22Brick by Brick

“Alright!” screamed Gunny over the music. “This is what we've been waiting for!”

The team was crowded in a semicircle around Gunny who stood on a bench by the squat rack. The barbell was filled with so many plates that it was bending. “For our final lift,” yelled Gunny, “Thurston's going for the school's oldest lifting record!”

The players started cheering around the player about to make the attempt. To clear a path, they spread apart to give all 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds of Mitch Thurston room to approach the bar.

“In case you can't count,” screamed Gunny, “there are seven plates on each side!”

The team went wild.

“And if you who can't add, the bar's loaded with 675 pounds!”

The players continued jumping up and down.

Mitch Thurston was ready. With a thunderous yell he walked through the gauntlet of teammates, and with Gunny moving behind him and two assistant coaches moving to each side of the bar, Thurston pulled under the bar and placed it on the back of his neck.

“This's for history, Mitch! Leave no doubt!” Gunny screamed as Thurston set his feet.

With another yell, Thurston bent the bar across his back, forcing it to leave its resting place. As Thurston took a step back with each foot, the team went silent. The only sounds were the music, an inhalation of air into Thurston's lungs, and Gunny screaming, “Let's gooooo!”

Thurston's body lowered. As he squatted, his descent slowed to a stop. When he reversed this motion, the team erupted. Thurston's ascent ...

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