Vital Status of Wrestlers Appearing in WrestleMania I – XX

Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, passed away yesterday. Neidhart was a wrestler from the WWF that I followed in the early 90s. He passed away at the age of 63.

I noticed that a lot of wrestlers that I watched as a kid have been passing away at relatively young ages. Furthermore, I noticed a trend that many of the deaths (not in Neidhart’s case) were drug or heart related. This made sense to me because a selection bias likely exists in this area where Wrestlemania participants are more likely than the average population to abuse steroids and other drugs. I wanted to visualize how many of these deaths were related to drugs or heart causes so here’s a thing I made:

The following is a visualization I crudely threw together using data from wikipedia entries as of 8/13/2018 and html5 canvas API. I’ve chosen WrestleManias 1 – 20 to visualize because these were roughly around the era I was most familiar with.

Comparing Costs of Roller Hockey vs Ice Hockey

I started playing recreational roller hockey in 2014. I was under the impression that roller would be more affordable than the alternative. I joined an adult beginners roller hockey league at Dry Ice in Oakland and played once a weekend between late 2014- mid 2017.

Last summer after we moved to Utah, I decided to give ice hockey a shot. I signed up for an adult beginners ice hockey league at the Utah Olympic Oval and played about once a week through the fall and winter.

Now that I’ve experienced both, I can say that I found ice hockey to be much more enjoyable and more rewarding. I’m pretty sure I will be sticking with ice, but I want to take a deeper look into my original costs concern that steered me toward roller in the first place.

Initial Equipment costs compared (Winner: Roller but surprisingly not by much)

Roller hockey equipment cost estimate:

Helmet and shield: $80
Padded undershirt: $60
Elbow pads: $50
Gloves: $60
Roller pants: $30
Jock shorts: $60
Shin guards: $60
Stick: $50
Skates: $150
Bag: $25
Practice jersey: $15

Total: $640

Ice hockey equipment cost estimate:

Helmet and shield: $80
Shoulder pads: $80
Elbow pads: $50
Gloves: $60
Ice pants: $80
Jock shorts: $60
Shin guards: $60
Hockey socks: $10
Stick: $50
Skates: $130
Bag: $25
Practice jersey: $15

Total: $700

Regular maintenance costs compared (Winner: Ice)

The only regular maintenance cost for roller hockey was buying new wheels. Over the course of 3 years of playing, I probably had to buy somewhere between 12-16 new wheels to replace wheels that wore down or broke. Taking the middle value and with an estimated per wheel price of $10, that puts the maintenance costs at roughly $47 per year.

Skate sharpening for ice hockey was something I was worried would be expensive. Turns out, I only had to sharpen my skates once during my season; twice if you also count the initial sharpening when I bought the skates. At a $6 per sharpening and estimating four sharpenings per year (if I were to have played year round), maintenance costs would be $24 per year.

Skate time costs compared (Winner: Roller by a lot)

Open skate / stick & puck at the roller hockey facility in Oakland, CA charges $5 per session. Assuming you went to go practice about twice a month for a year, you would be spending $120 per year for skate time.

The two nearest ice facilities charge an average of $12.50 per session. Assuming you went to go practice about twice a month for a year, you would be spending $300 per year for skate time.

Having said that, roller beats ice by a mile in this area because roller can be practiced anywhere you have flat concrete. You could argue that makes roller $free.

Hockey league fee costs compared (Winner: Roller by a lot)

Fees will forever be your largest expense. Ice rinks cost much more to operate than roller rinks and that cost gets passed down to skaters in the form of team/individual league fees and annual usage fees.

From my experience, the annual fees between roller and ice have been comparable: around $40 a year. This cost is negligible compared to the individual/team fees you will pay.

For roller hockey,the most recent team fee looks to be around $3000 to register a team for a season. Assuming a full team of 13 skaters (3 lines of 2 forwards, 3 lines of 2 defense, and a goalie), that comes out to roughly $231 per skater per season.

For ice hockey, the most recent team fee in the same geographic area looks to be around $8500 to register a team for a season. Assuming a full team of 16 skaters (3 lines of 2 forwards + 1 center, 3 lines of 2 defense, and a goalie), that comes out to roughly $531 per skater per season.

Verdict

Estimated cost to start playing hockey for one full year in the SF Bay Area including first time purchases of all gear, all fees, maintenance costs, and paying to practice at the rink twice a month:

$1771 to play roller hockey vs $3188 to play ice hockey

Roller hockey saves significant amounts of money. If you are wanting to give hockey a shot, starting with roller hockey makes a lot of sense from a financial standpoint. You could pay the initial equipment costs (or even just a fraction of it) and get away with spending nearly nothing else for as long as it takes you to develop your skills enough to feel comfortable with joining a league:

Driveway hockey starter kit

Helmet and shield: $80
Elbow pads: $50
Gloves: $60
Shin guards: $60
Stick: $50
Skates: $150

Total: $450 + a practice ball/puck

With this setup, you can develop your skills and acquire new gear as you need it.

Also, you can always switch to ice at a later time. If you already own the full list of roller equipment, most of it will transfer over and you will only need to purchase shoulder pads, hockey pants, hockey socks, and skates. (~$300)

Gym Stuff 2017 (Squat)

Last of the 2017 gym posts. Previous posts: deadlift, overhead press, and bench press.

This one is weird. I hate this lift.

My squat has never felt comfortable. I’m constantly fighting to improve my form but issues keep popping up like Whac-A-Mole: squat not deep enough, knees buckling inward, lower back strain, etc.

