R.A.W. United South Florida Open in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Her best deadlift before the meet was 215 pounds for three reps after training the deadlift for a few months:

On April 18, Cathy competed at the USAPL Europa Show of Champions in Orlando and deadlifted a new PR (personal record) of 253 pounds:

Cathy qualified for USAPL Raw Nationals in Charlottesville, Virginia at the Europa meet. On July 24 in Charlottesville, she increased her deadlift to 275 pounds:

I wrote about the courageous circumstances behind Cathy's 275 lb. deadlift in this article. She also totaled 540 pounds in Charlottesville. (In a powerlifting meet, a lifter receives three attempts in the squat, bench press, and deadlift. The sum of the best squat, bench, and deadlift attempts is the lifter's total.)

On Saturday, Cathy competed at Eric Talmant's Raw Unity Meet in Tampa. Her goals were to PR her total, deadlift double her body weight, and then deadlift over 300 pounds. Cathy weighed in at 137 pounds and PRed her total on her first deadlift:

Cathy deadlifted over double body weight on her second attempt:

Cathy's best deadlift in training before Raw Unity was a tough 300 pounds:

She selected 303 pounds for her third attempt and crushed it, increasing her PR total to 55 pounds:

"In something that you earn, there's a tremendous pleasure," Rabbi Eli Mansour observes in a lesson on The Path of the Just. Cathy earned everything she achieved on Saturday. She earned it at one of the most prestigious meets in our sport. And she's not finished.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Was Apollo Creed a Jew?

"Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring," King Solomon counsels in Proverbs 27:1. Did Apollo Creed study Proverbs before saying these classic words in Rocky III?

Perhaps more directly to King Solomon's message, powerlifting great Larry Pacifico recounts the mood before 1980's Men's National Powerlifting Championships in Champion of Champions:

"I remember several top lifters sitting around before the contest talking about what they would lift. After 6 or 7 made ambitious predictions someone asked Dave Waddington what he planned on lifting. He said he didn't make predictions but if he did he'd be saying only 'sh*t he could do' and not all this crap he's been hearing. He then got up and left."

Waddington placed second in the super heavyweight class. In 1981, he made history by breaking the 1,000 pound barrier in the squat.

Tommy Didn't Study His Bible

The other day I was studying Proverbs 26:27, where King Solomon observes, "He who digs a pit will fall into it." One of my favorite movies illustrates this wisdom:

"What is it, the first hole I dug?" Tommy says after murdering Spider. Fateful words given how he turned out:

The ArtScroll edition of Proverbs comments:

"R' Saadiah Gaon cites the case of King Darius's officials who were cast into the lion's den into which they had thrown Daniel. Perhaps the most prominent example of a man who 'dug his own grave' is Haman, who was hanged on the very gallows that he had built for Mordechai."

To express this theme in Hebrew, "Midah Keneged Midah" (
Measure for Measure).