Just for Laughs – HASA Humor

by Thom Van Vleck

If you have read these newsletters for awhile you have heard me give my buddy Mitch Ridout no end of trouble because he has always been gifted as an athlete, but rarely seriously trains.  He has jokingly told me he is in a “recuperation” phase and has been for several years.  Every time I call, inevitably I ask Mitch if he is working out or still in his recuperation phase.   Well, recently, when I called I found out the Ol’ Mitch-meister has added a whole new dimension to his routine.  He is now in the “Visualization” Phase of his workout.  He told me he is visualizing how he will soon be working out and until he has a clear mental picture he doesn’t want to push himself beyond what he is capable.  Well……I’ve know Mitch for a loooonnnng time, and if he’s waiting for a “clear” mental picture…..we might be in for a wait for his next “phase”.  And by then, he may need to recuperate some more.

CREDIT:  The Braemar Stone Tablet, Volume #7, Issue #1

(Webmasters notes:  Well, I guess the vacation is over.  I hope everyone enjoyed these past exerpts from the Braemar Stone Tablet.   I promise that tomorrow I will get back to business as usual with the USAWA Daily News. But I gotta tell ya – there’s a lot more good stuff in the series of the Braemar Stone Tablet that I could rerun if I need a vacation again!  )

The Anvil Tree

by Al Myers

People often ask Thom where his fascination with anvils began.   It all started with a blow to the head…..

"All right Thom, you just go right ahead! I've warned you enough times about playing under the anvil tree!"

CREDIT:  The Braemar Stone Tablet, Volume #4 Issue #2

HASA Winter Banquet

by Thom Van Vleck

(Webmasters note:  Every year HASA, Heart of America Scottish Athletes, would host a winter banquet where impromptu competitions and awards are given out to the members.  I always enjoy these banquets, and the camaraderie shared between friends.  The best part of the banquet is the “gag gifts”.  We each take turns making fun of each other.  Sorta like a roast.  Today I’m going to share the report from one of the best banquets HASA ever had,  the 2002 Winter HASA Banquet, which was covered in the Braemar Stone Tablet by Thom Van Vleck)

This year we had the HASA awards banquet at the community center.  Steve and Becky were in charge and everyone was asked to bring a carry in dish.   It was more laid back than in the past and I personally enjoyed it.  People could hang out, do whatever they wanted (which for us included pulling out a caber and trying to throw it in a tree).

We again had the “Stone Cold Heavies” contest with a WOB contest.   I had some mugs made up for awards, everyone that entered could get one.  Eleven gus and two gals entered for fun and bragging rights.  The final winners were as follows:

Men: Al Myers first (14 ft), Chad Ullom and Thom Van Vleck second (tie) (12 ft).
Women:  Lori Myers and Leslie Kress first (tie) (12 ft)

I would like to point out that Kevin McAllister beat out his brother Shawn for 10th place when he touched the bar at 10ft with the handle after both cleared 9ft.  Shawn failed to “touch” the bar and in a little known rule, Kevin declared himself the winner by virtue of “touching” the bar.

We had a little impromptu contest where the guys threw the 28 for height. Pretty fun stuff.

As for the awards winners for the year:

Al Myers: Angus Award (top athlete)
Dave Glasgow: Sportsmanship Award
Mike McGhee:  Most Improved Award (and most injured, too)
Scott Campbell:  Best Newcomer

We then handed out “gag” awards and had a blast.  Some notable awards included Dave Henderson’s propeller driven hammer for Steve Scott, who immediately vowed he would throw it “down hill” to pick up extra distance.  Below is a report on another gag award (luckily, the editor of this newsletter has a tremendous sense of humor and is a wonderful person…..Paybacks, Al, Paybacks….)

From Al Myers:

Thom Van Vleck accepting the insulated jockstrap award at the 2002 HASA Banquet, given to him by Al Myers. This gag award was given to Thom because he would always host his fall Highland Games on one of the coldest days of the winter.

I had a great time at the HASA Baquet last weekend.  I finally got my pictures developed and had a good one of Thom accepting his insulated jockstrap award.  I can only guess what he is mumbling to himself as he looks down –

1.  “Hey buddies, we are going to get a warm winter!”
2.  “This jockstrap is furrier than I am!”
3.   “Hey everyone – do you think it could cover this bald spot!”
4.  “I wonder how I am going to get this over my kilt!”
5.  “If I wore this thing backwards, it would be a thong!”

That Al, He’s a funny man…….Paybacks, you hear me Al, Paybacks…..

(Webmasters comment:  So now you know, Thom and my rivalry goes back LOTS of years and he is STILL trying to get the upper hand on me!  Since then I have to add Thom’s comment number 6. )

6.  ” I better wear this when I visit the Dino Gym so I can have some padding for protection for when I run into the Enforcer!”

