I was a little disappointed this month that there were far fewer entries than last month. I guess I bitched and moaned too much about how so many people didn't follow the rules which caused me to disqualify their essays. I can understand how you guys might feel, but you have to look at it from my perspective. If I can't read your entry or your name isn't on the entry, what do you expect me to do? Come on; I'm not asking for anything too far-fetched. I hope to receive more entries next month. The SPECIES NUTRITION prize pack is pretty sweet, and having your essay published is on the front page of RX Muscle means it's going to be seen by hundreds of thousands of people.
Of the 12 entries I received this month, all of them were actually considered for the win. I didn't have to disqualify a single one! So, I guess bitching and moaning pays off. And, in fact, they were all good - very good. They were so good that I've decided from now on that I'm not going to try to arrange them in any kind of descending order, or top group. Picking a winner is hard enough; deciding anything else is just not one of my strong points. That's why I'm not a bodybuilding judge!
So, without further ado, here is this month's winner:
A Bright Future?
By J Joseph "Yoshe" Friedman
It's true, I'm young. To be only 18 and competing for 2 years really is nothing in this sport. I mean, think about it, some people dedicate their entire lives to the iron game. But, even so, I can see what's wrong with this sport. I can see why it hasn't grown to mainstream popularity, and why it probably never will.
Everyone seems to have lost what made bodybuilding so great during the Golden Era of the 1970's. The sense of brotherhood from then is what drew people to the lifestyle that millions now follow today. It seems like the pros of today don't want to work together. Why can't we go back to the old days? The scene from "Pumping Iron" where Arnold is squatting with Ed Corney comes to mind.
Another problem is that people compete for the wrong reasons. It seems as though a lot of the love for the sport has also gone the way of the dinosaur. I compete because I love to take complete control of my life while constantly presenting new challenges that I strive to overcome. Where is that love? Where is the passion? Why does everything always have to be about making a quick buck or impressing others instead of just enjoying the moment? When you're up on stage and the crowd is absolutely stunned at an amazing physical and emotional spectacle they've never seen before, it's a great feeling. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to make money at this sport someday, but I really compete because I love being up there under the lights-knowing that I gave it my all to be there competing.
As long as we're talking about money, the unequal pay between men and women should be addressed. Let's take the Olympia for example. Jay Cutler walked away with $200,000 for his victory, while Iris Kyle left with $28,000. Ms. Figure and Ms. Fitness Olympia winners make even less. Who knows how much the Bikini Olympia winner will earn this year. If we want to see more women entering physique competitions, especially female bodybuilding, then that pay check has to dramatically rise in value.
I know a lot of people say that bodybuilding needs to have less politics, and this is a major problem with bodybuilding, but why not actually voice our opinions and do something about it? If the community would pull together and make a declaration to the major bodybuilding federations for change, who knows what could happen.
To ensure that the future of the sport is bright, there's a need for some big changes both in the athletes' mindsets and the organizations. We must strive to bring the camaraderie and love for the sport that seems to have been lost so long ago. We must make sure that women start receiving more pay and exposure. We must come together-as a community-and demand more. It's only when we do this that our sport will become better. But, what do I know? I'm just the future of the sport.
One of the reasons this essay won is because it echoes the sentiments of so many people I speak with every single day. Another reason is because an 18 year-old guy "gets it". He understands what I've been talking about for years; the camaraderie among the competitors is gone. What I would give to walk into a gym today and see the entire place filled with serious hardcore competitive bodybuilders-- everyone striving to succeed in competition while at the same time being right there in case you need a spot. . . someone to go have breakfast with. . . or someone to just hang out with after the workout is over. All that's gone! And if a guy young enough to be my son can realize that was important, then it's obviously something big. I just liked this essay. It was a plea from a regular guy with no vested interest in bodybuilding; just a guy who loves the sport. I'm glad there are still guys like Yoshe out there. They are, indeed, "the future of the sport".