| Team Effort
shit. I did it. It’s over and done. Looking back on the sixteen weeks
leading up to the 2007 NPC Nationals and taking a minute to reflect on
the whole experience and how it feels to be the newest IFBB pro, a lot
of things go through my head. It’s really kind of overwhelming and to
be totally honest, even though it may be at the risk of sounding less
than hardcore, it’s pretty emotional for me. And I’m not really an
emotional kind of guy. I don’t cry at the movies, I don’t own any pets,
and I don’t punch walls when my girlfriend hangs up the phone on me.
Typically, I consider myself pretty even keeled. But when I sit down
and try to absorb everything that has happened leading up to my
attainment of professional status; considering both the people involved
and what I went through physically and mentally, I get a little busted
First of all, I wanna talk about bodybuilding and
how it differs from most other sports. Bodybuilding is regarded as an
individual sport. You don’t play on a team per se, but rather, day
after day after day, it’s you in the gym... You and your crappy diet
food... You on the treadmill... You who has to keep your head together
if you’re gonna make it. It’s all about you. One. On a football team or
any other sports team, there’s a constant sense of us. We. We win
together and we lose together. But hold on a second. I’ve lost before
and I’ve won. And what’s funny is that when I lost, I felt I had no one
to blame but myself but when I won I didn’t feel that I was the only
one responsible. That’s one of the main things that attracted me to
bodybuilding in the beginning. I never played sports in high school or
anything like that and it’s not because I lack athleticism or dislike
sports. Quite the contrary; I do enjoy sports. It’s just that the
thought of relying on others never sat well with me and I don’t like
being told what to do. Therefore, a team with a coach was not my cup of
tea. I always liked the concept of having myself to blame if I fuck up
and myself to thank if I succeed.
What’s fucked up is that what I had thought really isn’t true at all.
Like I said earlier, I will always blame myself if I don’t do my best.
But for me to take all the credit for my success is impossible for me
to do. Looking at all the people who have given me their time, insight,
and overall support I find myself questioning whether or not
bodybuilding is in fact an individual sport. Yeah, I’m the one who has
to train, eat, sacrifice, suffer, and have the body to serve as
evidence. But damn, I’m a lucky dude because I have one hell of a
support system and without it I may not be as a successful as I am. So,
really, we win together.
I’m talking about my family who has to live with me and shows me
nothing but support; my girlfriend who has to put up with me being in a
shitty mood; my friends who are understanding of the fact that I can’t
go out with them and do typical friend type shit but they’re still
willing to take the plane ride down to Dallas to see me compete. I’m
talkin’ about the owners of my gym who have backed me one hundred
percent since before I ever even did my first show. It’s my attorney,
my chiropractor, my nutritionist, everyone at the gym, my sponsors...
All the people who just get behind me and don’t ask questions. They
just do for me and show me support in the most sincere form. Even the
people at my grocery store keep up to date on what’s going on in the
bodybuilding world. My barber who is a Cuban immigrant and speaks
broken English reads MD and looks for my Universal
ads. He likes pointing out his haircuts. My girlfriend’s father is a
dentist and her mother works for an optometrist. The two of them are on
the boards every night reading stuff and looking at videos and
interviews. They never go on vacation and they came down to Dallas to
attend their first bodybuilding show to see me compete. I’m talkin’
about people who are so far removed from the bodybuilding world and
would otherwise have no interest in it but because I love it and
because they support me, they wanna be a part of it. Because it means
so much to me, they do whatever it takes to ensure that I’m at my best.
It blows my mind when I look around at all the people who have shown
their support and the lengths at which they’ve gone to do so.
All this is just talking about people outside of the industry. I can’t
even begin to describe the kind of support I’ve gotten from fans and
enthusiasts. I’m blown away by the emails I get and by how positive
everyone is on the message boards like The Forvm. This reminds me of
the other day in the gym... I was talking to one of the owners and he
was saying to me that usually, the guys in the gym are pretty
competitive and oftentimes, people have negative shit to say and so on.
But he was commenting on how surprised he was at how supportive
everyone is of me in the gym and how people just have positive shit to
say and how they’re all pulling for me. I see the same shit on the
internet. I see a lot of bashing and negativity but have never been the
object of it. I don’t know man. All I’m saying is that I consider
myself very fortunate to have the kind of support system that I have.
In the beginning I guess I kind of assumed it was like that with
everyone. But I’ve been to shows, I’m talkin’ local shows, and a
competitor will get on stage and all you hear is crickets. And it has
nothing to do with the quality of the physique because I’ve seen it
with guys who have incredible physiques and have won overall titles and
I’ve seen it with guys who probably had no business being on a
bodybuilding stage. Here you have competitors at a local show and they
don’t even have anyone cheering for them in the crowd. I find it rather
disheartening but perhaps I’m just spoiled.
What I’m getting’ at is that for some, bodybuilding is a one man
endeavor. It’s a road some go down alone. And that’s okay. I’m not
saying there’s anything wrong with that. It’s that concept that
actually attracted me to the sport to begin with. But I will not deny
the fact that over the years my support system has grown and so have I.
So do I consider it a coincidence that with a greater amount of support
I’ve enjoyed a greater amount of success? I think I would have to
either be incredible selfish, incredibly dumb, or both to think it so.
Just as it sometimes takes a stronger man to acknowledge his weakness
and ask for help, I sincerely believe that I would not be the
bodybuilder I am without the help, love, and support of those who have
so willingly gotten behind me. Thank you.
Check out Evan "Ox" Centopani's thread by clicking here. Feel free to post your questions or comments.