CREDIT:   The Braemar Stone Tablet, Volume #4, Issue #4

Just for Laughs: Scotty “Caber Killer” Campbell

by Thom Van Vleck

This issue we spotlight a relatively new athlete to HASA:  Scotty “Caber Killer” Campbell. (Scotty elicited these comments recently)

Scotty "The Caber Killer" getting ready to slay another caber. That's me standing there with my hand on the caber and head bowed. I'm PRAYING that the Caber Killer won't turn this nice innocent caber into firewood! (photo credit Al Myers)

I first met Scotty at the Heathen Games (AKA Wakenny Games, Festival of Beltane, and Seamus’s Follies).  It was there I first detected his disdain for the big stick.  In particular when the rest of us were turning their biggest stick with our eyes closed and one hand tied behind our back, I noticed that the Caber Killer first showed his face, much like Bruce Banner turning into the Hulk.  Scotty couldn’t get a turn and he slammed the stick down (at the time I thought it was an accident), and snapped the end.  But now, I know it was the ……CABER KILLER!!!!!!

Liam had these comments in regards to the Backyard Games:

Yes, I agree wholeheartedly.  Fine games.  Except for the weather.   Try to order better weather next time.  And maybe you could use a rubber tree for your next caber.   Then maybe Scott “the Caber Slayer” Campbell can be thwarted in his attemp to rid the universe of evil timber.  The rain forest must shudder at the mere mention of his name.

Then “Big Shot” Al Myers weighed in (pun intended) with this comment:

As for a good solution to keep Scotty from breaking cabers, just put a price sticker on them!!!

AD’s beware.  The Caber Killer is lurking near your meet this summer.  Unless, of course, he becomes too whipped after his wedding and we never see him again. (Sorry, Scott, couldn’t resist, I guess you’ll show her who wears the pants in your family…..uhhhh….poor choice of words.)

CREDIT:  The Braemar Stone Tablet, Volume #5, Issue #1

Ban the Spin

by Thom Van Vleck

(Webmaster’s notes:  The following is an editorial written by Thom Van Vleck 10 years ago in the Braemar Stone Tablet regarding his dislike of the spin in the Highland Game height events.  I found this editorial very ironic and humerous on so many levels because since then Thom has totally changed his tune and is now an advocate for the spin.  He has used the spin in the 42# WOB to set a World Record and numerous game records.  But he sure gives a good argument why the spin should be banned!!!!  How does it feel Thom to have to EAT YOUR WORDS??????)

Thom Van Vleck utilizes the spin in the Weight Over Bar to perfection. In 2005, Thom set the All-Time World Record in the 42# WOB with a toss of 20'6". He has won or tied in the WOB at 3 World Championships (2004, 2007, and 2010). (photo credit Kevin Viet)

Recently, there have been some innovations in technique in the highland games.  Namely, the spin on the sheaf and WOB.  I have talked to a great many people about this and want to make their voices heard and to give my own opinion.  You don’t have to like it, or even agree, but I think this is something we need to address before it goes too far. 

A couple of years ago we began to see a few guys spinning on the sheaf.  This year Harrison Bailey (I think) began spinning on the WOB.  This has started to push some records up, and will no doubt continue to do so.  I am opposed to the new techniques on several grounds.

First, they are dangerous. About a hundred years ago a woman was struck and killed in Canada by a wayward hammer.  The man that threw it was so despondent he never competed again.  I know how I would feel if I were responsible for a tragic accident.  I would feel just as responsible as an Athletic Director who allowed unsafe practices to go on.  It was also around that time that there was an innovation in technique.  The athletes began to spin with the hammer.  Yes, much like the Olympic hammer, the athletes would spin and throw the hammer.  However, they quickly realized how dangerous this was and the practice was stopped. I feel that spinning with the sheaf could lead to serious injury as I witnessed Mike Smith flatten a metal chair with a wayward sheaf toss (old style) in McPherson a couple of years ago.  A twenty pound sheaf could seriously hurt an adult and kill a child.  I won’t even go into what a 56 could do raining down from 15 plus feet in the air.

An answer to this would be to create large safe areas, but you push the crowds back when you do that and isolate the athletes even more.  That is a problem within itself.  Many venues I have been to are limited to a confined space and a large field is out of the question.  I want the crowds in as close as they can get, especially the children.  Otherwise, why not go throw in somebody’s back yard?