In my first two years of squatting, I was reluctant to increase weight due to form concerns. By 2016, I came to a decision that has lead to great progress: even if form wasn’t perfect, increase the weight if form was acceptable. My squat still feels awful, but its got nearly 100 more pounds on it now than it did before.

I technically hit my 2016 goal at the end of 2016 when I was motivated to reach 225 lbs (two 45 lbs plates on each side). However an injury while deadlifting at the end of 2016 caused me to halt progress. I’ve only recently started working back up, again (most recently hitting 225 lbs × 5 reps at sub 150 lbs body weight).

Thoughts:

  • Now that i’m regularly doing reps of ~200 lbs, its ridiculous to think that there was ever a time where the most I could do was 60-80 lbs.
  • I don’t know how interested I even am in pushing this lift much higher than where it is. I like the idea of having a strong squat for functional strength and hockey…but I do not like the idea of having to buy larger pants.

Gym Stuff 2017 (Bench Press)

Post 3 of 4. Previous posts: deadlift and overhead press.

The bench press might be my favorite compound lift. It was the first compound lift I started training.

Progress has been slow, but I managed to hit my 2016 goal last week (165 lbs × 5 reps at sub 150 lbs body weight).

Thoughts:

  • I think I graduated up a shirt size around the end of 2014.
  • All of 2015 looks like it was a huge waste of time. I wasn’t consistently on the same program or training schedule so that whole year just looks like it was “maintenance”. Next couple years weren’t awful. Slow but steady.

Gym Stuff 2017 (Deadlift)

Picking up where this post left off…

The deadlift is tied with the squat for my least favorite lift. It’s the lift that I’ve been training for the least amount of time and also train with the least frequency.

These days, I deadlift no more than two sets a week (as per my Greyskull LP program). I am interested in continuing to make progress on this lift but probably won’t increase frequency until I’m ready to move on from Greyskull.

Similar to my overhead press, I just hit my strength goal, today. (255 lbs × 5 reps at sub 150 lbs body-weight)

Thoughts after visualizing my progress:

  • 2016 didn’t look terrible, but I can see the point at the end of the year where I injured myself deadlifting and it affected my psychologically well into 2017.

    re-enactment of my deadlift form on the day I hurt myself
  • Looks like I was really close to hitting this goal a year earlier. What helped the most between last year and this year was having a gym partner comment on my form (helping me learn to keep my back neutral)
  • 2017 by itself looks crazy. Thanks Greyskull.

Gym Stuff 2017 (Overhead Press)

Last year, I set some weightlifting goals for myself for four compound exercises: bench press, overhead press, deadlift, and squat. These days, I’m hovering right around the goal weights that I set. I thought it would be fun to break down how things are going for each lift, starting with the overhead press. This also gives me a dumb excuse to play with R more.

First, some quick background. I started casually training summer of 2013. I was weak. Between then and the end of the year, I slowly got my lifts up, but I still had a long way to go before I would even be comfortable with telling anyone my numbers.

The period between 2014 and 2016 could best be described as me having “F***arounditis”. I continued to go to the gym in the mornings but would very regularly skip days due to not waking up early enough. If I did make it, I only gave myself 20-30 minutes to get any work in. I’d have spurts of motivation from reading things on /r/fitness or /r/gainit, but never any real consistency. I did make improvements, but it was messy.

At the start of 2016, I signed up for a new gym after a move. This was the start of more consistent training and was the period where I’ve made the most progress. My consistency wasn’t perfect, but it was the best year so far. It was then that I set some strength goals, something I really should have done on my very first day. The goals motivated my consistency and it was the consistency that brought progress.

For goals, I settled on the intermediate column in this website’s list of strength standards. For example as a 150 lbs male, a one rep max of 122 lbs for overhead press would put me into the intermediate column, which is defined as being above the median strength for lifters of my same weight. Not awful and no longer “below average” so that’s good enough for me.

It took me much longer than it should have, but I hit this today (105 lbs × 7 reps at sub 150 lbs body-weight).

Here’s how my progress looked for this lift (from the last couple of years of data). Note that I use an estimated 1 rep max (using Lander’s formula) which uses a weight × reps × some coefficient formula to estimate a 1 rep max.

Some thoughts/observations from this:

  • I’m definitely embarrassed about the lack of consistency before 2016.
  • The increases in the start of 2016 are largely thanks to me half-following a 5×5 lifting program. I say half-following because I was not increasing the weight as regularly as I really should have. For this, I partly blame the gym for not having 2.5 lbs weights for increases (smallest plate they had were 5 lbs plates and full 10 lbs jumps are hard).
  • I started following the Greyskull LP program in the summer of 2017 and I HIGHLY recommend it. One problem with other programs is how discouraging it is to fail a set. Failure means that you must drop the weight and it’ll be weeks until you work back up and get a chance to set a new personal record. Greyskull fixes this by having the final set be an AMRAP (as many reps as possible) set. To illustrate, if I fail a lift at 150, I must drop the weight to 135. However, if the last time I was at 135, the best I could do was 5 reps on the last set, I can now strive for 6+ reps to beat my old record. This is a GREAT design addition.
  • Top three tips I wish I could have told myself when I started
    1. Consistency above everything else. Don’t skip sessions and give yourself plenty of time to finish everything.
    2. Pick the right program and follow it as best as you can. Greyskull > 5×5.
    3. (Related to #2) If the program says to increase the weight, do it. I had many sessions where I sat at the same weight for several sessions in a row. This was a mistake because failure is part of the design of each program and the overloading is necessary.

In future posts, I’ll share the graphs of my other three lifts.