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Conversations with DBB: Mike Snyder and Awesome Hog

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This is the first in a series where we take the dog days of summer to know each other better.

A lot of us spend A LOT of time with the institution lovingly known as DBB. Many people read it, quite a few of those comment regularly in the comments section, and then there are the writers who read, comment and write DBB.

Yet for the most part we known very little about each other. So we thought we give a shot at a series of conversations between two people, with at least one being a regular commenter and in most cases the other being a DBB writer. We do, though, have a particularly epic one going between two commenters which may take three posts to cover...we might save that one for September when we’re starved and hungry for anything and everything. And I do mean anything...and everything

All we asked for each conversation was for each of the two to get to know each other better so we could too by going back and forth over email. No required topics. No required length. It’s kind of like back in the old day when people actually communicated over email, or even, *gasp!* handwritten letters.

So here we go. We have writer Mike Snyder and comment thread regular Awesome Hog. Take it away fellas.

Mike Snyder (DBB writer):

Jesse, you and I will go back and forth for a bit until it gets stale. From there, Chris (cc’d) is going to clean it up and post it so everyone gets a better idea of where you’re coming from. At least, that’s the idea.

If I’m following correctly, you’re in Virginia? By my count, there are eight-ish teams closer to VA than the Pistons; how did you become a fan? What’s the story behind the Awesome Hog username?

Awesome Hog (Comment thread regular):

I’ve lived in Southeast Virginia for just about all of my life. I love it here and one of the secret best parts about being a basketball fan here is the lack of a local team allows you to pick just about any team you want. I was 10 during the Bad Boy era when everyone at my school was crazy about Michael Jordan and the Bulls. I’ve always been the type to root for the “other guys” and nobody embodied that better than Detroit at the time. I didn’t follow it closely at all, but at school, I’d always tell people the Pistons were my favorite.

I didn’t watch ANY basketball until the 2004 playoffs, but that was my fascination finally clicked. I watched every game of every series, heavily favoring the Pistons partly due to my childhood, but if I’m being honest mostly because they looked cool and you could tell at first glance that they had personalities that really set them apart from the other teams. I’ve grown more obsessed every year since.

As far as the Awesome Hog. I grew up in the local punk rock scene playing in bands and touring with friends. These good friends of mine had a band called Project 208 that I must have seen play 200 times. I would do this bit where I would sneak off during their set, take off my clothes, put on nothing but overalls and this totally awesome pig mask, that I wish I still had, and just perform antics in the pit. I called myself the Awesome Hog and pretend that it was this great mystery as to who that masked pig was. At 208’s “last” show, I took the microphone and in a dramatic display, unmasked myself to the crowd and finally revealed that it had been me the whole time. It was pretty epic if I do say so myself.

How about you? You seem interested in gym culture. You also said it was dream of yours to own a gym? Is that serious dream, or just something you think would be cool? Are you really into training? If so, what do you like, powerlifting, crossfit, endurance stuff?

Mike Snyder:

Fantastic Awesome Hog story.

I never put a whole lot of thought into it but I always just assumed everyone was in and around metro Detroit. Boy, was I wrong. Literally, DBB participants are worldwide. Pretty cool.

Yeah, lifting is a pretty big part of my life and at 35, I admittedly didn't know what I was doing until 30ish years old. Just kinda winged it (workout wise) but when implemented, the words: structure, practice and patience were a game changer. Just so mad I wasted all that time.

I'd say what I do is a hybrid of powerlifting and Crossfit. I stay in the power and strength parameters for the big three, and use a lot of kettlebell work for cardio/metcon.

I go to a large commercial gym (which has improved a great deal over the past couple years) and put up a squat rack with bumpers in my basement which is convenient.

The whole idea of being surrounded daily by like-minded individuals in regards to your gym sounds awesome. Completely jealous.

I know Crossfit gets a bad rap but the people who go there love it and are very loyal to their boxes and community. I can respect that and it's how I envision your place.

What's your training like?

Awesome Hog:

I’d say that the way we train is pretty identical. I LOVE anything barbell related, but train metcon pretty regularly. Culture and a sense of community is everything to us, and our classes are definitely the easiest way that we cultivate that.but my heart will always belong in the squat rack. This morning, my workout was a class we call Industrial Strength. It’s low volume, heavy weights using just dumbbells and kettlebells. Super fun and our people really like it, but you and I both know you’d be hard pressed to get stronger with a program like that.

Don’t be mad that it took you so long to figure out what training means to you. We all find out at just the right time. Your younger mind just wasn’t ready yet. I totally agree with your assessment of Crossfit as well. I’m actually Level 1 certified...or was at one point, it might have expired as I never actually used it. Their methodology has become so broad that it’s really difficult to disagree with it as a whole. The philosophies of each box are so different. It’s like bashing christianity based on the fact that you thought David Koresh was nuts. Beyond that, NOBODY is more successful when it comes to culture than Crossfit. A Crossfitter can go anywhere in the world and find a box that will accept them as one of there own. People actually identify themselves as Crossfitters, nobody calls themselves Gold’s Gymers.

I’ve actually been to Detroit only once. In 2010, for my bachelor party, some of my best friends and I crossed seeing a game at the Palace of Auburn Hills off my bucket list. We had a blast! At that time, the city seemed largely abandoned, but all of the people we met were crazy nice to us. I actually went to the nicest Taco Bell of my life on 8 Mile. I’ve actually thought about coming back if a real DBB get together happens.

So, what do you do for a living? Do you work in a gym, or is that just something you love for yourself?

Mike Snyder:

Good stuff.

I work as a Recruiter at a staffing firm, typical 9-5 type thing. I dig it as it lets me do everything I want outside of work as there are no weekends or anything past 5 pm during the week.

Let us get a couple things on the record and we'll call it a day:

Do you think Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson finish next season in a Pistons' uniform?

Brighter future: Luke Kennard or Stanley Johnson?

Favorite non-Pistons player and team?

What would it take for the Pistons to win 44-48 games next year?

From here, Chris will start posting these back-and-forths over the next week so. Great answers, I'll be looking for more YouTube entries.

Awesome Hog:

With Drummond and Jackson, I feel like one of two outcomes are possible. Either they improve their trade value, in which case we’d likely hang on to both, or their value remains as low as it is, in which case we’d be really hard pressed to move them. One way or another, I see them both as Pistons next offseason.

For the record, I really see Luke Kennard possibly being like a Microwave situation. The third guard who can light it up from anywhere while also making plays for others. I totally still believe in Stanley Johnson’s potential…but he just seems to lack maturity. If he can get consistently comfortable with the flow of an NBA game, I think he can really be great one day. In short, Johnson has more star potential, Kennard is a safer bet. I’m definitely glad to have both….but I’d rather keep Kennard.

My favorite non-Pistons team changes every year. This year, my fascination is the Celtics believe it or not, due almost exclusively to the way that Danny Ainge has run the franchise. I also root for Washington and am always hoping they finally make that leap. Favorite player might be Damian Lillard. I just admire his fearlessness in big moments.

On paper, the Pistons are a lock to be an above .500 team. What will it take to make that happen in real life? Drummond and Jackson finally doing what they’re paid to do. It’s going to take Jackson getting healthy and Drummond learning some self awareness. They’re both big if’s, but IF they can live up to even their current potential, this can be a #4 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Thanks, man That was fun!

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We hope you enjoyed that look into the lives of a few DBB staples. We’ll be bringing you more as they come in.

If you’d like to participate please us/me know: daniels.christopher@gmail.com

Until next time!