My second issue with the techniques is they take away the power events.  The Sheaf and the WOB were relatively simple to execute and the strongest guys would usually prevail in these events. There was no hiding your true level of strength.  Making them technical will take away from that aspect.  You also have a great many guys that are strong and love this sport, but have difficulty with the spinning events who will now be left out.  I will admit that I am one of those guys.  The WOB and sheaf, as well as the caber, were my best events.  I do not consider myself athletic, but I have built considerable strength over the years through weightlifting.  By making the event more athletic you will alienate a majority of athletes who are either not as athletic, don’t have the time to work on technique (i.e. have jobs, families), or do this for the love of the sport. YOU TAKE AWAY FROM THE SELF-BUILT ATHLETE WHO MAY NOT BE BLESSED, BUT CAN BUILD ON WHAT HE OR SHE HAS THROUGH WEIGHT TRAINING.

Al Myers (left) and Thom Van Vleck (right) squared off against each other a couple of years ago in a 56# WOB contest, infamously referred to now as the WOB Border War. The rules of the contest required it be a traditional standing toss, in which the spin would not be allowed. I issued this challenge to Thom because I felt he had snubbed the standing toss and everything he once believed in! Chad Ullom served as the official, and due to his incompetence the outcome was questionable as to who had actually won. We each claimed victory, but Chad determined it a tie. (photo credit Chad Ullom)

An answer to this issue would be to only allow the spin in the A class and Pros.  The idea being that once you reach that level you should have worked on the technique enough that you would be safe as well as guys capable and have the time to master the style.  I do not agree with this, but would go along with this solution.

Third, it is hard on equipment.  I have run meets and they are quite expensive.  Al Myers made a good point to me that I feel every athlete should hear. On average at a good meet the AD will spend about $100 per athlete.  The most I have ever paid for entry is $20.  The rest is absorbed through sponsers, gate (which we all know is not great unless you are in a huge games), and straight from the pockets of the AD’s.  Plus sweat and toil equity.  I personally don’t want to have 3 sets of sheaf standards and WOB standards for back ups because the others are getting tore up.  And they will be once everyone starts doing these styles.  You run one meet and you will see how tore up the equipment gets and just how expensive it is to fix it back up.

The simple answer would be to make the athletes more financially responsible.  Higher entry fees or make them agree to pay for repairs to anything damaged by an errant throw.  I don’t want to do this at my meets so I will likely limit the Super A’s to the option of the spins and only if they can demonstrate they have mastered it enough in warm ups they won’t be be a threat to anyone.

While I personally would like to do away with the spinning styles this is not my sport to make demands.  I am not a cry baby and will adapt if that is what I have to do.  I have just heard so many complaints about it I felt I should lead a charge.  If no one follows then I will look foolish (as I have many times before) and walk back and get in line with my fellow athletes to learn the new styles.  If you agree, get on the chat rooms, talk to the AD’s, and organizations (NASGA, RMSA, SAAA, SSAA, etc).  Let’s make the push to make hard decisions on this matter before it goes too far.  Otherwise, it is moving along and until someone get hurt the athletes are going to do whatever it takes to get an edge.

CREDIT:  The Braemar Stone Tablet, Volume #3, Issue #2

How to make your training more productive

by Al Myers

(Webmasters note:  This was a story I wrote for the Braemar Stone Tablet several years ago that applied to Highland Game training, but it contains ideas that can be applied to All-Round Weightlifting as well.  I had actually forgot that I had written this!)

Nothing inspires your training as much as good training partners. I was fortunate to have two of the best training partners around when I was training the Highland Games. This is the three of us when we competed together at the 2005 Inverness Highland Games in Scotland. Pictured left to right: Chad Ullom, Al Myers, and Scott Campbell

The throwing season is upon us again!  Time to dust off those hammer boots and put a new coat of paint on the throwing implements!  It always amazes me how fast the winter goes and all that off-season weight training that you have been doing to make you a better thrower never seems to be enough. It is now time to hit the throwing field and put in time with the throwing weights.  I want to share some of the things I have learned (mostly the hard way!) about how to make your training more productive.  These are the 5 most important things to focus on in making your training better.

1.  Set workout times - This is critical.  It is too easy to procrastinate if you don’t have a scheduled workout time.  Saying too yourself that I’ll workout a couple of days this week after work, if I’m not too tired, if it is not too hot or cold, if nothing good is on TV, won’t do it!  Even if time only permits one workout a week, plan for that day and then no matter what DO IT!!! Remember, the highland games are not a leisure activity!

2.  Keep a training log – How in the world are you going to be able to evaluate different training programs if you don’t have a good record of what you have done?  I know, there days that really suck and you wish not to remember them, but at least put something in a training log!  Maybe you are over-training?  Maybe you have a nagging injury that is keeping that one throw down? These are the things you want to avoid and by looking at what you have done leading up to it, it may be avoided in the future.  This is where a log helps!  I often look back at my log from previous years and evaluate training programs that worked for me and those that don’t .  Remember, it doesn’t really count if you don’t write it down!

