Fan of bodybuilding or not, this clip will charm the dickens out of ya. It's an infinitely quotable vintage clip with a youthful appearance by some kid from Austria.
"And with what pride the mighty men displayed all the well-known muscles . . . plus a lot the average man had never heard of . . ." Genius.
But, while the look, narration and music (oh! – that music) are all pretty dated, the mythology captured here is remarkably current. It's a myth among new bodybuilders that they will get credit for what they've done, and be taken seriously for this slightly off-kilter pursuit. The video captures how innocent and earnest most new bodybuilders hope their first competitive experience will be. (If The Next Level has its way, it will be.)
We haven't lost the innocence in bodybuilding competition. We've just crowded it out and sold it off. We don't let these athletes have the space to accomplish what they love, but instead rush them towards the need to have a reason.
If a bodybuilder can not prove a practical end to competing, he is treated by the industry as irrelevant, and quietly marginalized as pathetic. The message is that there has to be a "reason," or else don't do it. And those reasons get jerry-rigged ad hoc and then foisted upon competitors with an urgency that serves more to confuse than inspire. Every bodybuilder HAS TO want to want to "turn pro"; HAS TO become the world's next best trainer; HAS TO become famous.
I talk to young men enamored with the sport, and while I encourage their urge to win, I grow sad at how they think that is the only point. How convinced they have been by the commodified contemporary representations of bodybuilding! They talk less about bringing in their best game and more about their timeline of turning pro – as if winning was a pesky nuisance to the real reason they play the sport.
But when I look at this vintage clip, I see men who are thrilled and excited. Some are even pretty "regular looking" yet muscular guys, who are clearly in this for the lessons it provides and the experience it offers.
I want to climb into this video and start coaching in black and white. I want to coach men and women towards the experience, the thrill and the pride of performing well in a sports, and not the need to make it so damn practical.
After all, the question shouldn't be posed to all the competitors "why do it?" The question should rather be posed to those asking: "why not?" Any big ox knows the answer.
"But who would want to embrace an ox?"
(Thanks Silas for the clip! Hope to get you on a team soon – and keep the clips coming!