Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fullsterkur 2: Halfway to Alexandria

Please welcome Zack, our guest blogger today. Below he provides his account of our recent trip to the World’s Strongest Man Super Series in Madison Square Garden. Please excuse the title, however. I had lobbied for a simple “The Strongman and the Kid, Part 2,” citing the precedent set by the highly successful “You Are Burning Me” trilogy. I tried to reason with him, pointing out the long lineage of elegant titles whose company his would join. But Zack was set on drawing out the Durrellian elements of the experience while maintaining a measure of total badassness. What can you do?

. . . . .

When I went to the Strong Man Competition in New York , I didn’t know what to expect. One thing I can say, though, is that the competitors were a lot bigger than I thought they would be.

When we got there I was anxious to see these guys. Then Jouko Ahola showed up with another man [Phil Pfister]. Jouko was really big, but nothing compared to the other man. We all shook hands and then Ryan proceeded to talk to the other men. Eventually, Jouko left to go talk to some of the competitors. Then he walked over to another group of gigantic men. He looked small among them.

After that we went to Madison Square Garden to watch them set up for the competition. They had giant tires, coffin-shaped weights, and other gigantic lifting objects. My first impression was that all the men would be very stern, but surprisingly some of them had great senses of humor. After watching them practice for a while we went and had lunch.

Later on we went to the competition. It was amazing how radical some of the people there were. Also, at least 40% of the people there were Poles who didn’t speak a word of English. The competition was awesome. These men were so unbelievably strong! It was like no competition I’d ever seen.

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