3.  Set Goals - I know, everyone knows this.  You always hear guys saying I want to do this and I want to do that.  By next August, I’m going to throw that light hammer 150 feet!! Yeah right!!!  There are goals and then there are dreams!!!  To me, goals are something that you are actually taking steps in working towards, whereas dreams are those thing that you imagine doing while sitting on the couch eating Doritos. Goals need to be specific, and along with them the steps needed to accomplish them.  They need to be realistic, and they need to be short-term.  Long-term goals are okay, but will not give you the focus you need today!  Again, write these goals down, and develop a plan to achieve them.  Remember, real success is achieving what you set out to do!

4.  Get information - To be a better thrower, you need to continually learn.  Never tell yourself that you know it all.  Listen to the experts.  Look at tapes. Read everything you can get on the games.  Get feedback from other athletes.  Spend time watching other throwers and studying them.  Then after you do all of this, forget most of it!! What you ask?  Let me tell you something – there are no magic secrets, just good advice and bad advice.  It is up to YOU to tell the difference!!!  What works for one athlete won’t for another.  You have to find out those things that work for you.  And whatever you do, don’t change your throwing on game day because someone gave you a good tip right before you stepped up to the trig!  Take these “pointers” home and find out in training if they are good or bad.  I know that all throwers mean well and want to help out their fellow comrades, but this trick of giving someone a good “pointer” right before they throw is one of the oldest psych-out tricks in the book!!! Get information and study it at home and try to apply it to your training program.  Remember, it is not illegal to “steal” throwing information! 

5.  Have fun – This can sometimes be overlooked.   It is easy to put so much pressure on yourself that sometimes fun can be lost.  Enjoyment and having fun is one of the reasons that drew you to the games in the first place, but it is easy to drift away from this as you get more dedicated and focused.  I know, it has happened to me in the past.  Sometimes you have to step back, and ask yourself, what do I need to do to enjoy this more?  Maybe you need a different training environment for awhile.  Go to the park until they kick you out.  Maybe try a new training program.  Do a little traveling on the weekends and find other athletes to train with.  Training with other athletes will help with training enthusiasm greatly!!  In the past, I have done a lot of training by myself, and I can tell you, it is a lot more fun to have other athletes that can share in the throwing agony with you!!  Having fun, and enjoying the sport for what it is will go a long way in making those training sessions better.  Remember, you can’t set a personal record in every training session, but you can have fun trying.

I know I didn’t address any specifics, but these general points are the ones to focus on first in making your training more productive.  You may notice that I didn’t mention anything about having good implements.  Good implements are nice to have and may improve your self-esteem, but believe it or not they are not critical in improving as a thrower.  I know a lot of throwers that have homemade weights and made a lot of progress with them.  Don’t use this as an excuse that you don’t have the weights to train with or the weights you have aren’t Dodd weights.  Improvise, get something and start training!  I hope that these ideas will help a little in making your throwing season this year the best ever.  Consider yourself lucky to be involved.

CREDIT:   the Braemar Stone Tablet, Volume #3, Issue #1

Just for Laughs – the King of Beasts Training System

by Thom Van Vleck

What do the two guys on the left and the lion on the right have in common? They both follow the King of Beasts Training System. The program's innovator Mitch Ridout is pictured on the left, and his one pupil Tedd Van Vleck is to his right.

It is my goal in life to make the King of Beasts or KOB training system as famous as the ab roller or Tony Little’s “Gazelle” fitness system.  As a matter of fact, when you think of Mitch think of Tony Little.  For those of you unfamiliar with the KOB it is based heavily on Mitch’s keen observation of the “real” KING OF BEASTS, the mighty lion.  The lion lays around all day “recuperating” (a key principle).  He only gets up for a contest (fight) and for sex (Mitch’s wife is expecting twins).  Diet is primarily very rare meat and lots of it, followed by extended slumber.

Anyhow, the KOB training tip of the month has to do with cross training.  Mitch has taken up Scotland’s “other” sport (no, not curling). Golf, yes, GOLF!  They call it a sport and I guess it is one.  Mitch likes to cross train with golf as it requires little real effort and if you have a cart it requires almost no effort at all.  Plus, it can be quite satisfying to the ego.  Afterall, Mitch could never throw the hammer or 28 a hundred yards and he can hit a golf ball almost that far….all in the air, too.  Mitch really wows them when he takes his driver three turns around like his hammer before actually hitting the ball.  Occassionally, he actually lets go of the driver and tape measures it before moving on to the bunkers. 

So the tip of the month is:  Cross training with Golf!!!  You’ll feel like the KING OF BEASTS!!! 

