Learning humility

One of my favorite quotes is posted on the wall of my old gym. It says “This room is for the weak, that they might grow strong. This room is for the strong, that they might learn humility.” The best thing about weights is that there is no pretense with the iron. You either beat them or they beat you. No middle ground.

When I started lifting, I was the same height that I am now, but I was precisely 40 pounds lighter and I couldn’t even bench 135 one time. Today, I knocked out three reps at 300, (with plenty of help on the last one) and stupidly decided to go for 315. I was feeling good, nice and fired up, and it didn’t do me a bit of good. It might as well have been a mountain on top of my chest, because it wasn’t going anywhere. The trainer helped me put it back, we looked at each other and he laughed. “No way,” he said, and I had choice but to agree.

That’s genuine humility. Knowing your limits and accepting them. I’ve never seen any purpose in the false sort, though. We are what we are. Some are highly intelligent and foolish. Some are stupid and wise with experience. It’s not directly related, but one reason I like Peter King, the sportswriter, is that while he writes about whatever he pleases – I was so happy his daughter went to college so we could stop hearing about her stupid high school softball team – he’s never afraid to admit he’s wrong. Today, he wrote:

“Speaking of mea culpas, I have one. In the Sports Illustrated NFL Preview issue, I was running down the Lions’ recent drafting woes, and I referred to the lack of production Detroit was getting from its top picks like Andre Ware, and I threw Reggie Brown in there as an example of a bust. Brown, of course, was paralyzed in his second NFL season. Why did I do it? Brainlock. Not thinking. Idiocy. All of the above. So I’d like to apologize to the readers who were offended by this. Shoot, I’m offended by it, and I wrote it. My fault.”

“I’m offended by it, and I wrote it.” I think I’ll steal that one and save it against future needs. While I’m quite content with how things turned out with regards to the discussion of the last few weeks, I have a feeling that sooner or later, it will come in handy.