For reasons that will be revealed at the end of this post, I had to leave the Florida Prospects AAU game at half-time and race from Disney Wide World of Sports to Lyman High School for a Body Building competition….My first.
I parked the car and approached the auditorium. The first sight worth commenting on was a well-tanned, bikini-clad chick doing crunches outside. I dropped the unGodly sum of $25 and entered.
It didn’t take long for a jarring moment to occur. The first class was high school body builders and the fourth competitor, who would go on to win, posed to Whitney Houston singing “I Will Always Love You.” It was abudantly creepy and incomprehensible. Was it a statement of eternal self-love? A homo-erotic fantasy forcibly imposed on my senses? A sarcastic stap? A bizarre miscalculation of the audience? I may never come to grips with this, and only death will erase it’s stain from my memory.
The men’s physique, or try real hard to look like a shirtless David Beckham’s class followed. The third man out was north of 50 and fashioned a horseshoe receding hairline which prompted the guy behind me to chirp, “this guy needs a wheelchair.” He did not, but it should be noted he did not win, place or show either.
Each competitor had a brief list of thank you’s for friends, family, trainers, God and on at least one occaision this Easter Weekend Jesus Christ. This was apparently unacceptable to Monty Cline, an over 40 men’s physique competitor who included a life resume identifying him as a one time factory motocross rider, a nascar driver with two wins, and the survivor of two open heart surgeries. If Monty had survived only one of these open heart surgeries, I could have been spared the self-absorbed, ego-maniacal bio.
The women’s physique class controlled the middle of the show. The performances were decidedly less sexually provocative than the lunch buffet talent at Rachels and didn’t include sumptuous carved meats. Think of peppy, soul-less cheerleader smiles and sculpted, rigid manequins. The sheer volume of categories, duration of time committed and blatant doubling of enthusiasm by the master of ceremonies were a transparent plea to make heterosexual men, such as myself, more comfortable in watching 60 men in speedos flex muscles in front of us over a three hour span. It was analogous to the in depth interviews bookended by naked women in a playboy magazine. Not sure it worked.
The bikini competition concluded with a marriage proposal by a guy named Rusty with bleached blonde hair on bended knee. Reminded me of a story from Scott Below from a food convention. A breathtaking woman appeared, and someone offered the truth, “somewhere there is a guy that’s fed up with her shit too.” Good luck Rusty!
The men’s body building competition began, and got mundane in a hurry with two exceptions. Fifty-plus year old, George Hoffman, included an extended segment of the Declaration of Independence in his intro that caused the master of ceremonies to stumble back from the podium before continuing, while George stood awkwardly on stage. Another routine featured a full split and two roundhouse karate kicks. By the standard of EVERY other pose down, this routine fit in about as nicely as a shart at P Diddy’s White Party.
Alas we reach the reason for my appearance at this event, my cousin, Carlton Stubbs. I met Carlton about fifteen years ago, watched him play football once in middle school, and reportedly took him to an FSU home game many years ago, but have no recollection of the event as he spoke so little as to make almost no impression whatsoever. About five years ago, he graduated from Fort Valley State, where he played football. He was looking for a job, and I invited him to move to Orlando and live with me till he got something going. For me, it was terrific. I made a great friend, had a free barber and talked some real life. He got a job, moved out, had a son and we don’t see as much of each other as I would like, but tonight was his first body building competition and I had to be there to support him. He did well winning the novice heavyweight, novice overall and coming in second in the open heavyweight category. I am happy for him.
If this opus has a moral, and I doubt it, it might be that your friends and those you hold dear in life take you places that you would not otherwise go, and in doing so enrich your life.