(Webmaster’s comment:  The KOB Training System must be catching on.  I hear another JWC member, Tedd Van Vleck, has taken it up as well, and is making an attempt at Golf.  It is also rumored that Tedd has purchased a Big Green Egg to add the meat element to the KOB program he’s on.  Don’t be discouraged Tedd, as succeeding on two out of three key parts of the KOB Program is not that bad!!!!)

CREDIT:  Braemar Stone Tablet, Volume #1, Issue #3

Just for Laughs – more funny stuff

by Thom Van Vleck

Recently, Kevin McAllister asked some of his fellow HASA athletes for their training routines.  Some of them were so important to development of the all round athlete I felt I should include them in this newsletter.

Here was Larry Ventress’ response:

Off season:  Lift like hell, throw a little bit
In season:  Lift like hell, throw a little bit more
Results:  I still stink
Post season: Depression sets in
Results:  The oreo cookies come out
Post Cookies:  Feel guilty about not training and eating too many cookies.
Results:  Lift like hell, throw a little bit and get ready for next year.

It’s a vicious cycle!  Hope this helps, Larry.

Al Myers replied:  I also “cycle” train like Larry, but mine goes like this.

Off season:  Powerlift as hard as possible to get stronger and tighten up all tendons/muscle groups
Early season:  Throw as hard as possible and loosen up all tendons/muscle groups
In season:  Pull or tear some major tendon/muscle groups.
Next year:  Start it all over again!!!

Mitch Ridout clean and pressing the Jackson Anvil. Mitch often won this "challenge event" following past HASA Highland Games. I believe his best effort was 14 reps with the 150# anvil - quite amazing! (photo courtesy of Al Myers)

Now, I will include Mitch Ridout’s “King of Beasts” Training Routine for the Highland Games.  Mitch believes strongly in the “KOB”.  It dictates a focus on recuperation.  Mitch say, “It is during the recuperation phase that muscle is actually built, the act of working out actually tears down muscle. Look at our friend, the mighty Lion, the KING OF BEASTS.  He will lay around all day getting up only to eat, have sex, or to deal with competition and he carries a mighty frame of muscle.”  Now, I can tell you….. I have watched Mitch train and he fervently believes in the KOB philosophy.  I have also had to listen to him sleep.  That guy can fall asleep before his head hits the pillow and his snoring will rattle window panes.  I also know that he follows the eating part religously, eating copious amounts of red meat in one sitting.  As for the sex part, you would have to ask his wife or Kevin McAllister as I do know Kevin invited him to “sleep” over one weekend when Kev’s wife was out of town.

COMING TOMORROW – THE DETAILS OF THE KOB TRAINING SYSTEM

CREDIT:  Braemar Stone Tablet, Volume #3, Issue #1

Just for Laughs – Dave Glasgow is “My Personal Stalker”

by Thom Van Vleck

(Webmasters note:  This was written by Thom 10 years ago in the Bramaer Stone Tablet, but I think he was on to something.  Since I have just reread this, I have taken notice that Dave is “lurking” in the background of several pictures I have of Thom.  IS THIS JUST A COINCIDENCE??? )

Thom Van Vleck (right) and his stalker Dave Glasgow (left).

I am writing this to make everyone aware that Dave Glasgow is stalking me, and just in case he is successful and I am found dead under “mysterious” circumstances.  You may be next.

1.   I am judging the Mid-America Masters in 2002.   Dave is throwing the 22lb hammer and I am safely behind the cage carefully watching him for any transgression of the rules.  Suddenly, the hammer head comes off the handle and it punctures the cage hitting me in my ankle.  The impact tattooed the pattern of my sock into the ball of my ankle.  Luckily, my “cat like” reflexes allowed me to move before the hammer took my whole leg off causing me to bleed to death.  I’m not sure how Dave got that hammer head to come off at that precise moment, but he’s old and crafty (esp. old).  Then, and I’m not sure how he did it, but when I got home my water heater had burst flooding my house.  I’m not sure how he drove 185 miles to my house and sabotaged my water heater (after all, it was only 20 years old and barely half covered with rust), but he did it and got back to KC in between throws.

I took this picture a few weeks ago at the Ledaig Record Breaker. I didn't notice it at the time, but doesn't it look like Dave is "eyeballing" Thom? But then again do I blame him - I would be doing the same if Thom was carrying on a private conversation with MY WIFE! (photo by Al Myers)

2.  At that time, I was thinking it just a coincidence.  However, as I read through an old issue of Dan DeWelt’s old magazine I spied a picture of me throwing the stone.  Not that it was unusual that there was a picture of me, a top notch athlete (I would say world class, but I don’t like to brag….my wife once told me that…. but she stuttered at the end which made it sound like she said “World class ass”, but that was just a stutter… I’m sure).  At any rate, as I admired the picture of myself and the fine form I was demonstrating I saw it.  There he was, Dave Glasgow, standing in the background staring at me.  Obviously, he was casing me out at that early time, but I had been unaware.  But now I was on to him.

