Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Joe Carini

You never know who you're going to meet, especially at my job. When you work at a big store in the middle of a main highway in New Jersey, the odds of you encountering interesting people goes up quite a bit. I mean, you get a lot of fuck ups too, but you take the good with the bad.

On Sunday, I was helping a guy and his wife out with some cement blocks for their backyard. The guy was about the same height as me, maybe an inch or so taller, but wide as a damn house. He certainly wasn't a bodybuilder, and if I hadn't been lifting for so long, I might have just thought this was some regular fat guy who sat behind is desk and ate Doritos all day.

However, I've known a couple powerlifters, and there are telltale signs that not everyone will be able to see that prove that they are far more than just fat guys. For one, their palms sometimes start to face backwards, and their hands are turned in from all the heavy pressing movements they do. They have guts, but they don't look soft, if that makes any sense at all; everything about them is solid looking- big, but solid. Their forearms are massive, built up from years of heavy deadlifts and grip training, all in pursuit of higher numbers and new personal records. If you can't tell by this, well, they all have shaved heads and attitudes to match. They're tough guys, and they let you know (I can't even knock them for this, because if you can bench 400 pounds, then that 's badass. Forget over 600).

Anyway, this guy had all of the characteristics, so I figured I'd give it a shot. He and his wife paid for a bunch of blocks, and I started loading their car up with said cement.

"You a powerlifter? You look like a powerlifter" I said.

"Yea. I'm Joe Carini, from over at Sports University. I set a record last week, an 1100 pound squat", he replied.

It still took a while to click, at least until he said that he was the guy that trains Tiki Barber (the Giants' running back).

"Holy fuck! Now I know you! You're doing a hell of a job!", is all I could say. I'm very into lifting, and I'm learning a lot about powerlifting lately, so this guy is a celebrity of sorts to me. Especially being that he is training Tiki Barber.

I told him that I was messing around with powerlifting, and getting a little bit more serious with it now, even though my maxes are still low (compared to a guy like him).

"You do dumbbell bench presses on a Swiss ball?" he asked. This question pretty much meant, "Are you a big fucking pussy?".

"Nah. Big three, that's the deal. I'm just getting into it though", I told him. I've been at it for about a year, and he's been doing this for I think twenty five. He says that at 47, he feels better than ever. He seemed to like me, even though I was stuttering because I was just a little intimidated.

Before he took off, he told me that Barber is stronger than ever, and he's going to have a great year this year. Being as I've been a Giants fan since I was about two months old, this makes me a happy guy. He told me to come over the Sports University and he'd hook me up, being as I'm looking for a gym in the next few months while Montclair State is closed for the summer. If I get a shot to work out with this madman that is Joe Carini, I'll be even happier.

Hell, he even tipped me five bucks for helping him the cement. Right on.

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"I just felt stronger. And I think it was confidence as well. You feel like your body has no weaknesses or faults. A lot of what Joe did for me was mental, not physical--the mentality of fighting through tough times. Sometimes he will use a ridiculous amount of weight, and I'll say, "Joe, this is heavy. This is hard" He's like, "Life's hard." I never get a break with him."

-Tiki Barber

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