PDA

View Full Version : "Best Version Of Ourselves" by Richard "The Ant" Hawthorne



Animal
11-17-14, 4:35 pm
"March 2011 was the beginning of what I call the rebirth of Richard Hawthorne. I was planning on that year being the year I stepped back from the light to take some time away from the powerlifting world. But little did I know what was to come. All I can say is lions, tigers and bears were all trapped in a single Cage, and one day an Ant was invited to play. 



I visited The Cage several times throughout the years prior to the 2011 Arnold. I went to support friends that were lifting in The Cage and each time they would say, "Rich, you should try and see if they'll let you lift." But I didn't ask or say anything because I felt like my time would come. Then, in 2011, as I was packing and getting everything ready for the Arnold, my friend and long time training partner, Tony Caprari, looked at me and said, "Rich, you should bring the belt." So I thought to myself, “Why not”?

I arrived with my crew at the Arnold and we started going back and forth, up and down the aisles, enjoying the expo as usual. After exploring the expo hall, when we entered The Cage, G Diesel approached me asking if I wanted to lift. I felt like that kid at school that gets picked first to play football at recess. Hell, I was pumped, but I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was I was going to lift in The Cage.

The actual lifting event was a “Pros vs. Bros” event. This is where the Animal athletes and fans get to lift against each other. The event was to deadlifting 500 for reps. When the captains finished picking the teams, I was still in my own zone – pumped, but calm on the outside. I was thinking to myself, "They shouldn't have done this; I’m about to show out".

So, of course, I'm the smallest guy there. I was 70 lb less than the second lightest lifter with the other guys participating all at least 110 lb or more than me. Boy, did that get my blood flowing. We finally started warming up. 135, 225, 315 – it all was feeling good. Everybody was looking at me with judging eyes, doubting and thinking that I was possibly going to get one rep just for show. I’m sure they were thinking it would be pretty cool to see a 130 lb guy lift 500 lb for one rep.

I continued warming up, eventually stopping at 450. I sat in the corner and thought about what was about to go down while the others continued past 500 lb. When they finally finished warming up, the other team had the pleasure of starting the challenge off. A fan by the name of “Big C” went first and pulled the first two reps with decent drive, but immediately slowed down on the fourth and fifth reps. He barely squeezed a sixth in.

At this point, my heart started beating out of my chest. I was sitting behind everyone on the bench knowing it would be my turn soon. When the emcee, Vinny, called out my name, I approached the bar. Vinny asked the crowd, “How much does Rich weight?” I lightly put chalk on my own hands and walked over to the bar. Then Vinny answered his own question, "Rich weighs 125 pounds."

I prepared myself. I gripped the bar and rotated my hands around it. I then stood up and clapped my hands as tradition, waving my arms up and down to get the crowd behind me. I turned back around to face the bar. As I reached down, Vinny yelled, "Light weight babaaaaaay!" I gripped with my right hand, then with my left and pushed my feet through the ground as 500 lb. shot up off the floor for the first rep, then the second. At that point, I could hear the crowd go quiet – from disbelief? I kept a nice steady pace all the way through the fifth rep and rested for a split second at the top and then continued to lift.

That’s when everybody started to get behind me. The eighth and ninth reps came up like I wasn't even tired. At that point, I knew I made the most out of that 15 to 20 second I could. I had more in me, but ten reps was plenty enough. Vinny got on the mic: "125 pounds, ten reps. You know what y'all gotta do now." As I walked off, everyone there told me I did a great job. That’s a moment I’ll never forget. Being able to lift in The Cage and holding my own – it shows that you don't have to be big to push weight.

It was incredible to have that chance to lift in such an electrifying oasis of a world that has otherwise been hidden from the public eye; to be there representing the world of powerlifting and what it actually stands for. No matter your size, age, gender, where you came from or what you do, if you’ve put in time in the gym, if you’ve busted your ass then you can gain respect. Whether we lift in the gym, on the platform, or in The Cage, we are all on the same journey, the one where we envision the best version of ourselves."

GUNZ
11-17-14, 5:32 pm
"March 2011 was the beginning of what I call the rebirth of Richard Hawthorne. I was planning on that year being the year I stepped back from the light to take some time away from the powerlifting world. But little did I know what was to come. All I can say is lions, tigers and bears were all trapped in a single Cage, and one day an Ant was invited to play. 