After a hot day throwing at the Ledaig Highland Games, Thom stripped down and cooled off in the tank. Of course I had to take his picture. But wait.... I think I recognize that kilt in the background!!!! Is it the stalker??? (photo by Al Myers)

3.   I began to notice Dave was everywhere.  It seemed that nearly half the highland games I went to, Dave was there, too.   Obviously this was getting serious.  He was following me.  But I had to be cool, and not let him know I was onto him.  I needed to keep the element of surprise on my side.  I told only a few my suspicions, but they all obviously agreed.  When I pointed out the picture of Dave “stalking” me, Steve Scott looked at me and laughed (obviously to keep from arousing suspicions) and said, “Oh, sure, obviously”.  And then he quickly left and didn’t talk to me again all day, which I am sure was to keep from arousing suspicions.

4.  Most recently, Dave came up to my HASA championships.  Sure, he was acting so nice, giving me a pitch fork, custom made, and acting as a judge for me.  But I was on to him.  However, Dave is a crafty one.  I was able to keep him in my sites all day, but the bastard waited until I was asleep.  He came out and sabotaged my sewer line that night causing my basement to flood.  Then, just to rub salt in the wound, he came out to my house to “visit” me and then when I went to show him my basement workout area only to find it flooded, he pretended he didn’t know a thing and actually tried to help me fix it.  Oh sure, he seems like a nice guy, but let this be your warning.  Dave Glasgow is a Stalker!!!!!!!!!!!

CREDIT:  The Braemar Stone Tablet, Volume #4 Issue #4

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Just for Laughs – Caber Hills

by Thom Van Vleck

Caber Hills – A new, exclusive gated community for the Heavy Events Athlete

This may not be Caber Hills, but the JWC Throwing Field is one of the best Highland Game Fields around. It is complete with permanent standards, hammer cage, and pre-set trig boards. (photo and caption by Al Myers)

I have found investors (mostly golfers who are tired of being terrorized by us) who have agreed to provide the financing for Caber Hills.  This will be a gated community, mostly gated to keep us in rather than anyone else out, and will cater exclusively to the Heavy Events Athlete and his or her special needs.

Homes:  Caber Hills will be built exclusively from log homes that will include nothing but cabers turned at 12:00.  Our expert crew will build our home with a Heavy Events theme.  Hammer and caber wall paper, all caber wall construction, stair way rails made out of hammers, Braemar Stone fireplaces, 28lb light fixtures, Grandfather clock with caber hands and a hammer pendulum, and 56lb counter weights.

Club House:  The Caber Hills Club House will include a computerized throwing range.  A projector will show the fields of some of the greatest games sites in the world.  Such as Estes, Pleasanton, McFearsome, Calendar, Scotland, and more.  Athletes throws will be computed and a high speed digital camera will analyze technique.  The club house menu will include beer, Cokes, and 3lb T-Bones.  Nothing else.  The Pro Shop will include 50 kinds of tacky, Hammer adjustments, Bobby Dodd, Malcolm Doying, and premier equipment.  A massage therapist will be on hand that looks a lot like that St. Pauli Beer Girl.

Field:  The Athletic field will be the finest in the world.  A shooting range will offer buckets of hammers, 28’s, 56’s, and stones (large or small buckets).  Our ball boy drives a tank.  Exploding Hammers are offered on a limited basis.  The athletic field is all natural grass with constant divot repair.   Flat and sloped fields are offered.  Caddies will retrieve weights and are equipped with engineering equipment to find the slope.  Heavy Event Carts (much like golf carts, but 4 wheel drive and a 350 cubic inch, 4 barrel carb) are provided free of charge to members.  There is a Braemar Putting Green and a Caber Fairway.  Cabers available in increments of one inch and one pound all the way up to “Seqouia” size. 

Call today to reserve your building site at 1 (GET) – CABERED.  And remember Caber Hills….”where we always round up” and we never, ever, never, use a knock off bar.

CREDIT:  The Braemar Stone Tablet, Volume #3  Issue #3

Just for Laughs: Gym Etiquette Part 2

by Thom Van Vleck

Here is the rest of the list of Gym Etiquette that I made fun of last issue.

7.  Don’t hog the drinking fountain.  “If you have seven people waiting in line behind you, don’t start filling up your two gallon jug,” St. Michael says.

Thom sez: You want some water, pansy?  Then come and get it ’cause it’s cold, tasty, and quite satisfying here at the head of the line!!!  And my gallon jug ain’t full yet!

(Webmasters note:  and THAT explains why you are always ALSO standing in line for the toilet instead of lifting!)

