Must Read: Man in Full

Typically with articles I post on The Trunk, I like to do a little description and post some noteworthy excerpts, but I don’t know how to do that with this piece, because it is so shot through with manliness from start to finish that anything I say or choose will do it a disservice. Basically, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever read on what it really means to be a man. And I would urge you to block off some uninterrupted time this weekend to gives it a read.

Read the article: “Man In Full” (@SportsIllustrated)

Hat tip to James R. for this link.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason Detwiler February 10, 2012 at 3:25 pm

This is a truly inspiring story. Makes me feel like a real POS complaining about my son waking me up at night and skipping my morning workout. Time to reframe the perspective and do some better things.

Rob February 10, 2012 at 3:30 pm


I wrestled for all 4 years of High School. I HATED IT! I still, 8 years on, have nightmares about that room. The sweaty, purple mat lined hell hole sandwiched between the gyms. The one with posters about manliness and effort and pride lining the walls. It was hell. We would alternate cleaning the mats with ammonia one week and then bleach the other week. Mondays were the worst, the old crystals that were left would react and create small amounts of mustard gas. Your lungs would burn. Dilbert didn’t have nothing on that hell. I got one really bad concussion once. I woke up screaming with my head in my hands in the corner afterwards, then black for 4 days. When I come to, I am running with the trash bags on and all the clothes, trying to cut 25 lbs to make weight. I remember running to a trash can and just dry heaving. That cycle repeated for hours as I tried to sweat the last out of me. I was spitting foam into a plastic coffee cup and I didn’t make weight by 2 ounces. I remember all the manic-depressive effects of that bonk. I promised myself that I would see Yosemite and if I were to kill myself, it would be by jumping off of Half-Dome. It was all that I could to keep alive in that time. Wrestling was hell, I hope you understand.

But this article… damn it. I have matured a lot since those months. I have been able to forgive a lot of people. Ex-girlfriends, people that have done me wrong, punks and terrible land-lords. I have been able to move past a lot. But never, ever have I been able to forgive what was done to me by those coaches and that team. I don’t know I will ever be able to, the core of my being has that hate in it. It screwed with my soul, damnit. All those garbage bags, all that sweating, the fighting and the blows, the humiliation and the obsessing over weight, I have just recently begun to eat right, and I still screw myself up for any and all weight gain.

But that article.

Reading that made me think over all the bullshit and the crap that I had to go through. That crucible. I know what real pain is, what truly bleak times are like, how suicide is a choice and you have to wrestle with it and win everyday and hour. True hunger and screaming thirst. I did develop discipline and a real unbending spirit. I know myself and what kind of man I am. I know I have limits and where they are is a lot closer and also a lot further than I’d like them to be. I know that those 4 years of pain and embarrassment are a part of me.

Thank you for letting me see that. I think it has helped me out a lot on this Friday in February. I think I can choose to slowly start seeing the good in that purple lined hell. I think I can start healing, and maybe one day, I’ll admit on this corner of the internet, I think I can forgive them. Not today, not this year, not this decade, but I’ll admit it is possible.

James R. February 10, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Brett, I’m glad you enjoyed this article as much as I did, and even happier that you shared it with everyone else here. Any man, regardless of age or position in life can take something motivating from this piece. This piece brings my personal motto to life; hard work + discipline + determination = success.

Jon M. February 11, 2012 at 3:05 pm

I don’t know what else I can say about this article. Except it was, and is an inspiration.

Brian February 12, 2012 at 1:01 am

Two words: manly tears.

Dave February 12, 2012 at 8:55 am

An astounding man that the rest of us can strive to aspire to.

Ryan February 12, 2012 at 1:56 pm

After reading the article I found a couple of YouTube videos about him. Take a look:

Chris February 12, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Excuse me…I think I have something in my eye…

Rich February 12, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Fantastic article, what an inspirational guy. I hope I’m half the man to my child and family that he is to his.

Benjamin February 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm

I read this when i received my SI in the mail and i will admit i choked up a little. What an inspiration and how great of a man he is even still today. He doesn’t let this disease hold him back and it makes me think of what I let hold me back and what excuses I make and how minimal they are in comparison. Great article thanks for putting it up here Brett.

Jonathan B. February 14, 2012 at 1:45 am

Wow. That story is amazing. Makes me feel like a wuss for complaining about time spent pressing shirts, polishing shoes, or problems with difficult students in class.

DSJ February 14, 2012 at 6:26 pm

I shared this on my Facebook and no one responded. That’s a shame. I’m not even sure anyone read it. Which is a shame because I think this is a tremendous article that any man can read and just instantly “get”.

Matt February 18, 2012 at 8:59 am

Thanks for sharing. Fantastic article.

Brian Tideman February 21, 2012 at 9:17 am

I am humbled by Mike Powell each day. To me alone, he is a brother figure, father figure, coach, mentor, and friend.

For a recent short video on Mike Powell, visit WGN-TV Chicago:

Brian Tideman

Justin April 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Very inspirational article. There is no doubt, in my mind at least, that our society is in desperate need of more men like Mike Powell.

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