Thursday, 16 June 2022
Dave Spadafora
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Let’s step into my Time Machine like Dr Who and travel with me to December 14th 1985… my birthday!! Good things have happened to me on my birthday here in 1985 and in 1996 I graduated with my Bachelor's in Science - Kinesiology. Welp back to my story. 

I’m at my second powerlifting meet and it’s a big meet for sure being held at the hotel that’s so close to The Ballpark at Arlington that you can see the outfield from the windows of the hotel restaurant.  I’m there with my coach Rick Gaugler and my two training partners Russell and Hank and all of us competing!!!   

Now try and understand that this is a big deal for me because I’m fresh out off the Army all of 23 years old (turning 24), just a kid from the east side of Detroit and have never flown somewhere just to compete.  Walked in and saw the venue and admittedly I got a wobbly in the knees at the prospect of being on an elevated stage in front of a huge crowd.  

I was entered into the Open Class and had a decent opening squat of 611 pounds but we will come back to that squat in a few but remember this is 1985 and we are in single ply suits and have equipment check AND we weigh in 2 hours before competing.

Rick says that until I total 1650 my ass is staying in the 198 pound class, mind you it’s one of the most competitive classes in powerlifting at the time!!  Of course I’m over by a few pounds so I’ll be watching what I eat, well in reality Rick will be watching like a hawk and if you’ve ever heard me tell stories about Rick then you’ll know that he will slap that food out of my hand before it gets close to my mouth!!  

I don’t have a scale in the hotel room so I head to a gym nearby to sit in the sauna then back in the room we turn up the heater and I wrap up in blankets to sweat off weight since all 3 of us needs to drop weight, Rick has his own room and ain’t struggling with his weight so I’m sure he’s sleeping comfortably.

Saturday morning and we head to weigh in before we eat so I step on the scale and I’m 194…OH GOD panic sets in as I think that my squat suit won’t fit right because I’ve lost too much weight so off to the fancy buffet I go and I eat everything in sight and I’m not kidding when I say I’m eating everything that’s not nailed down!!! Think I had a solid 20 pieces of French Toast and eggs.  Afterwards we head to the rules meeting and equipment check then to the warm up room…. Starting to feel a little queezy from the food… have a sip of Sprite and nope that’s not any better!!!               side note: to this day I still cannot drink Sprite

So lets come back to that 611 opening squat…. Nice and easy but as I’m coming up so is all of that French Toast… I'm about half way up … and out comes my breakfast right in the Head Judge’s lap!!!  I’m standing there waiting for the “rack” signal and once I get it I ask if it was a good lift?  The Judge comes back with ‘I’ll tell you when you clean up your mess’

Funny thing with this story is in 1987 I moved to San Antonio and walk into probably the best gym there is in the World of Strength.  Bob and Mary Dickson’s Olympic Gym and there behind the counter is Dave Spadafora the Head Judge who I puked on just a few years before….he jumps up and yells 

“OH NO DON’T PUKE ON ME” and the entire gym erupted in laughter, me included!!!  

Dave was one of the toughest powerlifting judges in Texas if not the USA.  My training partner Milo and I use to say that if we could get Dave to pass our squats then we’d have no problems getting white lights at the meets (side note here; we didn’t want someone to tell us our squats were good only to get to a big meet and find out we’ve been squatting high).  We knew Dave worked nearby so we decided that on Squat Day we’d get Dave to come to the gym and judge us.  We would go get a sandwich and all the goodies (sure as hell wasn’t gonna ask him to give up his lunch time to help us without buying him lunch).  We’d set Dave right in front of the platform and had it timed perfectly that we’d be at our final 2 warm up sets then into the work sets… we’d get done and Dave would give us some additional feedback and off he went back to work.  

It’s been a long time since I’d seen Dave but I have never forgotten the impact he’s had on not just my powerlifting career but on me personally.  We’ve run the back stage area for Bob and Mary at the South Texas Bodybuilding Show… he and the rest of the Powerlifters gave me lots of shit when I decided I wanted to compete in a few bodybuilding shows and cheered the loudest…. when I became an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Antonio Spurs he told me how proud of me he was!!!  

The other night Sally and I went to Little Italy to eat and this guy comes walking through the restaurant and I immediately recognize my old friend. It’d been at least 20 years since I’ve seen him but when we stood there introducing our families it was like we had just seen each other yesterday.   

Sometimes you never know the impact that you have on a person until many years later… Always make sure the impact that you have on people is positive!! 