8.  Observe the gym’s time limits on the cardiovascular equipment. Many clubs restrict you to 20 or 30 minutes on the treadmills, bikes, and stairclimbers during rush hour.

Thom sez:  Cardio-what? Never heard of it.  Oh, that.  Well that’s why God invented the internal combustion engine and the elevator.  I did enough “cardio” in the Marine Corps to last me for the rest of my life.  I did my lungs enough of a favor by never smoking. 

(Webmasters note:  Your satire is starting to rival that of Bill Clark!!!)

9.  Return your weights to the rack.  If you leave dumbbells on the floor, someone may trip over them, or the weights may roll onto someone’s toes.  Be sure to place them back in their proper spots.  No one should have to waste 10 minutes hunting for the 15 pound dumbbells, only to find them sitting between the 40s and the 50s.

Thom sez:  I usually find the hundreds right were I left them the last time I used them, but for the guy looking for the 15’s…..well he can just consider that part of his cardio work!!! 

10.   Exercise courtesy in the locker room.  Don’t take up three lockers and spread your clothing over an entire bench, forcing other people to put on their socks while standing up.  “People will rip off their sweaty clothes and run into the shower, leaving their undergarments all over the place,” St. Micheal says.

Thom sez:  I can’t help it if my shoulders are that wide (or my butt), but they really should make those damn lockers bigger.  And any one that uses the term “undergarments” needs to be pimp slapped.  Do you think “St. Micheal” is his real name or is it Ernie Abramowitz who had to go Hollywood to get some respect?

(Webmasters note:  I got a good story about a guy I know who would leave his dirty “undergarments” laying around at other people’s houses. He would just go home and leave his stinky undershorts under the bed.  But I’m not going to give out his name as to avoid embarrassment. )

11.   Be courteous in exercise classes.  Don’t show up late or distract the class by creating your own workout routine.  And play nice! ” In New York City, people will get in fights over spinning bikes,” Gostigian says. “It turns into a boxing class instead of a cycling class”

Thom sez:  One time my uncle was challenged by a boxer who told him he was going to teach him a lesson that weightlifting makes you slow.  My uncle waited until the other guy put his gloves on and then kicked his A$$ bare fisted WWF style.  I assume this part of New York City is not Greenwich Village. And PLEASE…..exercise class…. do I need to comment?

12.   Watch where you’re going.  “People are oblivious to what’s going on around them, “St. Micheal says.  “Sometimes when I’m doing lateral movements for my shoulders, someone will walk right by me and I’ll almost hit them. Weight lifting should not be a contact sport”.

Thom sez:  These are just getting better and better.  So are you then supposed to turn around and say, “Pardon me, but do you have any Grey Poupon?” Where I come from the guy lifting has the right of way if you are dumb enough to walk under a 500 lb squat then please say hello to the accountant on the first floor when the bar drops on your little pin head and rams it down there. 

TRUE STORY:  I used to work out with this guy that owned the gym we worked out in so he could abuse the hell out of his own equipment.  One day he was doing deadlifts (on the second story of an old warehouse converted to office space) and dropping them from arms length at the end of each rep.  Since he could DL over 700 lbs he was hitting a 5.6 on the richter scale.  Suddenly this little old lady showed up madder than a wet hen and covered in bits of plaster.  It seems that the landlord had finally rented the downstairs office space right below the lifting platform.  The new drop ceiling they had just put in had collapsed on this lady and her first client.  The office was a mess and my buddy was less than sorry.  Nothing like having a dozen muscle heads coming down just to laugh at your misfortune.  The landlord had warned her that there was a gym upstairs and that it might bet a “little” loud sometimes.  I guess her client was pretty shook up and ran out.

CREDIT: Braemar Stone Tablet, Volume #3, Issue #2

Just for Laughs: Lifting Etiquette

by Thom Van Vleck

I found this list for gym “etiquette” on the internet.  As if it is not funny enough by itself, I have added my own comments.

1.  Don’t sit on a machine you’re using or when you’re between sets.  Let a fellow gym member “work in” (alternate) with you.  If someone else is using equipment that you have your eye on, feel free to say, “Mind if I work in with you?” It’s perfectly acceptable for you to change the weight setting or seat level; just be sure to restore them after your set. 

Thom sez:  First, if you’re using machines that is your first problem.  Second, if you did and some guy wants to work in then he better have the nads to say something better than “mind if I work in with you?” I would pimp slap him.

2.  Keep your grunting to a minimum.  Sure, a weight room isn’t a public library, but it’s not a championship wrestling arena, either. “Some of these guys scream like it’s the equivalent of male childbirth,” Gostigian says.  Loud noises not only distract other gym members but alert them to the fact that you’re lifting more weight than you can handle.

