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Miami's Baddest: A Brief History Part 2

The Reality of Being Real:

Shit was starting to get real.. so what? I had no time to sit there and celebrate as the reality of the situation was that we had no idea what we were doing. Yes, I think now in our story we can use the word “we”. What had started as a backyard dream in my head had now spread like wild fire at The Battle Axe Gym. Everyone was on board to help out in any way possible as most of my strongman athletes were going to compete. Power lifters, civilians and recreational lifters alike gathered to be a part of this show. Year one, very similar to year four, went as follows,

“If you are not going to compete, you are going to fucking work” and such is the way of our world. I can tell you now that starting this alone might of been the beginning but trying to finish alone was not. The reality was that I was nervous and as anxious as everyone who was going to be working the show. We would spend endless nights at the gym discussing all sorts of scenarios, mishaps, implement break downs, lane orders, weights etc.

If sleep wasn’t coming to me before, it certainly was not happening now. At the time I was trying to generate business at the gym, keep a roof over our head, train clients, develop an online business and all the while trying to remain a competitive strongman. What most people don’t see is that promoters, and those who work the shows, put life on the back burner as the show starts to get closer. Those of us who actually give a shit will make the world slow down just to make sure a lifter leaves with the proper trophy and a smile on their face. What I have never failed to recognize was that I was not alone here. I could see the real concern on others faces.

I observed their ability to show up early and leave late just to make sure we ran practice drills on loading plates. This may sound a little over the top but it wasn't me, it wasn’t to us. If everyone in the show is held to a high standard of excellence and performance then it would spread like a brush fire. The sense of urgency and the RESPECT for what was being done would surely grow… or at least I told myself this. Im laughing as I write this now because I still chuckle about this except the difference between then and now is that I know I am right and that it’s true, no question. Accountability and respect for one self when putting on a competition is the backbone of a successful event, contemplate on that heavily.

Of course these standards did not come easy. It was not easy to tell your lifters and staff that this was going to be run as tight as a military battle ship. I knew that each one of them was taking time off from work, personal lives and social events just to work in the hot sun for hours on end, with the very real pressure that this may not be a success. I also knew the stigma that being a very strict gym and competition might keep many people from competing, as often competitions are seen as a “good ole time” only and not as a chance to better yourself in all aspects of life. What I can tell you with assurance is that I did not give a fuck, none of us did. What we had built was worth more than a 100 sign ups or all the media coverage in the world. Here is a good time to chime in with the quintessential whisper “if you build it, they will come” dancing through the tall corn fields of our minds. (Note: if you don’t know what that is from, hurt yourself or use the google..or both)

The Prep before the Storm:

The week before the completion was a blur of emotions except unlike most 80’s movies this was not a montage in fast forward, except a slow waltz of a myriad of emotions and tasks. It was no longer how many flyers I had given out or how many posts had been updated, the time to apply all the hard work was nigh. It was time to get the nuances that go unseen that make the show flow, the grease in the gears if you will. Duct tape, extension chords, fans, chairs, tents, coolers etc.. yes, yes I know, seems kind of silly to call these the grease of the show but trust me, it is. The importance of duct tapes survival abilities goes without saying but when things are going full force not having a pen or printing paper can literally stall the show, causing a lack of professionalism. When you’re on the mic and there is no order sheet because we are out of printing paper, we are missing a stop watch and you are sitting there scratching your ass buying time in front of a 100 people? Yea, shit gets intense really fast.

Loading and getting the logistics for the show was a very real stressor for me. Aside from the scoring, (which is THEE most important thing), having your team of loaders know what is going on and not miss-loading is key. As the day got closer, along came an OG to save the day and to save it for many years to come. My friend Alan had recommended John Davis, who I had known for many years as the man with the plan. He had been present in many state shows and I always recognized him, not only for his true love of the sport but also as the man with clip board. What would later become a true friendship and a bond formed in competition, would start as a true dependency and lesson in implement organization. When I asked John how I could compensate him as far as a hotel, gas money, etc not telling him our funds were already low he simply replied “ I love this sport mike, just save a shirt for me and we are good”. These reactions are a thing of beauty, shit you see in a long lost 80’s movie when people did things out of passion and good will. John was not the only one who would act this way but a man certainly worth mentioning and re-iterating the fact of never forgetting where you came from.

With the details under way the week and flown by. The nuances had kept my mind busy beyond normal work hours. I was practicing speeches in the shower, remembering orders during lifts, making last minute phone calls that made my hands sweat and crossing my fingers everyone that said they would show up would show up. I checked the weather constantly, hoping that by hitting refresh we would maintain a sunny day. Yes, our first competition would be in the parking lot of Crossfit Kendall but the echo we would make would last a life time. We may have been on the burning asphalt for a day but we would walk with the fucking gods.

Miami's Baddest 2017

I began to charge myself up. You see, I did not know those great lines of confidence I just dropped on you above back then. Despite hyping myself up and talking to the man in the mirror haha, i didn't know the level of work we were about to ship out to. The stage was set and the numbers were out in front of me. Before our SBD or National guard sponsorship, before the possibilities of live streams and food trucks, before an indoor show with giant fans and 80 lifters, before Instagram live questions and national charities, before we had street cred and 30 helping hands at 5am, before selling out in 6 weeks and capping a show, before a 150 chairs for spectators and free monster drinks…




Before anything we saw everything…

We had an idea, a dream, a passion and a plan. We had set out to make a mark on this world on what many would see as a sinking ship in the state of Florida. We had taken steps way beyond our comfort zones to work tooth and nail in the hot Miami Sun. The day was here. Saturday April 29th, 2016 had finally arrived and what would come would set the precedence for legacy…

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