I visited The Cage several times throughout the years prior to the 2011 Arnold. I went to support friends that were lifting in The Cage and each time they would say, "Rich, you should try and see if they'll let you lift." But I didn't ask or say anything because I felt like my time would come. Then, in 2011, as I was packing and getting everything ready for the Arnold, my friend and long time training partner, Tony Caprari, looked at me and said, "Rich, you should bring the belt." So I thought to myself, “Why not”?

I arrived with my crew at the Arnold and we started going back and forth, up and down the aisles, enjoying the expo as usual. After exploring the expo hall, when we entered The Cage, G Diesel approached me asking if I wanted to lift. I felt like that kid at school that gets picked first to play football at recess. Hell, I was pumped, but I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was I was going to lift in The Cage.

The actual lifting event was a “Pros vs. Bros” event. This is where the Animal athletes and fans get to lift against each other. The event was to deadlifting 500 for reps. When the captains finished picking the teams, I was still in my own zone – pumped, but calm on the outside. I was thinking to myself, "They shouldn't have done this; I’m about to show out".

So, of course, I'm the smallest guy there. I was 70 lb less than the second lightest lifter with the other guys participating all at least 110 lb or more than me. Boy, did that get my blood flowing. We finally started warming up. 135, 225, 315 – it all was feeling good. Everybody was looking at me with judging eyes, doubting and thinking that I was possibly going to get one rep just for show. I’m sure they were thinking it would be pretty cool to see a 130 lb guy lift 500 lb for one rep.

I continued warming up, eventually stopping at 450. I sat in the corner and thought about what was about to go down while the others continued past 500 lb. When they finally finished warming up, the other team had the pleasure of starting the challenge off. A fan by the name of “Big C” went first and pulled the first two reps with decent drive, but immediately slowed down on the fourth and fifth reps. He barely squeezed a sixth in.

At this point, my heart started beating out of my chest. I was sitting behind everyone on the bench knowing it would be my turn soon. When the emcee, Vinny, called out my name, I approached the bar. Vinny asked the crowd, “How much does Rich weight?” I lightly put chalk on my own hands and walked over to the bar. Then Vinny answered his own question, "Rich weighs 125 pounds."

I prepared myself. I gripped the bar and rotated my hands around it. I then stood up and clapped my hands as tradition, waving my arms up and down to get the crowd behind me. I turned back around to face the bar. As I reached down, Vinny yelled, "Light weight babaaaaaay!" I gripped with my right hand, then with my left and pushed my feet through the ground as 500 lb. shot up off the floor for the first rep, then the second. At that point, I could hear the crowd go quiet – from disbelief? I kept a nice steady pace all the way through the fifth rep and rested for a split second at the top and then continued to lift.

That’s when everybody started to get behind me. The eighth and ninth reps came up like I wasn't even tired. At that point, I knew I made the most out of that 15 to 20 second I could. I had more in me, but ten reps was plenty enough. Vinny got on the mic: "125 pounds, ten reps. You know what y'all gotta do now." As I walked off, everyone there told me I did a great job. That’s a moment I’ll never forget. Being able to lift in The Cage and holding my own – it shows that you don't have to be big to push weight.

It was incredible to have that chance to lift in such an electrifying oasis of a world that has otherwise been hidden from the public eye; to be there representing the world of powerlifting and what it actually stands for. No matter your size, age, gender, where you came from or what you do, if you’ve put in time in the gym, if you’ve busted your ass then you can gain respect. Whether we lift in the gym, on the platform, or in The Cage, we are all on the same journey, the one where we envision the best version of ourselves."

Great story and can't get tired of hearing it!! Give me chills reading it bro.

DANO
11-17-14, 9:24 pm
100% agree... This is what Animal is all about, put your money where your mouth is and EARN your respect.

Jay Nera
11-28-14, 11:53 pm
" representing the world of powerlifting and what it actually stands for. No matter your size, age, gender, where you came from or what you do, if you’ve put in time in the gym, if you’ve busted your ass then you can gain respect. Whether we lift in the gym, on the platform, or in The Cage, we are all on the same journey, the one where we envision the best version of ourselves."

Bang on.

Second time reading this write up. Nice Ant.

deanna7272
11-29-14, 10:48 am
Oh, how I remember meeting "The Ant" ... A lesson was learned that day = Always be aware of your surroundings...lol

It's so cool how each year your lifts just seem to defy the odds...

Pale Rider
11-30-14, 2:55 pm
Great read