Thom sez:   I thought the whole idea of lifting weights was to lift more than you can handle so that you get stronger.  While I laugh at guys who grunt and groan with 225 on the squat I am pretty sure that I am not going to mess with the guy that screams while slamming 600 for 5.  I expect loud noises at a gym like I expect dead bats at an Ozzy Osbourne concert.  If you don’t like it, then don’t go and get a nordic track or one of those bowflex things. 

(webmaster’s comments:  The use of illustrations such as an Ozzy Osbourne concert, nordic track, and bowflex really shows your age Thom! But I do want to hear more about the concept of male childbirth. )

3.  Don’t tote around your gym bag.  That’s what lockers are for. “Gym bags on the floor are a hazard,” St. Michael says, ” Plus they take up space, and the gym’s crowded enough as it is.”

Thom sez:  My gym bag is my armor and weapons supply.  It is a part of me.  I knew a cop that carried a 9 mm in his gym bag (not sure why).  Besides, locker rooms aren’t safe.

4.  Don’t drop your weights.  When you’re finished using a set of dumbbells, gently place them on the ground. “I’ve seen people drop their dumbbells from four feet in the air,” Tucson trainer Steve Canis says.  “It’s a macho thing.” It’s also a dangerous thing; the weights can bounce around and break someone’s toes.

Thom sez: Good Lord!!!!!  You try setting a 600 pound deadlift down like a feather or a pair of 100 pound dumbbells after a set of cheat curls.  I don’t know about you, but I give it all to the lift with little regard to leave a little to treat the weights like fine china.

(webmaster’s comments:  dumbbell cheat curls????  REALLY???  You do those????)

5.  Keep your sweat to yourself.  Carry a towel and wipe off the equipment when you’re finished.  “Some people leave a puddle of sweat on the bench they’ve just used – it’s disgusting,” Gostigian says.

Thom sez:  Sweating….in the gym… how uncouth.  How are you supposed to clean it up when you ain’t got your gym bag?  I guess you could cover your body in “Secret”.

(webmaster’s comments:  I’ve lifted with you before, and the use of a little deodorant would help a little with your BO.  It doesn’t make you less of a man to abandon the smell.)

6.  Unload your weight bar.  Don’t assume that the next person who comes along has the ability or desire to clean up after you.  “A lot of guys leave heavy weight plates on a barbell and then walk away,” Gostigian says. “But for most people, just lifting those 45 pound weights is a challenge.” By the same token, a guy bench pressing 225 pounds isn’t going to want to bother removing someone’s 10 pound weight plates.

Thom sez:  If somebody leaves the bar loaded up, then that’s wrong, but if I ever walk into the gym and say, “Hey, who left these 10’s on the bar?” Who’s going to claim that?  Maybe the 13 year old in the corner mortified beyond belief?  “Hey, kid, maxin’ out again??”

NEXT ISSUE, PART TWO  OF GYM ETIQUETTE.

CREDIT:  Braemar Stone Tablet, Volume #3, Issue #1

Lack of News

by Al Myers

Everyone was amazed when Thom opened with a World Record attempt in the sheep toss.

The “dog days” of summer are upon us, and with that has come a lull in USAWA News.  We have hashed over the National Championships enough already, and it’s time to put that behind us.  I have said all I can say about the changes that were instigated at the Annual National Meeting.  I must be going through a “writers block” because for the first time I can’t think of any interesting topics to write about.  Not that my stories are all that interesting anyhow, but at least they fill the pages of the USAWA Daily News with something.   I really thought by now I would be receiving “stories by the bucket loads” from those wanting to see their words of wisdom in print on this website and I could just sit back and be the editor, and enjoy the “good life” of being in charge of what makes it to the press!  It doesn’t seem to be working out that way, and now I could use a break.  So until things pick up (and they will with the busy fall all round schedule in front of us) I’m going to be doing a couple weeks of “reruns” here in the USAWA Daily News.  AND NO – I’m not going to be that lazy to rerun prior website stories, but instead some old articles that were in the Braemar Stone Tablet.  The BST (short for Braemar Stone Tablet) was a newsletter published for around a half dozen years by none other than Thom Van Vleck covering several subjects of interest, with the intent being on the Highland Games.  It often contained good stories on training that could be applied to an All Rounder, stories covering different Highland Games, and stories containing Thom’s  attempts at humor (I found some of them funny, but then I share Thom’s sense of humor!!).  I even asked Thom if this would be acceptable to him for me to “rerun” these stories, and he has given me his permission to do so.  It was big of me to ask, because when it comes to Thom  I usually don’t  do that!   For those 25 people who were subscribers to the BST I apologize for this redundancy of material, and if you want to take a couple weeks break from the USAWA Website as well as me, you have my permission. 

Consider this a “vacation” for the USAWA Daily News.