 

Play Hard… Train Harder… NO EXCUSES

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Posted on 06/16/2022 1:09 PM by Ed Cosner
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Friday, 10 June 2022
My Battle Against Heart Diease
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I can’t breathe.... damn this hurts... why is my heart beating so hard that it hurts my ears. It’s like something is just not right... but I got a group coming in so fuck it I’ll take care of it later maybe I need to add some cardio in at the end of my workout later and we all know it’s NOT gonna happen.  

Low intensity cardiovascular training to strengthen the heart!!!  NO WAY… it’ll take away my GAINS!!!   Why does our ego think like this until it’s too late, the damage has been done. 

No one wants to face their own mortality... especially a fucking strength coach!!! I’m not mortal I have to be PUMPED UP for the next group!!! I’ll just eat a little at my desk before the group comes in... shit I had a good hard workout this morning.... even though I slept like crap from snoring so bad that I woke up more tired than I was before I headed off to bed… Funny thing about my sleep apnea and its not the damage that it did to my heart … actually it’s more sad to think that when I was with the Spurs the athletic trainer, doctors or anyone else never said anything to me and never intervened even when the players would not allow me to sleep on the same floor as them because they could hear me though the doors or walls!!!  Not one person spoke up and said shit to me that I was doing irreversible damage to my heart.  Sally sure hell did that’s for sure and she didn’t give me a choice in going to get a sleep study done and then using my CPAP machine once I got it but by then the damage to my heart could not be undone. 

Fast forward 6 years and I can add more to the cause of my heart diease with the asshole Dr. Marvin Brown of San Antonio Orthopedics and Associates who fucked up my Achilles and ankle surgery leaving me with infections that caused me to have an additional 9 surgeries in order to save my life, almost dying twice from septic shock or that I came damn close to having my left foot amputated and the 20+ weeks of seriously nasty antibiotics that were given to me through a PICC Line. That PICC Line was inserted into my brachial vein and it went all the way to my heart so those antibiotics that destroy the organisms or should I say all organisms (you can actually feel them burning as they run through your veins) can get straight to the heart and pumped out to where they need to be!!!  I could tell you more but you’d probably want to vomit…. I know it leaves me feeling that way.  It was barely 2 years later that I suffered my heart attacks.  Oh and a side note to the asshole politicians, lawyers and lobbyists that rewrote Texas’ Tort Laws making it next to impossible to sue for medical malpractice because the piece of shit lawyers can’t make enough money since they capped the payout!!!  Never mind the lifelong damage that was done to me from now having only 20% of an Achilles attached or the ankle ligament that was eaten away by the infection.  I’m left with permanent weakness and a limp….but i still have 2 feet so I guess I’m supposed to be thankful for that tidbit. 

I know the scenarios... I know the excuses.... I lived them and used them and now I have the damn +12” scar that serves as a reminder of the “prize you get for not taking care of your heart”! 

It all came to a head, 8 years ago late on a Friday night (6/5/2014) after coaching and training all day as I sat on the edge of the bed “bartering with God” looking into my wife’s beautiful eyes and said good bye to our bulldogs because I honestly didn’t think I was gonna be coming back home... and yet I still acted like I was invincible because I was taught throughout my life to never show weakness. I’ve battled through a childhood of violence to become an Airborne Ranger, Champion Strength and Power Athlete all while bouncing in some shit clubs and I never once showed weakness or fatigue, it’s just not in my DNA or I would have been eaten alive.  

10 June 2014 I believe that God answered my prayers to not take me just yet as I finally had a family to call my very own, blessed to be loved by Sally and our Furbabies but God had something in store for me, something that I feel is why he spared me that late Friday night into Saturday’s early morning hours.  I know this because the doctor told my that my heart was in bad shape, I coded twice before he finally got the stent inserted giving me a fighting chance by stabilizing me while I waited to have triple bypass surgery on 10 June. 

I felt compelled to write this after several of my friends and people I know from lifting have died from heart disease and many more have had bypass surgery.  I always reach out to them to prepare them for the journey ahead.  

I’ve had a lot of folks reach out and ask me questions on how I developed heart disease. I know that all of this that I’ve written about contributed to it along with that old strength athlete adage of “mass moves mass” so even though I was lifting heavy, regularly jumping on a 30” box and throwing heavy shit really far being 5’10” and weighing 286 pounds (130kg) and more probably wasn’t the best thing especially at the Masters level. 

In the coming weeks I’ll be writing and sharing my journey from barely able to walk to squatting and yes…. at week 16 I started snatching again!!  

Until then….. 

Play Hard… Train Harder… NO EXCUSES 

 

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Posted on 06/10/2022 8:33 AM by Ed Cosner
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