Ever since the days when it became possible to record your favorite songs onto cassette tapes, the Pump-Up Mix has been a vital part of my swim bag for competition. Sure, times have changed, and my Sony Walkman has been rendered completely useless, as has the Milli-Vanilli/ Michael Jackson mix that once twirled on its double audio prongs. Now, we burn CDs…and when those become obsolete, we’ll all just program a Pump-Up Mix folder into our iPods.
With the Janet Evan’s Invitational this weekend set as a dry-run mock-up for the 2004 Olympic Trials, I have decided to give my Pump-Up Mix a dry run, too, along with everything else.
So, what gets Dave the Breaststroker stoked before a race? I decided to share with all of you some of my Pump-Up Mix:
Eye of the Tiger
I don’t care how many times you’ve seen Rocky. This song (well, mostly the INTRO of this song) will put a spring in anyone’s step. But for me, it’s more than that. Anyone who has been to an Auburn football game will know what I’m talking about. But even then, they can’t fully understand it. You see, in Auburn, on football game days, the swim team endured a three- to four-hour dryland circuit of torture and pain that completely drained our bodies of fluid and energy. After the circuit, we went to the football game, and were required to stand in the student section of Jordan-Hare Stadium — for the ENTIRE game. What helped me find the energy to stand and cheer for three hours? The sound of "Eye of the Tiger" blaring from the stadium’s bazillion-watt speakers as our guys ran out of the smoke and onto the field. To this day, hearing this song ignites my muscles and gets me ready to go. WAR EAGLE!!
I started lifting weights when I was thirteen, with the Wright Panther High School football and wresting team. As with most high school weight rooms, there was only one CD in the CD player for much of that time, and it was AC/DC live. Of which, the first song is "Thunderstruck." The live version is great because the intro is a two-and-a-half-minute rise into the climactic musical medley starting with drums, then Agnus on the guitar, aha ha aha ah ah! THUNDER! Aha ha aha ah ah THUNDER!! Woo! what a great song.
Welcome to the Jungle
Guns ‘N’ Roses
Another band my Mom wouldn’t let me listen to as a kid — probably with good reason. There’s nothing wrong with this melody, however. Every kid who lived through the eighties still knows every word. Not only will JEI be a Jungle, but so will the Trials. "Welcome to the Jungle baby, we’ve got fun and games!
Back in Black
Two AC/DC songs, Dave? C’mon. I know, I know. Just hear me out. I never felt truly remarkable as an athlete until I started swimming in high school. And while swimming high school isn’t that big in some places, in Wyoming it was huge (for Wyoming). I swam for the Gillette Camels, who were state champions several times over. For the Medley Relay (the first event), Gillette always paraded to the blocks with hoods up (for the intimidation factor) to "Back in Black." I had heard of this tradition, but never got to participate until my freshman year. You might think I was the breaststroker on that medley. Wrong. I was the anchor, bringing home the victory! Walking out with three other upperclassmen that in my mind were Men was only accentuated with the baseline to this great song.