As of just over a week ago, I was not going to attend the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus. I have covered the Arnold Classic for MD for the past ten years, so I was a little bummed I would be missing it. But, as they often do, circumstances changed and I will be needed after all.
It just got me thinking how grateful I am to be doing what I do. Bodybuilding has been a huge part of my life for more than half of it now, and I have worked in the industry since early 1991 on; first with the ESPN American Muscle TV show in the 90's and by the year 2000 as a full-time magazine writer.
My work has taken me to some pretty cool places, but far more important than that; it's allowed me to meet so many incredible people. They are too numerous to name and some have passed on, but they include athletes, trainers, promoters, fellow writers, photographers, and many thousands of fans of the sport. The general public sees us as weird, obsessed narcissists, but the vast majority of people I have known in this industry are kind, loyal, and hard-working; dedicated to their passion.
As a fan myself, it's been my privilege to be in the press pit and often backstage at shows like the Mr. Olympia, Arnold Classic, USA, and Nationals. I've also had the honor of training with a few Mr. O champs such as Ronnie Coleman, Dorian Yates, and Jay Cutler plus many other pro's over the years.
Truth be told, if I wasn't a bodybuilder myself and a fan of the sport; I would have quit writing for the magazines years ago. It's only because I still have that love for the iron, the iron game, and my fellow enthusiasts that I am able to keep writing training articles, profiles, interviews, contest previews, and columns month after month. To date I have published something in the neighborhood of 3-4,000 articles. I've now written close to 2,000 alone for MD since 2001. Can it be repetitive? Sure! But I do relish the challenge of finding new angles and twists to make the same subject interesting again. And since I love training, I can talk about it forever.
Thanks to the magazines and the Internet, I've been able to connect with so many thousands of people. If I've been able to inform, entertain, and occasionally inspire with my writing, that's something I feel blessed to be able to have done. When people contact me to let me know something I wrote helped them make a positive change in their life, it's so very humbling.
This weekend is going to be a lot of work, and it will go by in a flash as every Arnold and Olympia always does. But in those whirlwind few days, I will be among people who understand and appreciate this bodybuilding thing as other never can or will. I will be part of MD's extensive coverage team who brings the event to fans around the world who can't make it to Ohio via live play-by-play, photos, and videos. What an honor that is, especially since it's something that wasn't even dreamt of when I started following this sport in the mid to late 1980's.
You've all heard the phrase, "find something you love to do, and you'll never have to work a day in your life."
What I do is still work of course, but it's also doing what I love. So in that sense, it's not really work at all - more like a labor of love.
See some of you out in Columbus, and talk to you all later!