One of my best friends and mentors is a professional strong man. I’ve had the opportunity to meet (and work with) a lot of top level performers during my career as a pro jump roper. Dennis Rogers is one of only 2 living people with the official title of GrandMaster Strong Man. I’ve known him for over 20 years and always enjoy visiting him when I’m in his neck of the woods.
With that being said, there are funny (and embarrassing) moments that happen when you know people that are world class at something. I try to hide my lack of strength, but sometimes it still comes out in embarrassing ways when I’m here.
A couple quick notes about Dennis and his strength: He is widely known for his grip strength.
I’ve watched him rip a mini-deck of cards in half…behind his back…while wearing oven mitts.
The pinch strength that requires is unbelievable. He’s done everything from lifting a refrigerator with one finger to holding 2 airplanes from taking off. It’s really quite impressive.
One of the most vivid memories happened a couple years ago. Dennis was ripping some cards in half at a party. He ripped one deck about halfway then handed me and another guy half of that deck to see if we could finish the rip. Nope. I couldn’t even get it to budge.
On another occasion I stopped by his personal gym that he uses to train people. He has a lot of custom machinery built specifically to help develop grip strength. He was showing me one of his newest machines and asked if I wanted to give a try. I got it to wiggle a bit, but closing it? No. He casually mentioned that it was on the easiest setting.
He’s never made fun of me for my lack of strength, and he honestly wouldn’t think anything of it. In fact, he probably doesn’t even remember any of my most memorable moments.
During this latest visit, we were getting ready for a Christmas charity event. I did some jump roping and then there was some strong man stuff as well. A good friend of Dennis’ is Mark Henry. Since he would be there with us, we wanted to have him read the Christmas story to the students.
There was a lot to do leading up to the event so I was asked to put the papers into a folder so it looked a bit nicer. I lined up the wrapped pieces of cardboard and the goal was to put some holes in it so they could be tied together. I got out the hole punch and…nothing. Pushing on this thing with all my might and it just didn’t want to go. Thankfully, he stepped outside and I just started to laugh out loud.
It’s embarrassing to ask a professional strong man for help when you can’t punch a hole in a piece of paper
Happily, I finally got it go! Holes 2 and 3 were about the same effort, but I did it all on my own! I sometimes feel like a little kid trying to impress their dad, except that both he and I really don’t care. It’s more humorous than anything when I find that my dearth of strength is so obvious in front of one of the strongest men on the planet. There are a lot of other examples that I could share…I just don’t want to 🙂
I love the variety of friends that I’ve made over the years. They all challenge me to be better. Maybe I will be strong enough one of these days to at least get the easy setting done. On the plus side, I am a much better jump roper than they are. Merry Christmas!
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